We typically use the word “crave” when feeling a powerful desire for something. Like how we crave the sweet taste of water on a hot summer day. The way our taste buds yearn for another serving of that amazing dessert. Maybe even how we long for human touch.
Recent workplace surveys, including the 2017 WorkHuman Research Institute survey report, have been using data to highlight how workers crave a sense of belonging at work. These needs are typically more important than compensation and always far outrank the notorious annual performance review.
In a Harvard Business Review article published in 2015, author Anne Bahr Thompson, found five intangible things that employees want from employers. These transcend the typical generational labels we apply to workers as well. Here is a brief summary.
- Trust: Every generation of workers crave employers who live up to their promises. Fair salary and benefits make a great starting point but workers are seeking companies where feedback and praise are offered regularly.
- Enrichment: Workers also crave life balance. While the generational groups might view this in different ways, companies must acknowledge that a technology-driven culture makes time away from work harder to achieve.
- Responsibility: Every generation of workers seems to crave fairness at work. They want their company to be ethical and treat all stakeholders well. They are ready to acknowledge that mistakes will be made but expect their employer to own them and improve.
- Community: Human beings crave a sense of belonging. Not every worker will have a best friend at work but they all recognize the importance of connection. The younger generations at work, including millennials, especially desire a supportive environment.
- Contribution: Workers also crave the opportunity to make a difference in the community and society. Personal ideals and passions tend to drive this need. An employer should avoid overt political intentions when seeking to do good in the community.
These cravings are easily overlooked in organizations where the bottom line is heavily emphasized. Leaders may choose to deny or ignore what employees are hungering for. There will be a price to pay in the level of employee engagement or morale.
The reward for meeting the cravings of workers is clear. Where employees feel acknowledged and appreciated, where they can strengthen relationships, and where they have a purpose aligned with achievable goals, the results are impressive – twice as likely to feel they can grow, 41% more likely to find meaning in their work, and 78% more likely to trust their manager.
The intangible needs of workers shouldn’t be ignored.
What we crave at work we often crave elsewhere. It’s important and fairly simple to address. What are you waiting for?
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