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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Four Simple Ways to Make Your Employees Happier

HarvardBusiness.org

Anthony Tjan

11:23 AM Tuesday July 21, 2009

There is a very simple secret to long-term employee loyalty and retention and it is not money, perks, or stock options. It's giving them meaningful roles.

This is not an idealistic motherhood-and-apple pie dream, but rather a basic condition of human behavior and psychology that many businesses and leaders often forget: people are driven as much or more by intrinsic meaning as they are by extrinsic rewards.

…It comes down to balancing the intrinsic with the extrinsic rewards. The former is the heart and soul of an organization and a person's reason for working there. The latter is the practical mind and wallet. Here are four design points towards unlocking the secret of long-term employee loyalty:

  1. Help her create a meaningful role. Ask in an interview what she would be doing if she had all the money she needed; explain and remind the employee why her role is critical and how it fits into the bigger picture. This is the foundation and most critical component of long-term retention.
  2. Give feedback. Do so regularly, with both honesty and thoughtfulness.
  3. Offer professional development. Keep her larger career path in mind; ask what she wants most to learn. People want to know where they are heading and that you care in helping them get there.
  4. Say thank you. This means both intrinsic and extrinsic recognition — that is, reaffirm your appreciation for their role (a simple hand-written note or verbal thanks from time to time goes a long way) and pay them fairly.

Making people happy at their jobs is not as hard as it seems.

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