Millennial black businesswoman addressing colleagues at a corporate business meeting, close up

What do your employees actually want from their employer? I’m so glad you asked! And no it’s not pizza or donuts or a Yeti tumbler with the company logo. Those are nice but so far down the totem pole when it comes to keeping your employees happy. There must have been something in the air yesterday. I was sent an email regarding tips for employee happiness and also came across some Instagram posts that got me thinking.

The Disconnect Between The Boardroom and The Breakroom

Take one more moment and read that again. The more I think about it, the more true I find it. The disconnect between employees and employers. I don’t doubt that many employers are not intentionally making their employees feel undervalued and unimportant. But that doesn’t mean that those employees don’t feel that way. Nor does it invalidate their feelings. You don’t need negative intent to make people feel bad. I’ve worked for some incredible bosses in my life who honestly made me want to run through a brick wall do to anything and everything help them. And I’ve worked for some not-so-great ones as well. I’ve also worked for some who I thought were incredible but eventually the “act” ended and the truth was revealed. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Instead, I’m here to help. To spell out the problem and offer ideas as to how to overcome it.

This brings me to an email that included research shared with me by our friends at Deputy and Voice Nation. According to data 1 in 6 Americans reported that they would be happier with their job if they had a different manager. For anyone who runs a business, there is no question that the goal is for it to be successful and profitable. And the best (and in my opinion ONLY) way to achieve this is through happy and productive employees. When employees feel valued you have less turnover and they are willing to work harder for you. It’s the people on the bottom that keep businesses afloat- Amazon couldn’t function without delivery drivers and warehouse workers. But I bet it would survive without Jeff Bezos.

So I promised you ways to keep your employees happy, engaged, and productive. Here you go:

  • Listen To Your Employees

    Ceo woman consulting young team, explain business strategy and professional working together. Group of employees listen to boss, corporate office manager planning meeting and solution focused staff

    This is such a big one. Everyone wants to feel heard, and when employers are making decisions with no regards to the people who have to execute those decisions? Well, it’s not going to be as successful as it could potentially be. You don’t have to take every suggestion. But letting people know they have a right to an opinion, and that they are heard- it can do wonders for morale. The last thing employees want is to feel like a worker bee whom no one in ownership or management respects. Who better to help figure out how to make things run smoother and more productive than those doing the actual work? And you can’t solve a problem that you don’t know exists.

  • Regular Reviews

    Two Female Colleagues Fondly Talk to Each Other, Laugh and Smile while Working on Computers in Diverse Modern Business Office. Experienced Manager and Young Employee Discuss a Fun Analytical Project.

    Check-in with your employees. Performance reviews done correctly can have an immense benefit to both employers and employees. It can increase morale by giving you an easy platform to praise what an employee is contributing. And also identify areas that need improvement and how to best implement strategies to help the employee with that.  Plus when employees see that they are valued it can go a long way in increasing productivity and long-term success. Frequent reviews can also allow employers to identify any issues within a team and take action to correct those issues. 

  • Encourage Development

    Confident lady business trainer coach leader give flip chart presentation consulting clients teaching employees training team people speaking explaining strategy at marketing workshop concept

    Most employees don’t want to feel stagnant in a role. If there is no room for growth and development tasks become mundane and in turn, good employees can and will look elsewhere. Training can benefit the employer as well. Think of it as an investment. You have to spend money to make money. It’s also another way to show your employees that you value them and care about them and their careers.

  • Ensure Work-Life Balance

    Work life balance scales business and family lifestyle choice

     This is such a big one. I know for me personally I will go go go, but I will also burn out fast. I need that time to recharge. And especially after covid workers are demanding a work-life balance. Like it or not in order to maintain a valuable workforce, employers are going to have to comply. Whether it’s a flexible work schedule, days off, or encouraging physical fitness or mental health. A good work-life balance ensures productive and motivated employees. What employer does not want their employees to be less stressed? 

  • Change Your Office Space

    Elevated view of staff working in a busy open plan office

    I’ve worked hard to make my office an oasis. Mood lighting, a stand-up desk, a walking pad treadmill, and decor that is “me”. Many people will still be more in favor of working from home (not a topic I want to get into at this point) or at least a hybrid work situation. A welcoming environment can make employees feel at home positively impacting and company culture. 

  • Fair And Living Wages

    Dollars in hand, small salary. Winning the lottery.

    And in this economy the one thing your employees want? It’s money. It’s not pizza or a pullover with your logo on it. It’s to be paid a living wage. It’s yearly raises that outpace inflation. It’s the best way to show your employees their value. The people who pull the most weight in any given company are almost always the lowest compensated. Mangers have an important job no question. But when you neglect to fairly compensate the others? You cannot and will not be successful long term. So invest in your people. You want them to work hard for you? Pay your employees their worth.

  • To See You Working Hard As Well

    Millennial black businesswoman addressing colleagues at a corporate business meeting, close up

    If you aren’t willing to work hard, why would your employees? Be visible and don’t let any job be beneath you. Spend time working directly with your employees, or perhaps offer to help with something. Being willing to help speaks volumes. And noticing when that help may be needed. It makes your employees feel seen. If all you are doing is delegating, there is a good chance that will be noticed. And it’s hard to respect a manager who has no problem throwing work at people but refuses to do the work themselves.


  • In Conclusion

    Culture starts from the top down. So be the change, and implement a culture of encouragement, productivity, and pride in your job. Thanks to Voice Nation for sharing some of these tips with us!

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