What do employees really want from work?  

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As a leader in today's ever-evolving employment landscape, it is crucial to understand what truly drives and inspires employees. A recent Insights Report from Employment Hero unveiled the main aspirations that Australian employees consider when evaluating their current roles or while searching for future roles.

According to the report, the top 3 considerations motivating an individual’s decision to accept a new role include:  

  1. Fair pay  

  2. Flexible working options

  3. Purposeful work

On the other hand, the top 3 reasons employees leave their current role include:  

  1. A feeling of being underpaid

  2. Toxic work environment

  3. Insufficient benefits

So, what can leaders and managers do?

To increase employee productivity and satisfaction, managers must understand the needs of their employees and create an environment where their employees can thrive. While this has traditionally been the domain of Human Resources, today more than ever, direct managers have a crucial role to play in both understanding employees’ motivation and creating a work environment that meets their needs.

Taking a personal approach and leading with empathy and fairness are great starting points. Understanding the personal motivators of each team member and making a genuine effort to provide the tools they require to do their job will help in supporting employees’ professional growth.

These efforts also support the employees mental, physical, and cultural well-being, and are likely to be well received.

Here are four strategies organisations can adopt to empower both managers and employees:

1. Transition to a Human-Centric Culture

Empower your employees to feel psychologically safe at work, where they can be open and honest without fear of reprisal. Elevate the employee experience by equipping leaders and managers with the tools for empathetic management. Trust, respect, and open communication are the foundations upon which strong workplace relationships are built. 

2. Redefine Management

Invest in your managers' development, enabling them to better support employees' mental well-being and individual needs. Given the prevalence of burnout, managers must champion healthy practices that promote wellbeing. Encouraging employees to take breaks, reconnect, and refresh throughout the day will foster a more balanced and rejuvenated workforce.

3. Measure by Output, Not Hours

Shift your focus from counting hours to evaluating employee efficiency based on their productivity and output. Encourage "focus time" for in-depth work and prioritise breaks to prevent physical exhaustion. A results-oriented approach breeds a more productive and satisfied team.

4. Champion Purpose-Driven Work

Quality always trumps quantity. Encourage your employees to find purpose and meaning in their tasks, forging a strong bond between the organisation and its workforce. When employees feel connected to the bigger picture, they align more seamlessly with the organisation's goals and vision.

Overall, understanding the needs of employees is particularly important to maximise employee engagement, productivity, and efficiency. Managers need to take proactive steps to ensure their employees thrive in the best way possible, creating a win/win scenario for employees and employers.