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The 3 things people want from you

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Only about 10 percent of organizations maintain high levels of motivation among long-term employees, researchers say.

Bosses who keep morale high understand what employees want, and then give it to them. That may sound like a recipe for insolvency, but employees’ wishes are generally reasonable and fit with the organization’s goals.

Surveys of more than 3.5 million people over 30 years reveal three basic employee desires:
  1. Equity, meaning fair pay, competitive benefits, reasonable job security and respectful treatment.

  2. Recognition for accomplishments.

  3. Camaraderie, including warm, interesting and cooperative relations with co-workers.
Employee enthusiasm depends on a culture that satisfies those three needs. The researchers’ advice? Rather than trying to pump up motivation with superficial programs that don’t stick, give employees what they want.

The returns are great for organizations that treat employees as allies, not children, enemies or commodities.

—Adapted from “Assumptions That Kill Morale,” David Sirota, Louis A. Mischkind, and Michael Irwin Meltzer, Leader to Leader.

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