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5 things your employees are really thinking

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Even though you may have established yourself as an empathetic boss or HR director, chances are your staff are never telling you everything you need to know.

It’s a problem, because 64% of employees in Singapore say they want to switch jobs this year. They’re not happy, nor as motivated as they could be, so why don’t they just say something to you?

Well, think back to before you were a manager – did you ever tell your boss what you really thought? Exactly.

Let us help you decipher the silence with five things your employees are probably thinking about you.

1. You’re not recognising my talent

According to the Randstad World of Work Report, 23% of Singaporeans feel unmotivated because their managers aren’t putting their skills to the right use. This could be because you’re too hands off as a boss, or because you simply need someone to fill a gap in the workforce for now – even if it’s not their desired place.

What can I do? Listen to your staff. Get to know them. Take a larger interest in their goals and desired achievements and figure out the best fit for them from there.

2. You’re underpaying me

It can often seem like you will never please your staff. Some surveys say money doesn’t matter, and others say employees feel undervalued. The Randstad report found even though 59% of local talent enjoyed a pay rise last year, 67% expect even more of an increase this year.

But have a think – is what they are being paid now fair compared to when you hired them with a certain level of skills and market demands?

What can I do? Your research. Could that employee go somewhere else and pull in a bigger wage straight away? If the answer to this is always yes, then you might be underpaying.

3. You’re ignoring that incompetent employee

One of the biggest reasons for employee discontent is working with annoying, underproductive and generally useless co-workers. It has a hugely negative impact on morale and it’s even more frustrating when the boss can’t see how incompetent a particular employee might be.

What can I do? Create a united team, if you can. But if that person really isn’t pulling their weight and everyone else is picking up their slack, feel free to send them packing.

4. You keep asking me to do more, but I don’t get anything out of it

In the Randstad report, employees said their biggest performance motivators were to feel valued and to have a better understanding of how their contribution is affecting the company’s goals. You might have a good worker bee who doesn’t want to let you down, but eventually they’re going to get sick of working harder and harder for minimal return – especially if they can’t see how they’re helping in the long-term.

What can I do? You need to do more to motivate your top talent, but they need to see the value in what you’re asking of them. Make sure there’s a clear vision for them between what they’re doing and how it’s impacting the business.

5. You’re not giving me any flexibility

Your staff really want work life balance. In 2012, 15% of Singaporeans ranked work life balance as a reason to stay. In 2013, this number shot up to 50%.

What can I do? In all honesty, if you don’t offer any flexibility whatsoever, you’re getting left behind as the rest of the world moved forward. Limber up and see where you might be able to cut people some slack. Chances are it will result in much happier staff.

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Rebecca Lewis
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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