A number of surveys have compared employees’ perceptions of what they need and managers’ perceptions of what employees need. These are listed by priority in the table below.
As you can see, there’s quite a difference. Notably, what employees tend to value most are those intangibles they’d receive from a positive relationship with their managers.
The last survey reported was in 2001 though, so I’d be curious whether the last ten years have made a substantial difference. Also, some of the items are a bit vague—what are we really talking about when it comes to “good working conditions”? The employee list order isn’t necessarily my list order but the top 2 items are probably my top 2 as well.
From an instructional design/performance improvement perspective, I think these surveys do point out that as we help managers to be coaches, part of our task is to help managers see what’s important to their employees.