There’s a lot of talk about what the future of the workplace will look like.  So, a few weeks ago, I put out a general question to my social media networks:

When considering a potential (or current) employer, what is a non-negotiable for you?

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was expecting. But let me tell you that people are super passionate about this. I spent some time really trying to analyze responses in an effort to create my list, but honestly, there was one glaring theme:  People want to be treated fairly and with respect.

It seems so simple, right? Yet every single day, employers are under-delivering on very basic – seemingly no-brainer – things. Sure, many of my responders are Millennials. But even my mother had elements of fairness and respect in her response.


I’d love to share some of the specific responses, as well as my recommendations with you:

“Having gone through three downsizings at three different companies makes me value a company that has growth potential – with lateral and vertical opportunities – a company that’s solid, where you can make a career for yourself.” – Joyce

  • Start development conversations with your people EARLY. Don’t wait until times start to become tough to truly figure out what your people need to feel satisfied at work.

“Integrity. Always do the right thing even when no one is looking. The captain of the ship sets the tone.” – Julie

 “Having a fair and reasonable boss goes a long way. Bad management can kill work ethic like nothing else.” – Jessica

  •  I have a pretty clear stance on poor management and I’d invite you to have a look at some of my past work to understand it more. Good leaders are SO IMPORTANT to your organization. And just because somebody is really good at what she does for skill does NOT mean she is ready to lead a team.

“Flexible is a good one. I’m involved in a lot of outside work and it’s nice to have bosses who support and understand that!” – Kirsten

 “Ability to be fully off the clock – no need to check email when I leave the office.” – Anthony

  • Companies boast “Work/Life balance,” but it sometimes just accounts for vacation time and the ability to work a 40-hour workweek more often than not. Flexibility and a true Work/Life balance allows employees to have commitments and passions outside their full-time work – no matter what time of day those things happen. Ask questions, set expectations, and encourage your employees to fulfill their outside passions…but after they’ve gotten through their work at the office.

 “Benefits. Fair pay. Benefits.” – Pretty much everyone

  • Look – everybody works hard for their paycheck, right? (Hopefully…otherwise, you haven’t read my blogs on having the right people in the right places.) People want to be – and deserve to be – fairly compensated. If you’re not in a position to offer a clear financial growth path, consider searching for other benefit options. And make sure you are incredibly up front about any budgetary restrictions.


What are some of your pointers for setting the workplace up for future success? Share them in the comments below!