The job market in most areas is more competitive than we have seen in several years. With more open jobs than there are skilled workers to fill them, employers across the country are struggling to attract and retain great employees. Small businesses often feel disadvantaged when competing for great employees because they may not have a large budget to offer sign-on bonuses, free meals or other perks to get prospects interested in joining their company.

The good news is that building a strong company culture actually does more to help you find and keep good employees. Recent research from the Harvard Business Review found that there are three basic things employees want from their job, and they aren’t perks, benefits or even more pay.

Career- Micromanagers beware! Employees want to work somewhere that provides them with some level of autonomy. They want the flexibility to perform their job using their individual strengths. They want to opportunity to learn, grow, and develop rather than remaining stagnant.

Community– All people want to feel as though they are respected by others. They want to know that their hard work is not going unnoticed. Our Employee Recognition Toolkit can give you and your other leaders the tools necessary to create a recognition-rich culture.

Cause– Employees want to know that their job has meaning. They need to understand how the work they perform is benefiting the larger goals of the organization as well as the community.

It turns out that these three things, especially when combined, become powerful motivators for individuals regardless of age, department, and even location.

Looking for more ideas to keep your employees engaged. Check out our Employee Engagement Toolkit.