The 10 things employees want most from a job

Guest author Victoria Sviggum dissects the findings from the Global Talent Survey

Job satisfaction. Not only does it lead to a better quality of life for employees, but research also suggests that it is vital for employers too as it increases productivity and performance levels, inspires greater loyalty and improves company reputation –  important for recruiting top talent.

So how do we keep workers happy?

Following their successful Global Talent Survey in 2014, totaljobs has once again teamed up with the Boston Consulting Group and The Network – an alliance of market leading job boards in over 130 countries. Together, they’ve investigated some of the industry’s burning questions, including what workers consider to be the most important factors impacting job satisfaction.

The results are in and below you’ll find out what matters most on the job for employees across the UK. As found in 2014, it seems the top ranking factors are linked to relationships with colleagues and superiors, while more practical elements such as career development and learning and training rank lower. Financial compensation did not even make an appearance on the list this year, showing that it’s not all about that bottom line. Read on to find out more.

1. Work-life balance

There is greater value placed on a healthy work-life balance today than ever before, especially amongst millennials. People are generally more concerned with their all-around quality of life and mental health than overworking for the possibility of more money – and when employees are happier, productivity levels are suggested to rise.

“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.”
Katie Thurmes, Co-founder of Artifact Uprising

2. Relationship with colleagues

On average, employees spend more time with their colleagues than their friends outside work. So, if workers are going to see the same faces every day, it really helps if they get along with them and enjoy their company. In addition, if there is a mutual respect between colleagues, the quality of output should improve. Previous totaljobs research revealed that 1 in 4 people say that they want better relationships with their colleagues and claim it motivates them to stay in a job.

“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.”
Sheryl Sandberg, Author & COO of Facebook

3. Relationship with superior

Whether staff like and respect their boss directly impacts their motivation at work. Seeing a manager as a role model or mentor also increases likelihood of employee retention. In addition, by knowing superiors are  taking an interest in personal career development encourages employees to work harder and do well.

“A good manager is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.”
S. M. Burns, former president of Shell Oil Company
 

4. Work being appreciated

Recognition is important for employees’ motivation and drive to do better. Feeling appreciated and a valued member of the team naturally encourages people to contribute more and keep their quality of work up. And from the employer’s point of view, this takes so little: a word of thanks, team drinks or even an awards system.

“…feeling supported, challenged, and appreciated allows us to be our most efficient selves.”
Julia Hartz, CEO and Co-founder of Eventbrite, Inc

 5. Financial stability of employer

Confidence in the performance of a company affects potential jobseekers’ willingness to apply, while also affecting the retention of existing employees. Not only does it impact job security, but it also can have impact on the opportunity for progression and bonuses, which may be a determining factor for employees.

“Insecure workers are not happy workers and not productive workers.”
Paul Glavin Professor of Sociology at McMaster University, Ontario  

6. Job security

People instinctively seek stability and reliability. This increases with age, especially when people start to buy their own homes and decide to raise a family. There are so many things to worry about in life; the last thing employees want to worry about is losing their job or being out of work. It is no surprise then, that job security has a significant impact on job satisfaction. With work-life balance at the top of the list, it’s clear that people appreciate a job that can let them focus on their personal lives freely.

“Research indicates that job insecurity reduces both physical and mental health, increases burnout, reduces job satisfaction and decreases work performance.”
Dr. Vander Elst of University of Leuven

7. Interesting work

We thrive off being challenged and inspired by what we do. Work we find dull, monotonous and unchallenging has the effect of slowing people down and decreasing productivity due to lack of motivation and stimulation.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Steve Jobs

 8. Learning & Development

In-house training and the opportunity to be taught new skills make employees feel like they are being invested in and that they can increase their prospects for career progression in the future. It is a good move for the employer as not only is this likely to increase employee retention, but it is also a chance to specifically tailor any training to best suit their company needs. Recent totaljobs research has revealed that two in three UK workers have quit a job due to a lack of available learning and development opportunities.

“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

9. Values of employer

If an employee’s values are in line with those their company represents, they will have a higher degree of positive association with their job and are probably more likely to wok harder. They will feel proud of their employer and are likely to vocalise this, which can contribute to greater brand awareness and a positive working culture.  Job seekers are also more likely to apply for jobs at companies they respect and admire. 

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
Howard Schulz, former CEO of Starbucks

10. Career development

It is natural to want to know that a role you choose offers opportunities to climb up the career ladder and increase earnings and responsibility over time. Therefore, a clear path of progression can compete with salary as the earning potential is worth it for some. Companies who invest in their employees’ progression and development are more likely to attract and retain talent. If there is nowhere to go, an employee has more reason to look elsewhere.

“When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” 
Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the USA

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