8 Things Your Employees Need Most

Here is an excerpt from another excellent article in Jeff Haden‘s “Owner’s Manual” series for Inc. magazine.  To read the complete article, check out other online resources, and obtain information, please click here.

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Forget about raises and better benefits. Those are important — but this is what your staff really wants.

Getting a raise is like buying a bigger house; soon, more becomes the new normal.

Higher wages won’t cause employees to automatically perform at a higher level. Commitment, work ethic, and motivation are not based on pay.

To truly care about your business, your employees need these eight things—and they need them from you.

[Actually, here are three of the eight. To read the complete article, please click here.]

1. Freedom. Best practices can create excellence, but every task doesn’t deserve a best practice or a micro-managed approach. (Yes, even you, fast food industry.)

Autonomy and latitude breed engagement and satisfaction. Latitude also breeds innovation. Even manufacturing and heavily process-oriented positions have room for different approaches.

Whenever possible, give your employees the freedom to work they way they work best.

2. Targets. Goals are fun. Everyone—yes, even you—is at least a little competitive, if only with themselves. Targets create a sense of purpose and add a little meaning to even the most repetitive tasks.

Without a goal to shoot for, work is just work. And work sucks.

3. Mission. We all like to feel a part of something bigger. Striving to be worthy of words like “best” or “largest” or “fastest” or “highest quality” provides a sense of purpose.

Let employees know what you want to achieve, for your business, for customers, and even your community. And if you can, let them create a few missions of their own.

Caring starts with knowing what to care about—and why. Employees will care about your business when you care about them first.

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Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.


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  1. Rhonda on March 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I have read and read and read all the “right” things to do. Everyone gives practicle guidance to CEO/CFO’s. I cannot find a site that helps supervisors with practicle information. I was CEO/CFO for 18 years. I want to share. You call yourselves professionals and I would agree if you have survived the muck over 20 years. A degree teaches you nothing practicle. You have to get in there and do it to understand why you started your path in the first place. You know the philosophy. Surround yourself with competent people. Take care of pennies and dollars will take care of themselves. Be ethical. What’s new? Nothing. That covers all your sucesses. However, you miss the mark.
    How do you teach a supervisor to deal with body odor and foul language? Not the exec’s problem and line managers don’t want to do it. Been there done that. You are “professionals” and fail to teach the people who raised you to where you are. The higher up the ladder you go, the more ass you’re likely to show. Spout your expertise all you want. Help common workers do their jobs. That is the gap I see.

    • bobmorris on March 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you, Rhonda, for your comments. To whom specifically, are they directly addressed?

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