Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

What We Really Want

August 1st, 2011 | Bob Rosner

Image: Bob RosnerWe all know what we want from our jobs, the biggest possible paycheck. Oops.
According to a worldwide study by the Hay Group, the number one desire of employees was career advancement. Yep, we’d rather make progress in our careers than just get a wad of cash.
Curious to read the other findings from the study?
Merit increases was the second desire of employees. Note it just wasn’t more pay, but pay based on doing a good job. Third was another pay issue, base pay amounts. I’m assuming that this was another way of saying a salary increase.
Okay so a bigger paycheck did crack the top five. But again it fell behind career advancement and merit increases. Far from the greedy employees bosses often write to me about, employees have an interesting way of often understanding the big picture more than they’re often given credit for.
Rounding out the top five, non-financial recognition and training.
Talk to most managers and they always talk about employees wanting more pay. But if you research the studies on the topic you consistently see that employees respond with answers like these, answers that actually help the company. Like non-financial rewards and training.
Which gets back to my observation about managers who always tell me that their people are overly focused on cash compensation.
So here are two possible reasons for this. First, that the employees are not telling the truth in the surveys. And that could well account for some of the responses. Or second, that the people in leadership are actually the ones who are overly concerned about cash.
My belief is that there is some truth to both responses. But I feel that bosses need to pay attention to surveys like this. Your people have more pride and loyalty than you probably realize.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com

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3 Responses to “What We Really Want”

  1. Gary2 Says:

    I think the companies that put these “surveys” keep saying pay is not the most important thing to employees so companies and CEO’S can tell this to employees and then make the employees who really all want more money think they are in the minority.

    I do not know ANYONE who does not say they want the most pay for the least work. Just like companies say they want the most work for the least pay.

    I work for money period. I can get the “warm fuzzies” outside of work. Warm fuzzies do not pay my bills nor fill my gas tank.

    If pay is not BY FAR the most important thing then try working for free.

    What I am saying is so obvious and the surveys are so wrong its astounding anyone would listen to them.

  2. Mark Says:

    Well put, Bob. I think your readers would enjoy this summary of a fairly new study by the University of Iowa, which is a parallel to what you said: http://bit.ly/pqkOiJ They found that companies can waste a lot of money on the learning and development side (as opposed to base comp/bonuses) if they don’t tie professional development practices to career advancement. That study was certainly an eye-opener for me. Thanks.

  3. Gary2 Says:

    Show me the money

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