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.