Currently, the unemployment rate in Nebraska is 2.8%. We are assuredly operating in an “employees’ market” when it comes to job-seeking and job acquisition. In a job market such as this, one would be reasonable to assume that job-seekers do not have to be as qualified. After all, some employers may be desperate to hire.

The current employment climate may cause employers to reflect upon how to best retain quality employees. The simplest answer to retaining workers, of course, is to increase wages and benefits. Though simple pay raises are only effective as a short-term solution, to influence a quality employee to stay for years takes more than money.

I know I’m not breaking any new ground with these thoughts. Any adult who views their occupation as a ‘career’ instead of a ‘job’ understands that money matters, but it doesn’t guarantee happiness at work. It takes more than money to retain a good employee for the long haul. Also, very few people are ever satisfied with their compensation.

So if people are rarely satisfied with their pay, and compensation does not ensure long-term loyalty, how can employers survive in this current situation? According to a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, the most powerful measure of employee satisfaction is being treated with respect. The third most important aspect (right behind salary) was trust between employees and management. In short: 1. Respect 2. Money 3. Trust.

Respect and trust. Basically, those are two of the most important things kids in kindergarten want, as well. How does a five-year-old react when a friend takes one of their toys without asking? Have you ever witnessed a meltdown from a child who was told they would get chocolate milk but was served plain milk instead? Kindergarteners want only a few things in life.  ‘Be nice’ and ‘don’t lie’ are two of them. Adults like those two rules, too.

My brain got on this subject for a couple reasons. First of all, I have observed how difficult it has been for small businesses to hire good people lately. (I’ve heard small business owners and managers say things like “I just need somebody who will show up every day” and “I don’t drug test anymore”.) Secondly, I’ve been reflecting on the leadership programs we facilitate at The Leadership Center. I like what we’ve done. Without setting out to do so, we have focused on the things people care about. We always say our curriculum is centered on things like community, gratitude, service, and kindness.

Though I knew we were spending our time intelligently, I never considered how pertinent our message is to career readiness and satisfaction.

Check out our programs.

Thanks for your time and have a great day.

Kurt Wissenburg

Conference & Curriculum Manager

  

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