One Reason Your Employees Expect More and What to Do About It

"There is a hunger for higher purpose as our life expectancy increases."

– Raj Sisodia, author, academic, conscious capitalist

The statistics vary based on the source, but basically we live in a time when the average world human life expectancy doubled in just the last 100-120 years.  Before that, life expectancy was capped at about 20-30 years, for centuries.

In the world of work, now that humans live longer, we expect more than simply the ability to put food on the table, pay the bills or earn a pension.  It’s as simple as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or any other model of human development.  The more we develop, the more we seek to meet higher level needs.

As an employer or a manager, you may be overdue for a checkup regarding human needs.  Check your work culture, your assumptions about leading people and your management style to make sure you are supportive of how employee needs are evolving simply because human beings are living longer.  In fact, addressing this can create an exciting competitive advantage —by addressing higher level needs you can ultimately boost engagement, performance and retention.

What’s the situation?

Too many employees are not getting their needs met.  According to the latest Gallup report on the American workplace, 70% of U.S. workers are either not engaged in their work or are actively disengaged.  Gallup’s study indicates managers are responsible.

Thirty percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work.

Are you contributing to the 70% or the 30%?

As a leader, make sure you are creating an environment that allows organization members to be more engaged, and presumably get higher level needs met.  I’m talking about needs like appreciation, belonging, and the need to attach a higher purpose to their contribution.

How do you address this in the workplace?  Here's what employees need from you.  They need to:

  • Know what is expected of them
  • Have the tools to do the job right
  • Have the opportunity to do their best every day
  • Believe their opinions matter and
  • Have opportunities to learn and grow

In this age when humans are living longer and expecting more, what are you doing to support your employees’ higher level needs?

(Bulleted list from Gallup’s “Q12.”  You can find extensive information on this here.)

Image: Contributor “jaroon” at iStockphoto

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