Article Date: 5/1/2012

What Do Employees Want?
staffing solutions

What Do Employees Want?

The answers will get the right people on board and keep them on the job.

Bob Levoy, O.D.

Can you guess the number one thing employees look for in a new job? Base pay? Health benefits? Advancement opportunities? These were important — but not number one. The feature cited most frequently was “job security,” according to a recent study of 9,218 employees by the consulting firm Towers Watson.

Ironically, when employers were asked what they thought employees most wanted from a new job, job security didn't even rank among the five most frequent responses. (See Table, below.)

It's hard to understand how employers completely missed job security when layoffs, unemployment, the high cost of living and home foreclosures all scream this answer.

The differences in the two lists are also surprising (with the exception of “base pay”). How can you create an environment that's conducive to job satisfaction and loyalty if you don't know what's important to people?

Quitting a job

What would you guess is the number one reason employees look for another job? Better pay? Promotion opportunity? Again, these were important but not number one. “Work-related stress” was the most frequently cited reason, according to the survey. Yet, employers ranked it fifth — again illustrating how out-of-touch employers can be.

Work-related stress is rampant in today's highly competitive, domore-with-less environment. If in addition, a doctor or manager is temperamental (or worse) humiliating in front of others, it compounds the stress. Big time.

Employers may overlook or underestimate the importance of job security and work-related stress because they've never given it much thought. Having a blind spot is one thing. Willfully turning a blind eye to what employees care about is another. It's denial. And many organizations, optometrists included, are in it — at their own peril.

What is the Number One Thing Employees Want in a New Job?
Employers List Employees List
1. Base pay Job security
2. Organization's mission, vision and values

Base pay

3. Organization's reputation as a great place to work Healthcare benefits
4. Career development opportunity Length of commute
5. Challenging work Vacation/paid time off

Source: Towers Watson, “The Global Workforce Study” 2010

Reality check: Stressed employees are a drag on a practice, yet they often go undetected because they go through the motions of doing their job and seldom complain to management. (Many however, complain to family and friends, which further adds to the fallout).
Action steps: The initial job interview, if properly conducted, should uncover a job applicant's job-related priorities. Ask: What did you like most about your last job? What did you like least? What are you looking for in this job that was missing from your last job? The answers will enable you to see what the applicant desires from the job.

“The Stay Interview,” which I discussed in my October 2011 column, can help correct those things that need tweaking before a valued employee decides to leave. Included are such questions as: What is one thing that would make your job more satisfying?

To achieve a high-performance practice, learn what employees want from their jobs… and then provide it. OM

DR. LEVOY IS THE AUTHOR OF SEVEN BOOKS, INCLUDING 201 SECRETS OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE (AVAILABLE AT WWW.AMAZON.COM) AND 222 SECRETS OF A HIRING, MANAGING AND RETAINING GREAT EMPLOYEES IN HEALTHCARE PRACTICES. E-MAIL BLEVOY@VERIIZON.NET, OR TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, E-MAIL OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.


Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: May 2012, page(s): 68