What Do Employees Want?

So, what do employees want?

According to Gallup, employees want, (In this Priority)

  1. The ability to do what they do best
  2. Greater work balance
  3. Greater stability and job security
  4. More money (Note, money is 4th on the list)
  5. The opportunity to work for a great company, to be a part of a team they are proud of

50% of all employees that leave their job, do so to get away from a current manager. 70% of the low engagement is attributable to the employee’s manager.

What makes an effective manager? Why are there so many bad managers out there?

First let’s address what makes an effective manager.

  • Only 10% of people possess the skills and talent to be an effective manager.
  • The attributes and abilities needed to be an effective manager are
    • Put the right people in the right roles
    • Create a culture of clear accountability
    • Engage employees with a compelling vision
    • Motivate every employee individually
    • Coach and develop their people by focusing on their strengths
    • Make decisions based on productivity, not politics
    • Build trust and dialogue with their people about both work and life outside of work
  • Effective managers contribute 48% higher profits to their companies than average managers.

So, why are there so many ineffective managers in place?

The top two reasons why people are promoted to management are

  1. Previous success in non-management roles
  2. Experience and tenure

Neither of which have anything to do with management skills.

A 3rd reason why we see so many ineffective managers, is the style of management they use. From a very simple perspective a manager can either manage through positive interaction, or negative interaction. Of course, they could, and many do use a combination of both positive and negative styles.

In his book entitled “Now Discover your Strengths”, Author Don Clifton shares a 1954 study about the effects of positive and negative interaction. The results were groundbreaking, but they also give us a reason why so many managers use negative interaction with employees.

The reason many managers are negative is simple, in the short run, it works. We are all programmed to do away with things or events in our lives that cause us pain. We hate it, we avoid it, we run from it. If a manager inflicts pain of any kind, we will do what it takes to avoid it. Including leaving the company. But in the short term, the manager gets what they want, A response, it works. The cost is the lost opportunity; 70% of our management is less than effective at a cost of 48% lower profits.

This same study made it clear that positive interaction was much more effective in the long run. But positive interaction requires;

  • Skills, many just do not have
  • A long term outlooks
    • Warren Buffet has been promoting doing away with required quarterly SEC reporting to extend US business outlook beyond the next quarterly statements
  • An example, many people just have never seen effective management, so they don’t know what it looks or feels like

How do we improve? It is much easier to take survey and report the findings. But how do we move to finding, promoting and building effective positive long-term, management within our companies.

3-key initiatives that any company can use to build better management

  1. Learn what it looks and feels like
    1. Become a student of what skills are required. Learn what to look for, how to recognize the necessary skills. Once you learn what is needed and what is looks like, you will quickly recognize the voids within your organization.
  2. Keep perspective when promoting
    1. The greatest coaches are rarely the best players, so stop looking at your best employees to promote. Everyone is better off in the role they were best suited for. Remember the number one thing that employees wanted was to do the job they were best at.
  3. Focus on long term and never on short term
    1. Every business needs to make a profit and the more the better, every time we rob tomorrow’s growth by cashing in on today’s profits, we are creating an environment that will result is people leaving and management driving for results at any cost.

In Summary, it is not profit OR better management, better management ALWAYS yields higher profits. But there is a huge difference between companies that drive profits for profits sake, and companies that create a culture of growth and taking care of their employees.


SBO Advocates

Phil Berry

To download your own copy, here is a link Gallup’s State of the American Workplace,