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What All Employees Really Want


What do all employees really want? To be paid more, right? Well of course most people wouldn’t mind a higher pay rate. That’s an easy one, but let’s look beyond that to the other thing that all employees really want.

Image of five people sharing what employees really want

What do our telephone answering service agents want, really, as employees?  What do all employees really want?  What does everyone want, regardless of their position at work, or their position in life?

What do we want?  Good question!

Sure, we like recognition for our hard work.  We like rewards programs for meeting realistic, achievable measurable goals.  We like a fair wage for a fair days work.

Oftentimes though, it’s not enough.  Why not?  Because what we really want, is to know that our efforts make a difference, that we count, that we matter.

This is what we want in everything we do in life.  We want to know that our lives have meaning, and nothing makes us feel like we’re achieving that goal more than knowing that we are having a positive impact on the lives around us, on our work / business, on our friends and families.

How can we help our employees know that they matter?  How can we help them to see their value?

We can help them develop their skills.  We can provide challenging opportunities to help them “spread their wings” so to speak.  We can guide them along the way by providing important feedback through a continuous stream of conversation, constructive critique, and help them get past their mistakes by teaching how to learn from them. Then provide opportunity to help employees prove to themselves that they won’t make the same mistake twice.

We help by avoiding our own sometimes emotional instinct to “rub salt into the wound” of a mistake. Constantly reminding people of their mistakes is not helpful. All that does is undermine their self-confidence.  And, it also focuses attention on their flaws and mistakes, and that is no way to move forward and learn.

Sure, we want to be sure, need to be sure that employees don’t repeat the same mistakes.  We owe it to our business and to our customers.  We also owe it to our employees.  We also owe them a chance to move beyond their errors, learn often, contribute more, and then we have to let them know that they matter.

Don’t wait until an annual review to let employees know they count.  Tell them throughout the year.  Just as we bring a mistake to light immediately, so it’s okay to reach out from time to time, when it’s appropriate, when it’s warranted, when it’s earned, and say “Thanks. You did a great job today.”  Or, “Thanks for getting that task done today.”  Or, “Thanks for helping me with this task.” And make sure you tell them why you are thankful. Give them an understanding of why their efforts matter.

Tell your employees, “You matter”.  Don’t say it unless it’s true — people know when they’re being fed a spoonful of sunshine.  But, when it’s true, tell them.  Don’t be flowery about it.  Don’t embellish.  Just state the facts.  “You matter to this company because…”

This is what all employees really want. That’s really what any of us want. We want to know we matter.



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