What do people want from a job?

What do people want from a job?

  • November 04, 2016

Job satisfaction can be an enigma, and finding the perfect job is a dream for many. Employers also need to understand what they need to do to keep their employees happy, engaged, and productive.

To find out what really motivates people at work and what drives job satisfaction, we asked 60 people from our exclusive online panel, Caféstudy, to tell us about their ideal job and what they look for in an employer.

The first thing that became clear was that while a big salary is nice to have, it's far from the most motivating factor. Instead the key to a satisfying job (and happy employees) is a combination of an empowering employer, and a meaningful role.

Trusted and valued

One of the most important things that people look for is an employer who trusts them and values them. Being treated as an important contributor to the business encourages employees to do their jobs better - and therefore provide a better service to customers.

"A good employer to look for is someone who makes employees first, then customers. Engaged employees brings happy customers."

"What I look for in an employer would mostly consist if they are good to their workers and also if they are interesting and have a good mindset for the future of the company."

"In an employer I look for a company that actually follows the eeo not just does lip service, one that follows through on their promises and has leadership that knows how to lead, one that understands that when I say my children come first I mean it."

Following on from this, one of the most obvious ways a company can demonstrate to its staff that it trusts and respects them is to give them the flexibility to manage their lives and families outside work. To have a dedicated and loyal staff means understanding that a job is not the most important thing in most people's lives, and at times their families and other commitments need to take priority.

"I found my perfect job when my children were at school. Only working during school hours and having holidays off, my employers were very understanding if I needed time off due to children's activities at other schools."

"A good job for me, or as i like to call it my "ideal" job, would be school hours, close to home and a fairly decent wage. When I get a new job I give it my all and I expect the company I'm working for to be the same."

"It makes an employer go from average to great if they can understand the pressure everyday life puts on families."

A sense of purpose

It's not enough for an employer to just value their employees and provide them with flexible working conditions. The role itself needs to be fulfilling.

There are two components of this, and the best jobs will have both. The first is that the job needs to challenging and stimulating. This means different things to different people - for some it might be solving problems or constantly learning, while for others it might be the opportunity to travel, or even simply keeping busy and active.

"I really have little interest in money. A challenge - to solve what everyone else defines as impossible - is far more important."

"I used to be a sales rep travelling all over the state. Was a great and satisfying job meeting people and enjoying their hospitality and at the same time I was earning a living."

"I am always busy and it is interesting. There are a lot of good people that I work with and I enjoy my job."

"A perfect job is one where I can learn more, add to how things are done and get recognised by my peers for my contributions."

Perhaps most important though is the sense that the job they are doing has a purpose, and they are making a worthwhile contribution to the world. It doesn't have to be huge - it just has to make them feel like they are making a difference.

"I've thrown myself into voluntarily working nightly with my friends among the street folk and homeless in the suburbs surrounding my home. While I loved my previous occupation, I love this current job far more, even though often it costs me money, instead of me earning it."

"I look for an engaging role that gives me a chance to make a big difference in all the customers that they touch."

"I love love LOVE my job! Although I deal with traumatic content all day, I get to see real positive social change happening & know that I'm contributing to that."

For companies looking to keep their workforce engaged and productive, it is important to remember that it is a two-way transaction. To get the most from its people, employers need to offer a workplace that supports the needs of these people.

Edentify offers a suite of research solutions to measure employee engagement, job satisfaction, and company culture. These range from customised surveys to online qualitative forums that provide an anonymous place for rich employee discussions and feedback.