The average person spends around 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. I think it’s safe to say that it’s crucial for people to work at a place they enjoy. This also means that business owners not only need to navigate attracting top talent- but also retaining it. This starts with finding out what employees are really looking for in a job. Yes, money is an important aspect for most people when job searching, but ultimately people are looking for perks that go much deeper than monetary value.
I asked a few of my co-workers at In Time Tec what is important to them when looking for a job. Here is what they said.
Genuine connection in the workplace is more important than you may think. It requires a commitment to really listen to another person and to be authentic when sharing. Genuine connection makes people feel like they belong. And every employee should feel a sense of belonging at their workplace. If they don’t, a genuine connection is missing! One way that we focus on building genuine connection at In Time Tec is regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings between employees and managers. These meetings briefly focus on work but are more tailored to connecting and learning about what is going on in each other’s lives.
Some questions that are typically asked in one-on-one’s are:
I recently chatted with a co-worker who had gone out to lunch with our CEO, Jeet. And as many people who know Jeet know, he was genuinely interested in the employee’s life–how they were doing, what was going on in their life, and what they needed more of. The employee started digging into what wasn’t working for them in life. “What is missing in your life that would make a difference?” Jeet asked them. After thinking about it for a moment, they knew what it was: money. But the employee hadn’t asked for a raise before, and they weren't planning on doing so that day. After sitting in silence for a few seconds, they just said exactly that: “More money is what is missing for me, Jeet.”
The employee left that lunch with a raise.
Now, the fact that they got a raise isn’t what’s important about this story. It comes down to that employee feeling comfortable bringing up and discussing their personal life and what wasn’t working for them with the CEO, who was genuinely curious about the employee’s well-being.
The leaders of our company have an open-door policy at the office; we can go to them anytime and it doesn’t have to be about a work-related issue.
Respect goes a long way in every environment. In a workplace environment, it reduces problems and conflicts. It helps people be happier–which results in a better work culture–and it builds feelings of trust. After digging a little deeper amongst employees at In Time Tec, it stood out that above all, employees want to be respected by their leaders. Not only does it give them a sense of motivation in their work, but it also helps them appreciate their job. Respect is something I see all day, every day at In Time Tec. I see it in simple actions such as people holding the door open for one another or saying good morning, and I see it in higher-level actions like dropping everything to help a co-worker move during the weekend. This also shows up every day with work-related actions, like a senior developer taking time out of their day to help a junior engineer, not because they were asked to, but because they respect that person and know it will make a difference.
Personally, the marketing team experiences respect every day from Jeet. He respects us for our marketing experience and allows us to make important marketing-related decisions (even when they cost a lot of money). Many times we hear, “You say, I do. I work for you guys”. And it’s not easy to put into words what that amount of trust and respect feels like coming from the company's CEO. Likewise, we respect him for his CEO experience and how he has created this company.
Compassion and understanding
Recently, one of our employees became really present to just how important compassion and understanding is when she was losing her grandmother. The week that she found out her grandmother was put on hospice care, she spent a lot of time at her grandma’s house holding her hand, sitting next to her, and having their final conversations. She shared with me that the compassion and understanding she receives from the leadership team at In Time Tec gave her so much peace knowing she had space and grace to spend time with her grandma without worrying about losing her job. In fact, losing her job never once crossed her mind- and that is because of the compassion and understanding she has witnessed the leadership team give other employees who have gone through similar situations.
Personal development and continuous learning opportunities help employees to feel motivated, empowered, and confident. At In Time Tec, we focus on learning by enrolling every employee in a learning group. Whether it is a personal development learning group like Learn and Contribute or a technical learning group like Learn and Code, we are always encouraged to spend time focusing on becoming better. Here is what one of our employees has to say about her experience in her learning groups.
“I wasn’t sure what the purpose of a learning group was initially. I thought my time was better spent focusing on reaching business goals; that's all I had ever been used to. After spending a full year in Learn and Grow, I grew so much both personally and professionally. This has ultimately made me a better employee and empowered me to be the best version of myself. I can’t even explain how nice it is to work for a company that invests in me as a human being.”
If you invest in your employees, they will invest back in the company. Retaining top talent requires more than just offering the biggest salary. And ultimately, these are the types of incentives that really work- the kind that will keep your employees happy and feeling appreciated.
Bob Nelson says it best, “People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.”