Five Programs Employees Really Want

146924435By all other accounts, you may believe your organization is on top of things. Perhaps you’ve been able to retain your workers for years. Maybe your staff is usually in good spirits or stay on top of their task lists. However, while things look good on the outside, problems could be brewing under the surface — and you may have no idea.

Let’s look at the numbers: There are approximately 100 million Americans who currently hold full-time jobs. Of that number, only 30 percent are engaged and inspired at work. While this may not seem like a huge issue, employee disengagement costs the U.S. $450 million every year. That’s right, million. In the long-run, this can damage your business, your brand, and yes, even cost you those star employees.

Engaged employees work better and have more creative ideas. However, it’s not just about giving them the right sorts of feedback or handing them tasks you know they’re good at. It’s about preserving their well-being and feeding their minds with resources that can help them to be better professionals.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Why employees quit and how to keep them

While increased pay or title changes may work for employees now, many are looking for more from their employer in order to achieve true engagement. Let’s look at some programs employees really want:

Wellness programs. Employee wellness programs are more than just offering health insurance. According to the New York Times, the programs have become increasingly popular as companies aim to lower their medical costs and lift productivity by promoting healthier behavior among workers. However, only about half of small businesses currently offer them.

Why you need it: Employees who understand their health are happier, more alert, and in-tune with their needs. This can translate into better work performance, as well as heightened engagement with work.

Workforce transition services. If you’re going through a merger or acquisition, your employees may fear for their jobs. This can lower performance and hinder engagement since they aren’t sure about job security. Workforce transition services, such as outplacement programs, can be a way to ease these fears.

Why you need it: If you have to let an employee go, workforce transition services are like a cushion to the blow: Should their positions be in danger, employees have the understanding that they can use services like outplacement programs to research opportunities and alumni, while they search, store, and manage new positions.

Professional development. Your employees need feedback. In fact, they thrive on it, even if it’s bad: Studies show that employees who are told their weaknesses are 20 times more likely to be engaged from this approach when compared to those receiving radio silence from their leaders. While you may believe it’s the job of your employee to learn how to be better, professional development starts with you.

Why you need it: Although you may think you’re doing enough to cultivate your team, research indicates that employees want more from you. Workers need to grow and foster in their roles and beyond. If they don’t, they will find more-equipped organizations that can provide professional development, both formal or informal.

Continuing education opportunities. There’s no benefit in staying stagnant. It hinders growth potential, stops innovation, and can be the nail in your company’s coffin. When employees perform the same tasks with no knowledge of how to do it better, you risk falling behind in your industry, which may result in lost business and poor company image.

Why you need it: After your employees graduate from college, it becomes harder and harder to receive continuing educational opportunities. Offering these opportunities, such as tuition reimbursement or annual training stipends, keeps them at the forefront of your space and helps them to stay fresh in the ways which reflect industry changes.

Flexible work options. There’s a fine line between work and play. Though it’s not your job to separate the two, it is your job to understand the needs of your employees. If a worker’s performance is suffering, is it really because they’re inadequate or is it because they’re overworked, don’t have enough time to see their family, or are burnt out? Flexible work options can be a way to create a work-life balance that appeals to everyone.

Why you need it: Studies show that nearly half of workers would trade a percentage of their salary for more flexible work options. In addition, employees believe that being able to work outside the office would make them more productive. Flexible work options, such as half-days or remote options, not only have the potential to boost engagement, they may also be able to create happier and more innovative employees.

Don’t let your organization fall behind! Implement these programs in order to foster a more engaged workforce.

What do you think? What are some other programs employees really want?

MORE: What’s it take to be a Best to Work For?

Val Matta

Val Matta
Val Matta is vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with her and CareerShift on LinkedIn.

Val Matta

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One Response to “Five Programs Employees Really Want”

  1. rmacklyn says:

    All are a must requirement for any working professional. The most efficient and effective way for any employee to get ahead with the segment is the proper usage of time and managing the same. One of the best way of managing the time and getting ahead with the segment is the proper usage of time management tool. I preferably use the cloud based hours tracking software from Replicon ( ) which is hassle free and is featured with the user friendly and calendar based interface that makes it an intuitive tool to work with.

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