Survey – What would Make Your Job Better?

I’ve had the survey question – “What Would Make Your Job Better” – on the site for a few weeks. I found the responses very interesting:
-Cooler Projects – 32.2%
-More Money – 32.2%
-Better Co-Workers – 23.3%
-Better Benefits – 12.3%

I think it is great that the #1 answer (tied) is – “Cooler Projects.” I think this is the most simple need employees have that is often left out of the HR talent literature. People want to work on something meaningful – something that would impress a friend on a cocktail circuit. I had a friend that worked for NASA and loved his job which is shown with his simple answer – “I helped make a piece of the shuttle going to Mars in 2012.” Sounds cool.

Additionally, someone’s “cool” project is someone else’s lame project. That is why I really like the idea of job switching or program switching when possible. It is very low cost and a win-win. It’s like when my brother-in-law signed up for residency, put your top 3 choices and then they will find you a match. I also like the point system – give each person 100 points in a year and they can bid to work on projects. Or the Google 20% time where people can work on a “cool” project on their own 20% of the week. Finally, a simple solution can be a job board like TSA where screeners can state places they want to move and switch jobs. Imagine a TSA screener from Iowa who’d love to live in NYC and work at La Guardia for a year. S/he can swap with a 35-year old TSA screener who’d like to move to Iowa and have a more affordable life.

#1 (Tied) – Money Talks. For a large portion of the group, money is the most important thing. It’s America and it’s expensive – mortgages, cars, loans, health care, etc – it adds up. Plus, I would argue that if people can’t work on cool projects, they better be paid a lot. I mean who would really want to be in finance working on mortgage-backed securities unless it was really paying (and it’s not right now).

#3 – Co-Workers and Benefits
. I actually thought co-workers would be a little higher on the list. A number of studies have shown that the #1 factor for retainment is if that person has a “best friend” at work. I would agree with that factor but also state that in large bureaucracies such as gov’t you can usually find at least a couple cool people.

#4- And last is benefits. As the gov’t uses benefits to bring people into their workforce, this survey shows people aren’t in it for the benefits. Give them cooler projects and/or more money.

This week – new question. Who is your favorite public servant? This is a follow-up to the profile question that is asked when you join GovLoop and uses some of the top choices.

And yes I changed the wording to “Who is your favorite public servant” from “Who is your favorite bureaucrat?” due to the strong complaining. I still like the word bureaucrat and it’s value (see here) but sometimes you have to listen to popular opinion.

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I would agree that cool projects should be #1. For me that’s what drives me when I go to work every morning. I love the projects I have worked at the Coast Guard as an Acquisition Professional and I love telling people what I do and I also believe that the Coast Guard has some of the coolest projects around!!

James V. Pritchert

I believe that hope makes a job better. Hope for the future, hope for promotion, hope for recognition, hope for a good working environment. I have left jobs when all hope is gone and I would always do so. Right now my job is so great that I fear I will not know when its time to go.

Adriel Hampton

Hope is key. I’ve been in some pretty dire situations in newspapers, and hope always kept me going. Luckily, I got out before the industry really began to crash and burn!

Michelle McClellan

hope is a good one. along with being able to be part of the decision making process, being listened to, respected and being able to do what you were hired for. I’m not saying I can’t, but from my experience I always left jobs where they didn’t actually listen to me, or respect my knowledge. wtf would you hire me for if you never let me do my job?

I think cool projects is a good one, but I think you also need a challenging and interesting day-to-day experience, and that only happens in a satisifying job which you really like.

Benefits, what are benefits? Does the NZ public service have benefits?

Patricia Sullivan-Stewart

Hello, I’m new to the HR group and I’d like to comment on Benefits since I am a Senior HR Specialist majoring in benefit/retirement. I find that most employees do not know what benefits they are eligible to elect, nor do they understand their benefits, especially quailfying life events and retirement eligibility.

I present New Employee Orientation, Law Enforcement Orientation and due to the New Administration Change I am presenting Transition Briefings for the Politcial appointees which involves the eligibility to retire or separate.

I’m truly amazed that for the majority of employees who wait till they think they are eligible to retire and find out they are not eligible for various reasons. The biggest misconception is understanding the eligiblity of age and years of service.