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Employees want an experience, not a job

1 July 2008

Employees want an experience, not a job

The job is dead - long live the experience.

That's the message from business director and author Penny Burke, on the latest podcast from recruitment specialist Robert Half.

Speaking on how managers can motivate staff and gain their commitment, Burke says the most important step is easy: "Ask people what they want, get a sense of it and don't be put off by that."

Many managers believe that staff want more money, but in reality they might want something as simple as hot showers in the staff toilets or racks to park their skateboards.

"Quite a lot of people get quite affronted by that - 'I can't believe that's all they want'," says Burke

"Understand that the concept of a job is dead now and people are looking for a way of life and an experience - that's what they are trying to achieve.

"While experience to an extent is about pay and conditions, it's much more likely to be driven by aspects of culture, of charismatic leadership, challenge and other elements such as praise and feedback ... that are unlikely to be specifically related to the functional components of the job."

Employers need to pay attention to these "soft measures", which traditionally they might not have valued as much as they should, because they could be the key to gaining commitment.

With the right attention given to such measures, even the most boring job can become fun, says Burke.

"I know people who clean toilets, who are inspired by the people they live and work their job with - there's a sense of team and a sense of camaraderie."

Burke will be speaking at a Robert Half Business Breakfast, titled "How to get your employees to commit" at Auckland's Hyatt Regency Hotel, on July 17.

Her podcast on employee commitment is available for download at


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