What People Really Want From Work

By Sam Makhoul

Last year, I  gave a talk at the Workplace Wellness Summit where I stunned the crowd of senior execs and wellness consultants, with the statement that “wellness programs in the workplace do more harm than good”. They ostracise some, distract others and most see it as a cynical attempt by their boss to keep them longer at work.

Ultimately work is for performance, growth, fulfilment, challenge and PROFIT. We should not be afraid to call it like it is.

Business is about PROFIT. And businesses start wellness programs because they have been sold the idea that this will somehow boost productivity and profit. Nothing is further from the truth.

I have employed over 5000 people in my 28 years in business and I have learned that people ultimately want TWO MAIN THINGS from work. And if you give them these two things, you will make their PERSONAL life a lot better and yes they will perform much better at work.

Before I tell you what these two things are, I want to also list what people EXPECT from their job:
  1. Meaning they want to feel like they are making a contribution
  2. Growth – they want to be challenged to learn new skills
  3. Belonging – they want to be aligned with a culture that is not toxic
  4. Security – they want to know that loyalty will be reciprocated

Now To The First Thing That People Really Want:

$$$ MORE MONEY $$$

Business leaders think I am raving mad when I tell them that paying their staff more money makes them ‘well’ and productive at work. But it’s the solid truth.

It’s one of two factors that make for the best wellness program on the planet. Okay, I get it, if you pay people higher salaries you are going to go broke.

HR cost is the biggest item on your expenses column. And yes you will go broke if you pay ridiculously higher salaries, especially to under-performing people. BUT…

Why Is Paying People More Money, Good For Their Well-being?

Simply because financial hardship is the biggest stress on households and relationships. The biggest cause of arguments and emotional turmoil comes from financial problems. Eliminate this stress and you boost happiness and productivity for the next day at work.

Can’t Afford To Pay People More?

You need to look at your business model and your margins. Are you not charging enough? Or are you spending too much on your supplies? Or are you not investing in automation?

Ultimately this last question is where the game of business is won and lost in the 21st century. If you are operationally efficient, you will improve your margins and take the pressure off you and your staff.

There are many businesses who have to work their staff long hours to stay competitive simply because they have too many inefficiencies. And they are too scared to invest in automation because of the short term cost and the ROI takes time.

You need to be patient. Good business is a long game. Bad business is short-sighted. And working your people long hours is downright wrong!

Watch My Talk On Is Wellness More Important Than Intelligence:

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