Be the One: Becoming a Preferred Place to Work

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Start by Understanding Employees' Needs

The labor force is changing, and businesses everywhere will feel the effects within this decade. In fact, by 2010 a striking 40% of the current U.S. workforce will be eligible for retirement. What does this mean for your business? Now more than ever before, establishing your business as a preferred place to work is crucial to making sure it thrives.

With turnover and retention as top concerns for employers everywhere, it's important to engage your employees by focusing on their needs. A recent study by the Gallup Organization showed that 19% of employees are disengaged, meaning they do just enough work to get by without being fired. On the other hand, employees who are engaged perform 20% better than their disengaged counterparts, according to research by the Corporate Leadership Council. Add to that the fact that engaged employees are 87% less likely to quit than other workers and you can see why employee engagement is crucial to your business.

How can you make sure your workforce is loyal and actively engaged in their work? The answers may surprise you – it's not all about money in this case. In fact, 89% of managers believe that money is the main issue contributing to turnover. However, only 12% of employees say money is the reason they left a company. What does this mean for you? It's time to focus beyond simply providing your employees with a job and a paycheck.

MaslowStart by realizing that your employees are people with needs that go beyond the basics of food, shelter and security. Taking a look at Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs illustrates that physiological and security needs are a good place to start, but it doesn't end there. The next levels in the hierarchy are social, esteem and self-actualization needs.

The bottom two levels – physiological and safety needs – are where most employers focus. It's important to address these needs – people don't respond to their esteem needs being met if they're not receiving a paycheck or if they're uncertain about their job security. However, employers who go above and beyond the basics will find they have become the greener pasture to which workers will flock.

As the worker shortage continues, you will find that people are looking for more than just a job. They are looking for something fulfilling, and because of the decline in skilled workers, they will be in a position to settle for nothing less. Now is the time to start building up your company's reputation as a great place to work by fulfilling each level of your employee's needs. You can learn more about doing just that by checking out next month's edition of e-Xchange at

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