What every employee expects

Lead Change is a leadership media destination with a unique editorial focus on driving change within organizations, teams, and individuals. Lead Change, a division of Weaving Influence, publishes twice monthly with SmartBrief. Today's post is by Mark Miller.

What are the basics all team members want and need, regardless of their level of talent?

This question was not part of the original research design when my team and I recently sought the factors that attract top talent. That private research gained insight from more than 7,000 people, collected through various methods across the US.

However, the data was clear -- there are some things every employee cares about when determining where he or she will work.

Of course, leaders know the importance of the culture to your organization -- an encouraging, life-giving culture is valued by all potential employees.

But that’s not all. There is another category of conditions we’ve collectively labeled the basics, and our role as leaders is to deliver the basics. Then, and only then, can we entertain the idea of attracting and keeping top talent.

OK, you can probably accept this premise at an abstract level, so let’s be more specific. Here are some of the details…

  • All team members expect to be compensated fairly. This should not be a surprise, yet many leaders have no idea regarding the current state of wages in their area. When is the last time you did a compensation audit for your market and industry?
  • Everyone wants to work in a safe environment. Another predictable response. When is the last time you did a safety and security audit? How good is your training on these issues for all employees?
  • People want their role to be a good fit. As I said earlier, we never intended to include this type of thing in our research. However, if you miss the basics, you miss the mark altogether. How many of your people are in the “right” role based on their talent and gifts?
  • Team members want to understand what is expected of them. I’m not a huge fan of traditional job descriptions; often, I find them far too limiting. However, a basic human need, at least in the workplace, is to know “what is expected of me?” Are you and your people crystal clear on expectations?
  • Not surprisingly, people want to know how to do what they’ve been asked to do. Clear expectations without the skills needed for success is extremely frustrating. Job-specific, basic training is essential. Has every member of your team been trained to meet your expectations?
  • People want the equipment and tools needed to complete their work with excellence. Good fit, clear expectations, skills, plus the right equipment and tools. Unfortunately, this last piece of the puzzle is often where the process breaks down. When is the last time you asked your people what tools and equipment they need to do their job?

Nothing in the previous list should be a surprise. However, the now famous Samuel Johnson quote comes to mind:

“[People] more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”

I hope this reminder has been helpful!


Mark Miller is the best-selling author of seven books, an in-demand speaker, and the vice president of high-performance leadership at Chick-fil-A. In his latest book, "Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People," Miller reveals the three critical aspects of a true Talent Magnet and explores the daily implications for leaders.

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