HR Tips: How to Get Your Employees to Tell You What They Want

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
Originally published on April 8, 2015. Last updated January 18, 2017.

As a small business owner or HR professional, knowing what your employees really want can feel like a mind-reading game -- one where you’re constantly losing. However, what if you’re approaching it entirely wrong? What if you could axe the guessing game and your employees would come tell you what they want?

This type of scenario isn’t out of reach -- it’s actually right in front of you. Knowing this, you must be dying to know what the secret is, right? Let’s go over four key HR tips one at a time so that, by the end of this article, you’ll be ready to sit back and let your employees come to you and tell you what they want.


HR Tip #1 - Treat Employees as Equals

Let’s start off by getting something straight: Your employees will never approach you, and I mean NEVER, if you treat them as though you’re more important than they are. Once you can get this engraved in your mind, you’ll realize things can only get better from here.

Truth is, when your employees feel that their input, opinions, ideas, and visions are just as important as yours, they’re 100 percent more likely to tell you what their wants are.

What’s It Gonna Take?

In order to truly adopt the mindset that you and your employees are equals, you’ll need to start listening. Listen to your employees, repeat their ideas or concerns, and talk through what they’ve mentioned. Ask your employees for input and don’t shoot it down the moment it leaves their mouths.

Related: 6 Strategies to Keep Employees Happy - Number 6 is a Must See

HR Tip #2 - Make Yourself Easy to Talk To and Always Available

Maybe you feel you treat your employees as equals already -- that’s great! However, even if you see them as equals, if you’re not easy to talk to, you’ve already lost the battle and your employees will not tell you what they want or need.

What’s It Gonna Take?

Making yourself approachable, easy to talk to, and always available simply means you have to check yourself. Evaluate the way you’re interacting with your employees when they talk to you. Are you keeping good eye contact and looking engaged and genuinely interested? If you look bored, you’re fidgeting, and you have your arms folded, you can forget about employees talking to you -- you’re no longer easy to talk to. Make it a point to smile and be ready to talk, even when you’re buried deep in paperwork.

HR Tip #3 Create a Way for Employees to Give Feedback

Sometimes your employees won’t want to walk up to you and tell you what they want. Not because you haven’t mastered the art of being easy to talk to and approachable, but simply because they’re shy -- that’s okay! So, make a way for them to provide feedback and suggestions in a discreet, quick manner.

What’s It Gonna Take?

This can be achieved through the most simple of ways -- a box, pencil, and paper, or through a helpdesk account. Whatever you choose, make sure you your employees are well aware how they can submit ideas or suggestions.

Related: Employee Retention - How to Keep Millennials Motivated and Happy

HR Tip #4 Practice What You Preach

Alright, with the previous three HR tips, you’re sure to have success, right? Almost. The last ingredient to get your employees to tell you what they want is simply to practice what you preach, reap what you sow, stick to your guns. However you want to put it, make sure you’re showing your employees their ideas and feedback are valuable.

What’s It Gonna Take?

The best way to implement your employee’s feedback and ideas is simply to do it. No, there isn’t any formula to follow here. All you have to do is take what your employees tell you they want and to put it into practice. Now, not all ideas will be golden nuggets, but you can certainly take what they’ve told you and help them turn it into a golden nugget.

Related: 5 Quick Small Business HR Tips


Even if you feel like guessing what your employees want is just a big game, you can always change the way you do things. You CAN get your employees to tell you what they really want. And if you’re dedicated to happy employees, these four HR tips will come easier than you think.

The Comprehensive Guide to the Small Business HRA

Topics: Human Resources
Originally published on April 8, 2015. Last updated January 18, 2017.


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