If not money

If not money - image for article by Greg Alder

A staff member has gone above and beyond expectations. You want to reward her. You call her into your office, tell her how pleased you are with her work and hand her a raise.

She thanks you and leaves your office.

Four weeks later she regrets to inform you that she has accepted a job at a rival company.

You ask her reasons. She says something about a once-in-a-career opportunity.

As you listen, you smile politely. You’re thinking “You ungrateful so-and-so. I went out on a limb to get you that extra money and THIS is how you repay me?”

You don’t say this, of course. You shake her hand cordially and wish her well.

We all like to be recognised for the extra effort we put in. The problem is that of all the ways to show that recognition, money is the least valued.

Yes, we like it. But here’s what we employees really want:

  1. We want to be respected. We want to be encouraged to express our ideas and opinions – and see them acted upon.
  2. We want to feel pride. You can bet that Google employees are proud to say where they work. To feel similar pride, we want to work at a company that has Google’s reputation for innovation – in our market sector.
  3. We want direction. Lots of businesses are making money, but lack purpose. Purpose comes from having a grand vision – and leaders focussed on achieving it. What we employees want is to know that the business we work for knows where it’s going, and that we’re helping it get there.
  4. We want a personal life. We don’t want to be afraid to go home on time because our peers don’t. We want to be introduced to tools that boost productivity and accelerate creative thinking, so we get more done faster. And then we want to be told to go home to see our families.
  5. We want trust. We want to feel that we are capable of managing our own time and getting the job done in our own way. Tell us what we need to do. Don’t tell us how to do it.
  6. We want a creative outlet. Every job has the potential for innovation. Innovation comes from creative ideas. We want a forum to express our ideas.

Grant us these wishes and we will repay you with:

  1. Happiness. Research shows that employees whose creativity is encouraged are happier.
  2. Health. Research shows that happy employees are less likely to take days off.
  3. Productivity. Research shows that employees whose creativity is valued are more productive.
  4. Passion. Happy employees are passionate brand ambassadors. They attract customers and they attract the best candidates for job vacancies.
  5. Loyalty. People want to work at businesses where they are respected and valued.
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