Keeping people happy especially when it’s a group of people is a difficult task, combine that with all of the other uncontrollable factors in business and you’ve got yourself a challenge.  In a recent article published by Kate Page, she defines results from a study asking employees and managers to rank 10 job characteristics, and then posted the top five (Page, 2011).  They are as follows:

Employees seek:

  1. Appreciation for their work
  2. Feeling part of things
  3. Sympathetic help on personal issues
  4. Job security
  5. Good wages

Managers believe employees desire:

  1. Good wages
  2. Job security
  3. Promotion/growth opportunities
  4. Good working conditions
  5. Interesting work

I look at these responses and I see two types of people, leaders and followers, employment at a management level, and employment at an employee’s level both have different characteristics and skills that define them,  management personal probably have the leader personality traits and vice versa.  Managers expect good wages,  job security and growth opportunity, those job characteristics got them into the management position, which is also a position of control reducing the importance of working conditions and interesting work.  Employees, the followers expect fair wages but are not necessarily motivated for the money making positions in management, maybe it’s because there is also extra responsibility.  This type of person accepts fair wages and other offered benefits but are they recognized regularly for their work?  Probably not, there are many followers and very few leaders to praise everybody.  Feeling as if you’re part of something is a natural human desire, management already feels that way because of their position.  How can you bridge the gap here without hurting anyone’s feelings, maintaining morale?

Communication will always boost morale people are interested in what is going on, employees chose your company keep them interested. Management is usually looking at the big picture; the cost involved using a risk reward model.  Managers are trained on many procedures and possibilities for morale improvements and other management techniques.  Employees are hired to perform a daily responsibility, they focus on the present task, and that’s what they are trained to do.  Human resource departments in many companies offer a hotline for employees, this is a great way to get valuable feedback from employees but it is a cost to the company and if the feedback isn’t reviewed, there is no value.  The article also mentions that staff recognition should occur regularly not focused on a monetary reward but a more simplistic approach.  I don’t think this is truly possible, especially if it’s a large company; it’s almost counterproductive the employee is getting paid to do the job after all.  Demonstrating the employee’s value I think is the most efficient way to accomplish all of the job characteristics above because it can be done quickly and cover more ground.  If employees understand, their efforts there are more likely to have pride in them and during the project updates, managers and other employees can offer praise.  This is part of communication; morale can remain high if everyone is aware of what is going on and what the desired outcome should be.  Updating the team to let them know they are on track and the job is getting done once every couple of weeks will make employees feel part of something.  By doing this managers can satisfy the top two characteristics an employee seeks and at the same time lead a team to complete a project.

Read more content like this at workfanatic

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Comment by Jason Monastra on March 29, 2011 at 11:08am
That is a very interesting position.  We do not and will not work with people whose prime reason for moving is money.  The answer is simple why - cause when the next position for a dollar more an hour comes along, they will jump ship and move on.  With our projects, the team is the key and having the same team is of high priority.  Nothing beats retainment and avoiding issues like that upfront is key.  If someone cites their main reason for moving as money - they are immediately excluded from consideration.

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