More Than Just a Paycheck: Employees Want to Feel Valued at Work

There is a popular notion that customers keep a business’s door open. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

With so much talk on the customer experience, no one has paid much attention to the employee experience. And it’s proven costly.

Whatever you want to call it – employee attrition, turnover, churn rate – it’s occurring at such an alarming rate that employers are scrambling to fill open positions in every sector of the hospitality industry.

What’s really going on?

A recent article by the LA Times, “Employees Are Quitting, Sometimes Without Other Offers. What Can Companies Do to Retain Staff?” claims employees aren’t quitting their jobs for better pay. The article cites a survey of both employees and employers, and the results suggest there is a major disconnect in how employers view this mass employment exodus.

The data doesn’t lie.

In the survey, more than half of the employees who already quit their job said they did so because they didn’t feel valued by their bosses or organization, not because of compensation.

This means employees aren’t jumping ship for better pay. In fact, the article cites a staggering 40% of employees that recently quit their jobs didn’t have a new job secured before leaving.

This may come as a surprise to some managers, but a time where American workers are reprioritizing what is important in their lives, it’s safe to say a paycheck isn’t going to cut it any longer. Employees yearn to feel like a valued member of the team. They don’t want to work in what feels like a toxic environment. They are actively seeking out job opportunities where they can advance within an organization, and they want to contribute to the greater good of the company they work for.

In short, employees want a purpose. And you can give it to them.

Right now, the balance is tipping in the employees’ favor. Like salesmen, managers must set themselves apart from the competition. How can you gain an advantage needed to retain a full staff, so your operation doesn’t suffer?

Develop a differential advantage.

Maybe your operation can’t afford to offer higher wages or benefits in the form of insurance, retirement, profit-sharing. The good news is (according to the LA Times survey data) you don’t have to.

What you ought to do is consider the ways that might appeal to the values and needs of your employees.

Consider these options:

  1. Conduct an employee satisfaction survey (just like with customers, you need to know your employees’ true perceptions and not just guess).
  2. Implement an employee recognition program to acknowledge a job well done.
  3. Enhance existing training programs so employees feel confident and comfortable with company expectations, standards, and procedures.

It’s worth emphasizing to managers that this is nothing new. For decades, employees have left companies for these exact same reasons, but the numbers have exacerbated considerably over the past year.

This isn’t a war on wages. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it is this: we all want to feel as though our lives have value and meaning, inside and outside of work.

Don’t miss an opportunity to show that to your employees.