With Christmas quickly approaching, Santa’s elves are busy tending to the wishlists of every boy and girl. As I am no longer in my days of youth, my list is no longer filled with Barbie dolls, kittens, or light up sneakers, I'm ask for light fixtures and Home Depot gift cards.
As a career coach, this concept of the wish list got me thinking. I encourage our students and alumni to describe their ideal occupation and company, but never have I asked anyone to create an occupational wishlist. What would you ask for if you knew your boss could deliver it to us like a neatly wrapped Christmas package?
Competitive salary, vacation and great benefits are the standard for any hiring package, but what else is important? I encourage each of you to review the list below from Smart Manager during this holiday season. As you enjoy time with family and friends, listen to the latest from Aunt Sally about her book publishing deal, or your cousin Danny’s promotion, ask yourself, are you getting everything you want from your ‘office Santa?’
- Purpose. Employees want to be given the opportunity to “make a difference” at work.
- Goals and objectives. Workers want management to clearly state goals and make them attainable and easily measurable.
- Responsibility. Employees want management to trust them to do their job well, injecting high quality into every task.
- Autonomy. Workers want the freedom to work “their way”, which may differ from their peers’ approach to their specific job descriptions.
- Job flexibility. Employees want input in deciding when they work, where they work, and the ability to construct a schedule that helps them perform well.
- Recognition and attention. People often equate communication with respect, attention, and recognition. Employees want management to offer consistent feedback to help them understand and improve their performance level.
- Freedom to innovate. Even those with the most “modest” job descriptions and authority often have innovative ideas worth considering. While Google is famous for offering staff a 20 percent creative time policy at the workplace, other companies should consider fostering innovation from employees—they want it.
- Open-minded management. Workers want management to be honest with them and, at least, listen to their ideas. Employees usually understand that adopting their ideas is a management decision, but honestly listening to creative thoughts is important to most workers.
- Clear understanding of employer objectives. A long-term employee desire always centers on employer goals and objectives. They want to be clear about company objectives and the specific results the employer expects.
- Fair compensation. The best employers understand the value of “removing” compensation dollars from the list of employee dissatisfaction. Offering fair compensation, decent benefits, the opportunity to earn rewards and bonuses, timely performance reviews and merit increases create satisfied employees and effectively takes negative salary issues “off the table.”
The holidays provide great opportunity for self-reflection and time for goal setting. Perhaps a promotion or more responsibility at work will be the ticket to increasing your personal satisfaction as well as adding a new talking point to next year’s family get together.