ORG Blog

What Your Employees Really, Really Want


Grade-school students may get excited about a pizza party reward, but grown-up organizations can do better for their employees. Isn’t it time to get a little more creative? And we don’t mean just upping the ante by providing booze.

Simple rewards may be fun, and they have their place. But they’re not fulfilling, don’t foster commitment, and shouldn’t be confused with true engagement efforts.

(SPOILER ALERT: Studies show that offering things like fairness, dignity, and involvement go much further in building employee satisfaction.)

Admittedly, people like parties—sometimes. The trouble is, they become meaningless if that’s all you have to offer. You can’t simply throw a T-shirt at someone (yes, even if you shoot it out of a T-shirt cannon) and expect that to buy long-term loyalty. Instead of creating a party culture, wouldn’t you rather develop a culture of productivity?

Building true employee satisfaction is possible. It takes intentionality and hard work, but your employees will thank you with their engagement.

Here are the real issues that employees want you to address:

  • Organizational Justice & Fairness
  • Pay Systems & Tangible Rewards
  • Involvement & Opportunity

People are often looking for practical ways to be told they’re valuable. But you won’t see this if you don't learn how to find the root causes of dissatisfaction. And even if you take the time to understand what your employees really think, feel, and need, you might not know what to do next. This is where many leaders throw up their hands and default to the quick fix (happy hour, anyone?).

Bottom line: It’s going to take work to change any foundational pieces of your organization that don’t support employee engagement. But it will be well worth the effort.

So, where do you start?

  • Listen to your employees—then actually make changes based on what you learn, in a positive, constructive, and sustainable way.

  • Employ proven techniques and diligence to fuel powerful engagement methods—did you know there’s scientifically backed data available to help you engage employees?

  • Watch out for the pitfalls of engagement surveys—learning what not to do can be as important as knowing what to do. (link to open letter)

To sum things up, if you love ordering team T-shirts, do so sparingly with good reason—and please, don’t expect it to fix any problems. (Unless of course, your T-shirt reads: My boss read a bogus article on engagement and all I got was this stupid T-shirt.)

Instead, be bold. Think practically. Show you really care. Learn what motivates your employees to become the highly-engaged and fully-functioning team that you dream of (in a hands-on way that goes beyond engagement surveys). Always listen carefully, and strive to identify and implement the changes that will make the greatest impact. 

Want help figuring out how to engage your employees? 
We’ve got the science. We’ve got the passion. And we’ve got the experience to tie it all together. (We won’t plan your next pizza party, but we WILL show you how to create a sustainable employee engagement plan.)


Still hungry for info? Check out these transformational insights.

When the way you’re working isn’t working, ORG can help. By fostering collaboration, boosting engagement, aligning goals, and implementing sustainable change, we can increase performance by two to three times your current goal—or more. Ready to work together?