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What Good Employees Need and Want

It is often thought that good employees’ most important desire
is to be paid fairly and well for their work. However, experience
shows there are many other areas where employee needs and
wants, if attended to, can provide a work experience and environment
that is mutually beneficial to the employer and the

Goals. Performance planning is as important as performance
appraisal. Provide them with a light at the end of the tunnel.

Participation. People want to be involved in as many aspects
of assigned tasks as possible. The greater the involvement, the
greater the buy-in and support.

Guidance. All people, especially those new to a job, want and
need to know how well they are doing and where they stand.
Feedback and direction are the keys. Don’t focus only on the
negative; accentuate the positive.

Encouragement. People will usually give what is expected of
them. The higher the expectation, the higher the performance.
Look for the best in others, not the worst. If we lower expectations,
performance will diminish. If you fail to continue to raise
expectations, the organization can become stale.

Recognition. Praise is still one of the most effective forms of
motivation. Positive feedback and reinforcement do work.

Communication. Give every person as much of a chance to
express his feelings, attitudes and ideas as you give to yourself
Remember that most people will only communicate to the
extent to which they are encouraged to do so.

Competition. Competition among people can be a great
incentive to be more productive. Remember to have them compete
against goals and competitors, not each other or against
other departments.

Reward. All people are looking for some type of reward and
recognition. This does not have to take the form of money.
There are many other options. Sometimes merely calling attention
to someone’s outstanding performance is all it takes.

Growth. If you do not provide enough opportunity within the
organization, those with great talents are more likely to move

Challenge. The more challenging the work environment and
the job, the more likely you will attract—and keep—good people.
Achievement. Many people want to be high achievers, even
if they do not yet know how to do so. It is up to you to push
them to their limits and then train them to go further than they
have in the past.

Belonging. Most people need to be part of a good organization.
Create a positive organization with which people are proud
to be identified.

Management awareness. Given the growing diversity of
the work force today, it is important that we take time to try to
understand and accept differences and to manage them effectively.
Authority. Authority is necessary, but it should be exercised
in a responsible manner. Remember that if you assign responsibility
and accountability, you must also assign authority so
that people can reach their goals. Remember, too, that people
will reflect your exercise of authority in their exercise of it.

About the Author

L. Douglas Mault is president of the Executive Advisory Institute,
Yakima. Wash.

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