What do employees want?

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The “great resignation” is one of today’s most popular news topics. It’s an employee’s market as companies have difficulty keeping and attracting talent. Folks across the spectrum of careers give varied reasons for leaving, from seeking better benefits and pay to launching a small business they’ve always dreamed about. However, instead of blaming employees, organizations should figure out how much they are contributing to make employees leave.

I ran across an article about Elon Musk that demonstrated one of the things missing in many organizations. Love him or hate him, he’s one of the most successful people on earth. He constantly shows appreciation to his employees and teams for a job well done through email or even Twitter. I’m sure he expects a lot, but he also appreciates his teams’ efforts. I wonder if some managers think they will seem weak if they praise employees instead of constantly complaining.

Most of us have worked for organizations that expect long hours and dedication through big projects, mergers, acquisitions, migrations, and more. I remember working at places that required me to work on my regular DBA tasks early in the morning and after work, to the late hours of the night because project meetings and related tasks took up the typical day. Once during a merger, we brought two or three locations onto our systems every weekend, which meant spending Saturdays and Sundays at the office for months. (And my team leader frequently told us not to expect any comp time!) Yes, we worked hard and sacrificed family time, but management never let us know they appreciated our efforts.

What do employees want? They want to be compensated well with pay, bonuses, and benefits like healthcare and the possibility of remote work. These are great, but employees will lose heart if the organization’s culture is toxic and competitive instead of collaborative, demanding instead of encouraging, or dismissive instead of caring. Employees want chances to grow professionally and be excited about their work, and, yes, they want to know that their efforts have made a difference!

After reading the article about Elon Musk, I realized that I work for a company with a fantastic culture, and it’s positive from the CEO down. Our Slack channels are filled with notes of appreciation and encouragement, and we celebrate milestones and victories often. No organization is immune to the great resignation. Still, because Redgate values employees and fosters growth, the reasons are more likely to involve fulfilling a bucket list item than feeling unappreciated.

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Kathi Kellenberger

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Kathi Kellenberger is a Customer Success Engineer at Redgate and a former Microsoft Data Platform MVP. She has worked with SQL Server for over 20 years and has authored, co-authored, or tech edited more than 20 technical books. Kathi is a volunteer at LaunchCode, the St. Louis based organization providing free training and paid apprenticeships in technology. When Kathi isn’t working she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cycling, singing, and climbing the stairs of tall buildings. Be sure to check out her courses on Pluralsight.

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