Good managers are vigilant about what employees need – because it really is about making them better.
Now, consider this headline from a very good web site: Ten things employees want more than a raise …
Hmmm, I thought. Ten?
It’s hard to believe there are 10 things employees want more than a raise. I think most employees would put getting a raise right at or near the top of any list of wants. All employees want more money!
There are many management gurus who would have us believe otherwise. But on this issue, 10 is just going way overboard.
However, there are very certainly a few things employees would embrace more than a raise. Maybe just four.
Here they are:
1) Clear Direction
People hate when someone is standing at their shoulder watching their every move.
On the other hand, some managers go so far to avoid micromanaging that they end up offering only vague guidance, leaving employees to guess what’s expected of them . That’s too hands-off. So where’s the balance?
Employees need to know what the job entails and how their work will be judged and credited. That’s the clear direction they are looking for. It always pays to be aware of the difference between telling people what you expect of them versus babysitting them.
2) Strong Communication
Communication is near or at the top of every good manager’s list because it is the touchstone of successful leadership. After all, what good are the decisions you make and all the insights you have to offer if those things aren’t communicated in ways employees understand?
Good employees always want to know the “why,” so remember to tell them. They’ll be motivated to achieve, based on clear goals and good communication, when they understand why they do what they do.
3) Career Development
Nothing will make good employees disengage or jump ship faster than the feeling that they’re spinning their wheels.
Managers can have a unique impact on an employee’s development path, since they have first-hand knowledge of their skills and what they’re particularly suited for.
Not everyone wants the same thing from their work life. Some want to reach a leadership position, others are content to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Once you’ve identified an employee’s goal, you can fall back on these three time-honored management tenets to guide them: Meaningful incentives, growing responsibilities and shared success.
4) Skill Development
While Career Development goes beyond the scope of the employee’s job description, Skill Development hones in on making the employee better at what he or she is currently doing.
Skill development can be broken down into three steps:
First, identify the specific skill improvement needs for the employee. One key is to ask the person where he or she feels improvement is needed. Often, they already know. Frontline supervisors are also in a good position to offer insights.
Second, link the training needs of each employee to possible learning activities in your organization. That’s where cross-training works so well. On-the-job development opportunities usually provide the best training setting and results.
Lastly, create a clear plan for learning for each employee. For instance, someone might need to improve phone sales skills, while another needs to get better with accounting.
The bonus is that skill development is an excellent retention tool when it is linked to career development opportunities. Otherwise, offering skills training may only serve to help employees beef up their resumes to land jobs elsewhere.