As all business owners know, hiring and retaining the right employees is essential for success. However, many business owners struggle to find out what their employees really want.

Knowing What Your Employees Really Want From You as a Business Owner

A bit of effort can go a long way to discovering how to best keep your employees satisfied. Here are a few tips to finding out what your employees are looking for.

1. Open Lines of Communication

Business owners sometimes have little day-to-day contact with employees, and many struggle to connect with employees. However, spending a bit of time working with employees can help them feel more connected with their employers.

Let employees know you’re always willing to listen, and make open lines of communication a priority. Employees sometimes feel that expressing their concerns can create friction, which can cause them to hide problems they have with the company, and assuaging these fears can lead to more frequent and productive communication.

2. Anonymous Suggestions

No matter how much you express your wish to hear what your employees truly feel, many will still be reluctant to be completely honest. Anonymous suggestions let you give these employees a venue to express their honest thoughts.

A simple suggestion box can help, and letting employees send anonymous emails or messages can be a viable option as well. Remind employees to be critical as doing so helps you keep your employees happy and, in many cases, run your business more efficiently.

3. Maintain a Positive Work Environment

Employees sometimes need a push to perform their best, and holding employees to high standards is important to make the most of their talents. However, the workplace can, and should, still be a positive place where employees enjoy spending time.

Maintain an upbeat attitude, and be quick to point out and reward success. Even though you might not want to become friends with your employees, fostering a strong business relationship can encourage them to share what they’re really looking for.

4. Examine Your Leadership

Running a business requires a broad set of skills, and leadership is critical for communicating effectively with your employees. Take a leadership assessment, and study what you uncover carefully. A key part of effective leadership is being able to build trust with your employees, so examine portions of the assessment dealing with communication and openness.

The results of an assessment might not be positive, but they help you lead your company more successfully and find areas for improvement.

5. Empowered Employees

There will almost always be a line separating owners from employees, and employees typically feel more comfortable addressing certain issues with their fellow employees. Find a trusted employee to serve as a liaison between your employees and you.

This can help you address individual concerns, but it’s especially effective at finding out what your employees as a whole want. It also lets employees express their feelings anonymously.

6. Surveys

Often, the best way to find out what your employees really want is to simply ask, and surveys cover a range of fields in a fast and effective manner. Give employees a place to write extended feedback, and ensure that the survey results will be tabulated in an anonymous manner.

Another option to consider is offering online surveys that allow employees to send feedback when it’s convenient for them. Using a third-party providers ensures your employees know their feedback is anonymous, freeing them to be as honest as they want.


Employees are often anxious about their job security, and these anxieties make it difficult to determine what they’re really looking for. By being open and honest and letting your employees know you value their feedback and want to work with them, you can create an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their honest opinions with you.

Written By
Garrett Penn is a freelance journalist who enjoys writing about finance and business. He has worked in many industries before but has found his true passion for writing. When not holding a pen and paper, you can usually find Garrett biking or enjoying a late-night Netflix binge.

Related Post

Human Resources Today