What you don’t know about the people who work for you

Time and again I’ve witnessed the disconnect that can happen between management and employees. Workers grumble about horrible bosses, while managers run in circles trying to decipher why projects fall of the rails. To truly get the best work from the people you employ, you need to understand their perspective. And that’s easier than you think, no matter which industry or career level they come from.

People are of course all unique individuals, and that transfers to their attitude regarding work. But there are a few things that I’ve found to be universal truths for 99.9% of employees.
1) Your opinion of us matters.

No matter how talented, confident, or nonchalant that rising star may seem—they still want to be told they are doing a good job. (Even if they know they are.) People like to be appreciated. There’s a reason that countless organizations have awards for performance, or programs that give employees the proverbial pat on the back. It just means a lot more coming from the mouth of someone you work with directly. As we discussed in this previous Workopolis article, a truly great manager not only encourages, but articulates what needs improvement without sounding like a passive aggressive jerk.
2) We need to be challenged.

Contrary to what popular culture will have you believe, we don’t all long for days full of loafing off and watching YouTube videos. Most of us actually like to be challenged. A study released last summer from the Harvard Business Review found that young, highly-qualified workers leave at a rate much higher than employers would like. The single biggest reason for their departures? Nope, not money. It’s opportunity for development. Employees want to learn through training opportunities, mentors, and just the general evolution of skills and job duties. Smart, engaged, workers (which are precisely the kind you want working for you) don’t want to do the same things day-in and day-out for years on end. No challenge is the kiss of death.
3) Even if we like you, we’re always looking for jobs.

You go out of your way to make sure employees are happy. So unless you are unintentionally demoralizing them, there would be no reason for someone to look for a job, right? Wrong. I genuinely love my job. But it doesn’t mean I don’t keep my eye on the market in my field. It’s in an employee’s competitive interest to stay on top of their industry. It doesn’t mean they are looking to leave. It just means they manage their career well. Take it is as sign you’ve been hiring the right kind of people.

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