Do you know what your employees want?








I recently had a client share a story (that is oh, so familiar!) about one of her new staff members raise in a team meeting that he didn’t feel valued by the company and the role was not “what he wanted”.

She was excited to onboard this new person and provided an exhaustive list of benefits to sweeten the deal. 

Six weeks of leave instead of four. Well above market rate for a wage. The use of company resources to support his ‘side-hustle’. Time on the books during work hours to work on his side-hustle. Flexible working arrangements.

So, when only a few weeks in he expressed his dissatisfaction with the circumstances, my client was quite understandably shaken and left deflated in her bid to win him over. 

What went wrong, I hear you ask? Even the very best-intentioned, kind, overtly generous business owners struggle to deliver on what their staff want.

Have you ever wondered what your employees are truly motivated by and what the sweet recipe of employee satisfaction is made up of?

We learn from our recruitment experience that it is not always about the money for our candidates — a common mistake and assumption many business owners make. 

“If I pay them an extra $1,000, $10,000, even $100,000 more, then they’ll be satisfied…”

In fact, countless surveys and research have proven time and time again that financial compensation is often not the driving factor behind a candidate’s decision making when they accept a new role. 

Besides a competitive wage package and employee benefits, there are some fundamental intrinsic factors employees are seeking in their careers and the organisation they work for, either consciously or unconsciously. 

Understanding these needs can improve the motivation of your employees, which in turn leads to greater job satisfaction, retention and productivity, and a much happier ‘you’ when it comes to operating your business.

So that being said, what are staff actually wanting? 

From my experience, here is an extensive list of alternative things people are wanting in a job role:

  • Clarity in their role and how it connects to the purpose of the organisation 
  • The ability to contribute to something greater than themselves
  • Autonomy in how they work 
  • Trust to ‘get the job done’ in their own style
  • Creativity and variety in their role
  • Flexibility of hours and how they complete tasks
  • A sense of belonging in a team 
  • Aligned personal values to company values
  • Regular feedback and openness around how they are tracking in their role
  • A feeling of being understood, seen and recognised
  • Work-life balance 
  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth 
  • Respect, kindness and pleasant workplace interactions
  • Consistency in actions from leadership 
  • Clear direction, milestones and understanding of projects that need to be undertaken
  • Exposure to mentoring opportunities and senior leadership
  • Opportunities to upskill, see improvement and career progression
  • A role that aligns with personal dreams, goals and life aspirations

Don’t let this list overwhelm you. These are just a few of the things people want when it comes to job satisfaction. The best way to approach this with your team? Simply ask them. 

Ask the question directly: “What are the things that make you feel satisfied in a job?”

You may be pleasantly surprised by the answers you receive.

What has worked in your business when it comes to knowing what your staff want, and what are some examples you’ve heard of that might not be on this list?

I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line via email or LinkedIn.