Creating a Great Employee Experience
Posted by Dr. Jack Wiley on Thu, May 02, 2024 @ 12:00 PM


I devoted last year’s Talent Tips columns to the employee-centric manager and the benefits that accrue to employees and the broader organization when managers understand and deliver what employees most want from them.

This year’s focus broadens to explore what employees most want from their employer—the organization for which they work. In 1985, I began a research program aimed at identifying the organizational attributes most important to employees. This research continues to this day and is based on a simple question: “As an employee, what is the most important thing you want from the organization for which you work?”


Over time, that question has been posed to more than 200,000 employees in 27 countries worldwide. A mix of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods derived a taxonomy revealing what employees most want. According to employees, these seven attributes define a great work experience:

1. Recognition. Employees want to be recognized, appreciated, valued, and praised by individuals at all levels of their organization. They want to be evaluated based on the merits of their performance. They also want to be treated like human beings— with dignity and respect. Recognition emerged as one of the most frequently stated employee values.

2. Exciting Work. Employees want a job that is interesting, challenging, and diverse so they can feel accomplished, fulfilled, and satisfied through the work they do. Employees want jobs that give them a sense of meaning, responsibility, and autonomy. And perhaps most telling, they want their organization to care enough about how they feel to provide them with this kind of job.

3. Security. Though more salient during times of economic hardship, the desire for job security is always present. Employees want to be reassured that they are safe from threats of downsizing and that the organization’s future and their role in it are secure. Worrying about losing a job is an unwelcome distraction for employees and organizational leaders.

4. Pay. Though pay is not the only reason people work, it is undeniably an important employee value. This includes base salary, bonuses, and benefits. More accurately, employees want to be compensated fairly for their time and effort.

5. Education and Career Growth. Not only do employees want skills training, but they also desire professional and personal development from their organization. And they want their employer to provide them with opportunities for advancement, such as challenging job assignments and promotions.

6. Conditions. Employees want to work in an efficient and pleasant environment, one that is physically, technologically, and socially satisfying. They cannot do their jobs effectively with broken equipment, in unsafe conditions, or in an environment fraught with office politics. Less work stress, better work-life balance, and support for inclusion and diversity also are desired.

7. Truth. Good or bad, many employees want to know the truth—about the organization’s future and their job performance. Employees crave honest and transparent communication from leadership. They want leaders to share the goals and direction of the organization, as well as outline clearly defined roles and responsibilities. 


The first letters of these seven attributes string together to create an acronym: RESPECT, a summary of how employees define a great work experience. Future articles will not only shine a light on how organizations can provide employees with what they really want, but explain the positive employee, customer, and financial outcomes when they do so.

This article originally appeared in Training Magazine!

Topics: Employee Experience

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