Job guides and websites will often publish lists of what employers are looking for in the workers they hire. But let’s turn that around: What are employees looking for in an employer?
Some would say that it doesn’t matter, that workers are stuck taking whatever their bosses hand out. But in reality, you probably have more power than you think.
Just about everyone wants a fatter paycheck, of course. But there are plenty of other valuable things that a good employer can offer. So, the next time you hunt for a job, keep an eye out for these 14 things employees want from their employers.
Not every job can offer flexible hours. If brain surgery is scheduled for 9 a.m., those workers can’t saunter in 10 minutes late. But in other jobs, a little flexibility on hours can go a long way.
I once worked at an office job — no customers, no dealing with the public — where a boss sent another employee around at 8 a.m. with a clipboard, marking as late anyone who wasn’t seated at their desk. There was no understanding or flexibility given to the employees, so they didn’t feel the desire to give their all to the company.
There are other jobs that don’t feel quite as much like prisons.
Workers can’t give a manager what he or she wants if they have no idea what that is. In this age of online company handbooks, Slack channels and shared Google documents, there’s no excuse for not clearly stating company rules and requirements.
I once had a boss who sent out a company-wide memo declaring there were to be no personal calls at work, no matter how brief. Zero, zilch, nada. If your mother calls, he said, transfer her to me and I will explain the policy.
We need to show up at our jobs ready to work, of course. But that doesn’t mean our real lives end once we walk through our employer’s doors.
What if two employees want to take the same vacation week? Does the privilege go to the more senior employee, the one who asked first or the one the manager likes better?
A good company makes sure the rules on how benefits and privileges are handed out are clearly understood and honest. Just like back in grade school, people want to be treated fairly.
Loyalty and support
Every employee makes a mistake at some point, but how does the company react when that happens? Does the company support, correct and train the worker? Or is he or she blamed and shamed, perhaps even in front of other workers?
Mistakes are inevitable, but the way they’re handled by those in charge can help lead to fewer errors in the future — as well as build a grateful loyalty in those who’ve goofed up.
Parental leave policy
Oh, baby! Maternity and paternity leave has been much in the news lately, with some tech companies offering up to a year off after the birth or adoption of a child. Covering paid leave can be costly — but the alternative can be pricey, too, if employees decide to quit and new people must be found, hired and carefully trained.
Paid sick time
Getting ill is inevitable. You also might need sick days to help tend to a family member’s health needs.
Once again, communication is the key. Workers should know whom to notify if they need to miss work, when and if a doctor’s note will ever be required, and what happens if they run out of allotted days.
No one is saying management needs to hand every employee a new iPhone and Mac Book every year. But in this era where smartphones and watches are everywhere, technology matters.
Work will get done faster and better if the tech budget is generous and management has a schedule for regularly replacing and updating necessary items.
Allowing workers to telecommute — either on a regular schedule or as needed — can keep an employee working at a company even when he or she might earn more elsewhere.
Telecommuting allows employees to reduce weekly commuting hours, balance their life-work responsibilities and concentrate on projects uninterrupted.
Solid health insurance and benefits
Health insurance is one of the most valuable perks of a full-time job, but what’s offered by different companies isn’t equal. Some companies pay 100% of employee and family costs, while others offer insurance to part-time employees.
A high-quality benefits program is one of the best ways to retain good employees.
Vacation and paid days off
Time off matters. The Go-Go’s knew it back in 1982, when they sang, “Vacation, all I ever wanted.”
Would-be employees can easily compare vacation policies on company review sites such as Glassdoor, and it does make a difference.
Offering a variety of retirement plan options — plus a generous employer contribution match — helps an employer recruit top employees in competitive fields. So, look for a company that will partner with you in building a large nest egg.
Opportunities to advance
There’s a performance-review question most job-seekers hate: Where do you see yourself in five years?
While few people may know how best to answer that question, they know the answer they don’t want to give: Still in this same job, making the same amount of money.
A tradition of training and promotion from within can go a long way toward helping employees reach that next rung on the corporate ladder.
If all else fails, keep looking around for that money faucet. Competitive salaries, generous bonuses, profit sharing and other monetary rewards can go a long way toward attracting and keeping the best employees around.
Without it, some jobs just don’t make cents.
What are you looking for from your employer? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
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