what do employees want?

28 10 2011

picture credit Sean MacEntee

A very expensive lawyer I know once said to me “never stand in between an employee and a bucket of money”. That he managed to say it without a hint of irony or self-reflection was as much a miracle as the fact that I managed to choke back my laughter. I couldn’t waste any precious minutes of his $500 per hour listening to me composing myself! His was obviously a very mechanistic view of motivation. Perhaps he should acquaint himself with the Hawthorne Study (circa 1940s)….and any other more recent motivation theories.

However, in a long line of motivation theorems and surveys, comes the latest survey, by Staples in the US. An online survey of 150 office workers conducted in December 2010 across many industries found that the top five improvements in work conditions that employees wanted were:

1.Eliminating office politics (44%) (remarkably low, I thought)

2.Allowing or encouraging telecommuting (41%)

3.Upgrading computers and other office technology (37%)

4.Getting better looking/more comfortable furniture (35%)

5.More private work areas and more flexible work hours (both tied for fifth at 34% each)

Most of them rated their boss positively, and suggestions for improved productivity included providing snack options on-site to avoid staff having to go on “coffee-runs”. While I haven’t actually seen the survey, it is worth noting that Staples is an office-supply company and hence the survey may – just may – have had specific questions about ergonomic chairs, keyboards etc.

None-the-less, food for thought. Please send any spare buckets of money my way.

Another article on this topic is found here.

And a fab infographic on the development of management and motivation models over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, along with the development and future of performance reviews is found here.

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