The 3 things your employees want – but aren’t telling you

In today's cutthroat talent market, grasping employees' true desires is crucial for cultivating a thriving workplace. Pete Cohen's expert advice delves into these elusive factors, offering actionable steps to enhance retention.

The competition for top talent is intense. Understanding what employees want is crucial to creating a workplace that fosters productivity, engagement, and commitment.

While some may argue that competitive salaries and benefits are the most important factors, others suggest that a return to such traditional incentives is not what employees need after three years of significant upheaval. But if that’s the case, it is worth asking: what are these elusive motivators, and how do we achieve them?

Check out Pete Cohen’s top tips below and learn the actionable steps that you can take to improve retention today! Also, if you want to watch Pete discuss these in action, watch the webinar playback where he covers this subject in detail.

We’ll cover:

Autonomy over autocracy

Sometimes, it’s easier to define a word by its opposite; in the case of autonomy, that means autocracy. An autocracy is traditionally defined as a system of government characterized by absolute power, and most would agree it’s an outdated one at that.

However, when applied to a company, it represents the traditional, rigid, hierarchical model that rewards decision-making at the top and unwavering obedience at the bottom. But why should our companies be structured in a way that has been rejected by our populace time and time again?

Micromanagement in an organization can be demotivating because it reduces the workplace to a factory where one employee is easily replaced by the next. Especially in a modern environment where tasks with detailed, specific instructions can be performed by artificial intelligence, it can even be seen as a waste of resources.

Instead, employers should focus on empowering employees by cultivating an environment rooted in freedom and trust, which in turn allows employees to realize their full potential. To help you do this, we have pulled together a few actionable steps aimed at encouraging your employees to embrace their own autonomy:

Goal-based performance

Allow employees to set their own goals and hold them accountable for achieving them. Ensure they understand how their role fits into the bigger picture, and give them the freedom to chart their path accordingly. In other words, give them the destination but not the route.

Flexibility and control

Provide resources and tools that enable employees to work independently and efficiently. Maybe this means flexible hours, a lenient dress code, and the ability to work remotely, but do not assume that this is what everyone needs. Set up relaxation spaces where employees can unwind and get to know each other on a more personal level.

Freedom to fail

Mistakes are a part of the learning process, so don’t punish employees who make them. Instead, engage in a “post-mortem” where you allow them to consider what went right and what went wrong, and propose the steps that need to be taken.

Pete Cohen Workplace Mental Health

Mastery over monotony

At first glance, it may seem like monotony leads to mastery—after all, doesn’t repetition bring about expertise? And isn’t that how Malcolm Gladwell suggests we get the 10,000 hours of knowledge necessary to master a given skill?

Monotonous tasks lead to boredom, which can in turn cause a lack of motivation and decreased productivity. When tasks are repetitive and unchallenging, employees may become disengaged and lose interest in their work.

Like muscle fatigue, intellectual monotony can also lead to stress and burnout. Employees who perform the same tasks repeatedly over an extended period may experience physical and mental fatigue, which can impact their overall wellbeing. When employees are stressed or burned out, their productivity and job satisfaction can suffer.

To combat these outcomes, it’s important to give your employees opportunities to challenge themselves and grow within their chosen fields. But don’t just take our word for it; try out some of our tips below to encourage mastery in the workplace and see for yourself how they can make a difference:

Training and development

Allocate a budget that allows employees to engage in both internal and external training. Offer optional workshops and lunch and learns and ensure that employees have the time to participate – TriggerHub can help you piece together some great themed workshops and talks, get in touch to find out more and to meet your very own team of lived experience advocates and mental health experts. Additionally, grant each employee a budget to attend a training of their choice and invite them to share what they learned with others in the organization by creating blog posts or small workshops of their own.

Mentorship programs

Stimulate development by making mentorship programs available that are separate from the standard manager-employee relationship. Facilitate informal conversations about goals and challenges, and provide a safe space for employees to share stories, raise concerns, or seek advice. And finally, encourage colleagues to create clubs that engage them further in their interests and network with like-minded individuals.

Challenging projects

Don’t limit employees to what you know they can do, but challenge them with projects that push them to learn and develop new skills. With the proper coaching and mentorship programs in place, employees can feel empowered to take on new tasks while still feeling secure.

Pete Cohen Workplace Mental Health

Purpose over paycheck

Yes, you read that right. Paychecks are no longer the be-all and end-all incentive that they once were.

Fair compensation should be an expectation at work, not a perk. And while employees need to support themselves and their families, it is far from being their sole criterion when considering possible positions.

Like employers, who typically take a holistic approach when recruiting, employees also consider several factors when comparing potential jobs, especially in today’s post-COVID environment. Specifically, they look for positions where they can add value, within companies that, in turn, add value to the world at large.

Ultimately, what people want is to be a source of good in the world and feel as if it’s a better place because they were in it. That could mean anything from participating in a project to combat global warming on a large scale to making a single employee feel more comfortable through mentorship.

Clear vision and mission

Develop your vision using clear, concise, and easy-to-understand language, and communicate it regularly to employees. If possible, involve employees in developing the company’s vision and mission. Explain to each employee how their role contributes to the bigger picture and drives the company’s mission forward.

Recognition for achievement

Recognize employees publicly for their contributions to the company’s mission and values, and encourage them to share their success stories and highlight how their work has made a difference. This will show others how they too can effect positive change and inspire them to take action.

Opportunities for philanthropy

Provide opportunities for employees to give back to their community through volunteering or charitable work, and if possible, offer various options that align with their personal values and interests. Allow employees to mentor others within the organization, which can create a sense of community and boost their own self-worth and confidence.

By keeping these alliterative antonyms in mind, you can ensure your company is on the right track to attracting and retaining top talent.

Want to learn how to empathically and proactively support your employees? Inquire about our MHFA training today!

Mental health and wellbeing training plays a crucial role in mitigating the effects of mental health challenges on productivity, enhancing employer awareness, and providing support for employees.

No matter which path you wish to pursue, we are here to assist you every step of the way, from comprehensive training and culture-focused programs to tailor-made solutions. We have the answer to your needs.

Our expertise offers the strategic guidance necessary to equip you with the tools and assistance required to make a positive impact within your organization and positively influence the lives of those in your care. For more information about our industry-leading training, get in touch today.

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