The key to talent retention and engagement is creating an organizational culture that’s attentive to employee needs. Given today’s challenging and changing talent landscape, a thorough understanding of how to achieve shared success between individual and organizational needs is essential. Organizations willing to look inward and adapt to the ever-changing state of the workplace will better retain and grow their essential talent. Today, it’s especially important to consider how the pandemic has shifted what matters most to employees.
Individual Needs Drive Motivation, Commitment and Growth
The positive impact of meeting employee needs can show up in several ways. First, needs drive business growth because they enable organizations to improve their overall performance due to the quality of talent they have in the organization. When an organization has employees who are more engaged and committed, they achieve more. Meeting individual needs also allows organizations to build the culture they desire and improve the overall employee experience. When an organization understands the needs of their employees, they can inspire stronger outcomes and energize their workforce with a more equitable and inclusive experience.
Defining Employee Needs
So, what employee needs should you consider? At WinningWise, our flagship Employee NeedsTM framework includes eight researched and validated needs that drive commitment and motivation in the workplace. Those eight needs are organized into four main buckets:
1) Work – what you do and how you do it
2) Relationships – the people you work with
3) Future Value – what you’ll get in the future for your contributions and effort
4) Current Value – what you get today for your contributions and effort
Each bucket is made up of two individual needs:
• Mastery – being good at what you do and valued for your credibility
• Meaningful Work – doing work that makes a difference and contributes to a cause or social impact
• Autonomy – feeling independent and empowered to direct your own work
• Connection – feeling like you belong and have positive relationships at work
• Personal Growth – continuously learning and maximizing your potential
• Career Achievement – having direction and feeling confident that you’re progressing
• Rewards and Recognition – feeling appreciated and fairly compensated for your contribution
• Lifestyle – having work/life balance that’s sustainable and satisfying
How Needs Have Shifted Since the Pandemic
At WinningWise, we recently updated our research on employee needs to understand how the pandemic shifted what employees value the most and hosted a webinar to share the results. We conducted a survey at the start of 2023 asking participants to share their most important needs at work. We found that the current, most important needs are Mastery, Personal Growth and Lifestyle.
We previously conducted this survey in 2019, and the most important needs then were Connection, Meaningful Work and Autonomy. People had a strong external focus on others. They wanted to feel connected to others, do work that was of value to others, and feel empowered by others through autonomy. This suggests that post-pandemic, we’ve seen a shift from an external focus to a more internal focus. Most employees today put an emphasis on how they can personally achieve. They want to feel like they can master their craft and personally grow at your organization, while having the work/life balance they desire. The key takeaway: Right now, it’s more important than ever to invest in growing and developing your people.
In the next few years, as more organizations return to the office, even greater shifts in employee’s needs can happen. Therefore, it’s vital for organizations to continue to assess and adapt in order to engage and retain their talent.
So, how will you use this information to assess individual needs in your organization?