7 things employees want


Have you ever wondered what actually motivates your employees, and what is the key to retaining your best people?

In our experience as a recruiter, we learn from our candidates that it is not always about the money. Beyond a competitive salary package and staff benefits, there are some intangible factors that employees seek, either consciously or unconsciously, in their careers and the organisation they work for. Understanding these needs can help you increase employee motivation, which in turn will lead to higher job satisfaction, retention and productivity.

A great boss 

In many surveys, we learn that one of the key reasons people leave their companies was due to their immediate superiors. A difficult relationship with your boss usually spells the end of your career for most – and that is why when the boss is the problem, it proves to be harder to retain the staff.

A boss who is well-loved by his employees is often rewarded with a high level of staff loyalty - even when all other work factors may not be as ideal. People spend a great deal of their time at work, and the type of boss can make a huge difference in their work environment. Do your people look forward to coming to work, or do they dread being in your presence? There is fine line between high turnover rate and high retention rate – and more often not, the boss is that fine line.

Trust and respect

Although it is a fairly simple concept, many employers overlook the significance that many employees attach to it. Showing respect to your staff means treating them like adults and trusting them to do their best for the company. You need to be objective and fair at all times, and be receptive to both their strengths as well as shortcomings. It also means allowing room for failure and mistakes, and believing that they will improve.

Appreciation and recognition

Recognition is not just about paying lip service and stating it on your company’s corporate collaterals. Employees want to feel that their contributions are appreciated, and that they are being rewarded for their achievements. Recognition does not always have to be extravagant or costly. For many people, a simple thank you note, a genuine compliment or praising their work in public or to senior management can carry a whole lot of significance and yet, hardly cost the employer anything to provide it.

Career progression

More often than not, employees leave because they feel stagnant or worse, redundant. When people feel that they are no longer adding value to the organisation, or that they have reached a ceiling in terms of their career path, it is difficult to expect them to stay motivated.

As an employer, you need to have a plan for individual growth. Employees need to feel challenged in their work. They want to upgrade themselves – either through training or taking on more responsibilities and expanding their portfolio. In a survey we did last year, more than half of the respondents claimed that their main reason for moving on to greener pastures is to seek better career development or job promotion opportunities.

Corporate culture

Due to the large amount of time they spend at work, many employees may place a strong and positive corporate culture high on their list. More often than not, the senior management of an organisation is responsible for shaping and determining the company’s culture – and their values, beliefs and vision will have trickle down effect on their staff. What many bosses do not realise is that their leadership has a major influence on the behaviour of their staff, and that inevitably will form the eventual culture of the company.


It may sound trivial, but one of the major complaints from employees during exit interviews is the lack of communication within the organisation. Communication bridges the gap between the company and its employees – hence it is extremely critical that the senior management of the organisation relays its vision, direction, plans and strategies to its staff on a regular basis.

Corporate social responsibility

Interestingly, the topic of corporate social responsibility has emerged as a significant factor for some people in recent years. A global study covering nearly 95,000 workers throughout the world recently confirmed that an employer's commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now crucial to attracting and retaining its workforce.

A socially responsible employer will not only benefit from a highly positive branding and corporate reputation, the goodwill it builds with its robust corporate governance and activities can also attract, keep and develop human capital, keeping operations and staff morale high.

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