What do your employees want? What do they value most?
It’s a question asked by executives and HR departments everywhere. Some think it’s benefits. Some think it’s a stocked kitchen filled with cabinets bustling with snacks. Others even think it’s a gaming system in the break room or dare I say…a foosball table.
Well guess what. It’s none of those things.
Sure your employees appreciate the pretzels you keep in the kitchen. And yes, everyone wants benefits like health, dental and vision. Maybe there are even a few who revel in a heated lunchtime foosball tournament. But at the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of your employees want one thing.
Lean in close because I’m about to tell you exactly what it is…
Bells and whistles are “fun” but your employees would stay even if there weren’t a video game console in the conference room. Plus, flexibility spans generational lines; millennials, gen-x and baby boomers ALL want it. Here’s what really matters to them.
John wants to be able to leave early once a week to coach his son’s baseball practice.
Maria wants to come in late one day a month so she can take that painting class she has always dreamed about.
Nadia wants to skip lunch and leave an hour earlier to beat traffic and maybe make that 5pm spin class.
Sanjay has missed so many school plays that he just wants to be able to attend school events when his kids are on that stage.
And Tara needs a little break from the office and could really benefit from working from home 1-2 times a week.
That’s it folks. Your employees all have lives and obligations outside of work. The easier you make if for them to strike that elusive work-life balance thing, the more appreciative they will be. There’s a catch though. You have to REALLY mean it. That translates to no passive aggressive comments or sideways glances when you see John, Maria, Nadia, Sanjay and Tara taking advantage of the flexibility you offer.
Something really interesting will happen if you follow through with the promise of flexibility. Employees will all of a sudden have fewer “dentist appointments” (I mean seriously, how many times can Phil see the dentist in a 2 month period). With transparency and flexibility working hand-in-hand, you will see a change in demeanor. You will see genuine appreciation for what you offer. The end result is happier, more engaged employees who probably don’t even want to play foosball at lunchtime.
Give it a try…you may just be amazed at the results. Tweet @GMagenta and let me know what you offer your employees in terms of flexibility in the workplace.