Why Do Your Employees Work For You?

Why do your employees get up and come into to work everyday? What drives them to make the commute, to miss family events, and to commit to YOU. I get why they work, but why for you? Do you know why?

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about the difficult economy and it’s impact on employee moral. He predicted a mass migration in his company as soon as the job market improves.

Why? Companies are making a lot of poor decisions, which is creating terrible working environments. People are still getting paid, but they are finding their work environment brutal. I tend to agree with him. In down times companies tend to lose focus on employee moral. They ask for more than they give. They show little loyalty and politics rules. When this happens, the only thing keeping their employee from exiting, is they have no where else to go. They feel trapped. Trapped by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They are in the safety hierarchy, trying to keep from falling into the physiological one. Things aren’t good if your there.


Tough times at work find people in the safety zone trying to hang on and protect what they have. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. I think Maslow’s needs is true in the work place. Once the economy improves people will start to look elsewhere. People want to believe they are part of something bigger, that they belong. Layoffs, and budget cuts from up above don’t make people feel as if the are part of something or belong. They feel like leaves in the wind.

Once people feel they belong to something bigger, that they are part of something special, they want to contribute and be recognized for their contributions. This is where esteem comes in. Finally, they want to realize self-actualization. They want to leverage creativity to drive innovation, they want to have spontaneity, and more. People aren’t happy with just a job. They want to be a part of something. They want to help improve it and be recognized for it and they want to have the freedom to push the envelope. As choice comes back, employees will look to move up Maslows chart and if your company can’t provide it, they will leave.

What are people getting from your organization? Why do they work for you? If money and security are the answer be prepared. As things turnaround, you will find yourself hiring not because your growing, but because everyone is leaving.

Why do you work were you do?