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What do workers value at work?

Release Date

05 December 2012

You want to keep morale high and funds economically scaled, but times are tough.....so how do we support the organisation to identify and deliver on what workers value?

In these uncertain times and current economies the challenge is for managers and business owners to deliver results on even smaller budgets.  Some companies  are handing out redundancies and downsizing,  competitors are closing in and some of us are even wondering which perk might end next, as part of "the way we do it around here".

In the late 90's, the new millennium and the GFC we learned about  and delivered  on strategies including; retention, development, attraction, compliance and separation.  However, some of us learnt though, these didn't always result in greater employee productivity or even higher performance levels.  Moreso they seemed at times to erode the bottom line and dis-engaged workers who exited the organisation for one reason or another.

As a result of the the latter what we learnt was, we didn't need to throw an array of money and rewards to get our workers to stay or even worker harder, with less. What became apparent was most workers wanted to stay in their jobs because they liked their manager, they had the same values as the organisation and believed in the good of what the organisation was trying to do for and in the community.  In other words, workers were more interested in the  companies values, behaviours and mission than they were about what financial rewards could be forthcoming if they met their key performance indicators or targets.

Today, with the continual pace of change where work is delivered in and outside virtual office locations, workers it would seem still value good old fashioned manners, behaviours  and respect.  In my travels workers have even told me what they value most is just a simple 'thank you'.   Now wouldn't that be respectful.   So, if its not happening enough, it begs the question, "how do we do it better, so workers know we value them" especially if this is what they value?

All of this leads me to a place called the 'organisational mission'.  If the organisation has an espoused mission and it aligns with the internal values and behaviours then workers will be more likely to align themselves with it, than not.  How this is all wrapped up into a 'cultural program' will be the responsibility of the organisation and the workers alike.  Examples include; written in position descriptions, including them as a part of employee inductions, as elements of learning and development and performance management appraisals, in codes of conduct and even in work health safety policy and procedure.  Moreover, the organisations mission, values and behaviours support the creation of cultural development and change, right across the organisational space.

As managers and business owners it is our responsibility to ensure we engage our workers.  If we incorporate our organisations mission, values and behaviours with everything we do, even in these uncertain times, then we may be well on the way to ensuring our workers know they are being valued.  Then possibly, all we have to say more often is,  thank you!

For further information contact Larry Forsyth, Senior Manager WHS & HR Consulting Services on 1800 505 529.
 

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