4 of the Employee Needs You Probably Aren’t Meeting (and How to Fix It)

4 of the Employee Needs You Probably Aren’t Meeting (and How to Fix It)

Business leaders are concerned about employee productivity. Obviously, as an employer, it is important to first hire the best employees. However, hiring the best employees is only a starting point to fostering a productive workplace.

workerMany leaders focus so much on unlikely leadership skills that they fail to make the connection between understanding their employees’ needs and how they can meet those needs. When given the opportunity to increase employee loyalty by nearly 100 percent, drive employee engagement up almost 60 percent, and improve employee focus by 30 percent, most leaders would jump at the chance.

Studies have shown that there are similarities among employee needs, regardless of industry or position. Across thousands of employees, the four basic needs that all employees have are the same, and the results of meeting those needs are equally beneficial. Companies that find ways to meet these needs have greater long-term success. The bottom line? The way an employee feels while at work has a direct impact on their productivity and ability to be successful.

To be an effective leader, evaluate how well you’re meeting the four needs that all employees have. Finding ways to meet these basic needs can not only improve the workplace for your employees, it can create a domino effect of success that everyone can enjoy.

1. Physical

Employees need the chance to both renew and recharge while at work.

How to meet this need:

Employers are discovering that contrary to traditional work schedules, providing breaks after every 90 minutes of work results in a 30 percent increase in focus for employees. It also increases feelings of well-being, health and creative thinking. Conversely, employees who work extended hours without regular breaks are less engaged and feel increasingly frustrated.

To meet the physical needs of your employees, encourage them to take regular breaks and provide easy access to a location away from their desk to take a respite. Installing walking paths outdoors or offering a breakroom with comfortable seating can not only help employees physically, but also increase the likelihood they will remain with the company.

2. Emotional

conversationIn addition to their physical needs, employees need to know that they are valued and appreciated.

How to meet this need:

Supervisors who demonstrate concern and care for their support staff will find that their employees are 67 percent more engaged than those of other companies. Offering employees appreciation and recognition, whether through public or private means, can bolster their sense of being valued.

This recognition can be as simple as a note of thanks or a token of appreciation, or it can take the form of a significant reward for service. Demonstrating to employees that they matter is one of the most effective methods of instilling trust and a sense of security within a company.

3. Mental

When faced with the tasks they need to complete, employees should be given the opportunity to focus on their jobs, while making determinations about how to best complete assigned tasks.

How to meet this need:

Give employees an environment where they can focus on their job while having some agency to prioritize their tasks. Eliminate unnecessary stress and free them from impossible deadlines and paralyzing workloads. As much as is reasonable, allowing employees to handle their workloads on their own terms empowers them to put in their best efforts.

4. Spiritual

Employees who have the opportunity to do more of what they do best, and who see connections to a higher purpose in their work, report higher job satisfaction and engagement.

How to meet this need:

Offer employees ways to find both significance and meaning in their work. This can be done by outlining the ways that they are part of a larger mission or how the work they do impacts others within the organization. Another method of meeting employees’ spiritual needs is to give them opportunity to engage in meaningful projects as part of their work. Additionally, through employer-sponsored community efforts, charitable work or matching funds to worthy organizations, employers can allow employees the chance to have an impact on the world around them.

Leaders who can offer their employees solutions to each of these four needs may find that not only are their employees more engaged, they are more satisfied and report lower levels of stress. Meet even some of their core needs and work satisfaction should improve dramatically. Meet all of their needs and employees are given an advantage that leads to positive results for both employee and employer.

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