Inspire me, respect me, reward me – the advice for CEOs from their employees

by External27 Jun 2013
Dr Jack Wiley is accessing the wisdom of the crowd to get their take on leadership and organisational success. His research has revealed that employees have nine ‘wants’. How do you score?
Leadership advice for CEOs hastraditionally taken the ‘how I made it’ approach. Take a look at the top-selling leadership books on Amazon and you’ll find dozens from CEOs who believe their way is the best way. I’ve purposefully taken a different approach to the discussion of leadership. This isn’t a story of one person, and it doesn’t offer wisdom from on high. This research into leadership has been ‘crowd-sourced’.
I’m accessing the wisdom of the crowd to get their take on leadership and organisational success. My crowd consists of more than 50,000 employees from 22 countries around the world. These economies account for almost 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, and the participating employees work in every industry and type of job, from truck drivers to tax accountants. 
We asked the employee crowd what they most wanted from their organisation’s top leader and then explored how leaders who provide these ‘wants’ become more successful in the process. This research clearly demonstrates that giving employees what they want makes bottom-line business sense.
Our research revealed that employees have nine ‘wants’, which can be grouped into three clusters.
Employees want leaders who can deal with the challenges the organisation faces and set aclear direction, and are credible, honest and truthful when it comes to business.
Globally speaking, the majority of employees agree that their leaders do have the ability to deal with the organisation’s challenges. The bad news is that it’s a slim majority at just 62%.
Employees want to work for grateful leaders who appreciate the contributions employees make. They want top leaders who are available, considerate of their employees, and willing to listen to their points of view, and who are fair, objective, impartial, and just in their implementation of human resource policies. 
Here again, there is room for improvement: just 42% of employees around the world agree that their leaders treat them fairly. 
Employees want to work for leaders who provide ‘proper’ compensation for the efforts they extend, who can help them develop their skills to grow their careers, and who create confidence about a secure future – both for the organisation itself and for individual employees. Without this, employees are much less likely to be engaged and much more likely to want to leave. We found that 55% of employees globally who could not see opportunities for advancement at their current company had intentions to leave. 
While it’s interesting to look at what our crowd of employees wants, does it really provide a leadership framework for business success? We looked at organisations with leaders who fulfil their employees’ wants and discovered:
  • Employee engagement levels more than three times higher than for organisations whose leaders don’t provide employees with what they want
  • Four times the level of employee confidence in the performance of the organisation (which is a valid proxy for actual organisational performance) 
  • Significantly higher customer satisfaction scores (measured via the American Customer Satisfaction Index)
  • Almost three times higher Return On Assets (ROA) 
  • Significantly better three-year Total Shareholder Return (TSR)
This research demonstrates clearly that employees are an amazing resource for insights to help you get it right. The keys to success – the answer to the question of how best to lead your employees and maximise your organisation’s performance – are right there. All you have to do is listen to the crowd. 
This research is the subject of Dr Jack Wiley’s next book, due to be published later in 2013. Dr Wiley is also speaking at Kenexa’s Strategies for Success seminar in Sydney on 18 June. Contact to register your attendance at this complimentary event and hear more from Jack on this topic.