A thriving organization has employees who are invested in and fulfilled by their work. Fostering a positive attitude in the workplace, being a strong and innovative leader, and guiding your business towards good short and long term goals are all necessary strategies to develop and maintain a great overall company environment.
But how can you make your employees more satisfied, on a day-to-day basis? What differentiates companies with high turnover and miserable employees from companies with decades-long employee loyalty? Here's some tips to help make and keep your employees happy.
How to keep employees happy: Small steps yield big rewards
Turns out, it doesn’t have to be that hard… or that expensive. Here’s three ways you can improve your workplace without emptying your coffers.
Invest in small perks.
At one world-class employer, which provides employees with a variety of spectacular perks including catering and an on-site sauna, the hands-down favorite day-to-day staff perk is the do-it-yourself cappuccino machine. The employee kitchen is fully stocked with a variety of coffees, milks, syrups and sprinkle-spices so everyone may self-serve a top-notch espresso beverage. Not only does it seem decadent, it cuts down on the time and money lost by employee runs to Starbucks – a win for everyone – at very little expense to the company.
- Other popular, low-cost perks are on-tap beer; catered meals or available snacks (a carnival-style popcorn machine, a stock of snack bars, a fruit bowl, etc.); available fitness classes (in-house yoga) or organized clubs (softball team, running club).
- Sponsoring your company in off-site activities like a bowling team, volunteer activity, or an adventure relay race can foster community involvement, fitness, and a sense of camaraderie within the company, generally at very little cost.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good break room. A comfortable space where employees can go to relax is one of the most popular company perks. Many break spaces include fun features like video games, tabletop games (like ping pong or shuffleboard), climbing walls, outdoor spaces, and other activities which stimulate creativity as well as relaxation.
Give positive feedback.
If the only times you interact with your employees are when you’re giving critical reviews, editing work, or critiquing performance, your employees will learn to dread interacting with you. Many times, managers and supervisors forget or are too busy to praise successes, and give feedback to employees only when something needs to be improved or changed. Even if an employee is doing great work 99% of the time, if 100% of her interaction with her supervisors is negative, her attitude will likely suffer.
- Figure out ways to work positive reinforcement into your company culture. These could include public recognition programs, private rewards (one manager keeps a stack of giftcards in her drawer to randomly reward excellent work), or simply more frequent praise in person or by email when it is justified.
Get off their backs.
Getting rid of red tape, unnecessary rules and archaic traditional corporate policies may markedly improve the morale of your employees.
- Unless absolutely necessary, eliminate strict scheduling and attendance policies.
- Example: Do you really need this person sitting in a windowless office at HQ from 8:30 – 5 every day? Would this person perform as well or better if he were able to set his own schedule and work, at least partially, remotely or from another on-site location.
- Or: Would you really enforce a two-day bereavement leave policy if someone’s child died? No? Then ditch that policy also. In addition to letting your team know their legal leave rights, let them know that your company will treat them like human beings when they need or want time off.
- Could an unlimited vacation policy work for your team? I.e., a policy where instead of earning set vacation time, your team members take vacation at their discretion, and themselves ensure that their work is managed during their absences? Many companies that have moved to such a policy see great improvement in their attendance, performance and satisfaction evaluations.
Giving your workers more autonomy, encouragement, and rewards shows them you trust them to do their jobs and support you in return...which is priceless.
If you're in HR and trying to figure out how to feel happier at work, StarGarden may be able to help! An integrated payroll and scheduling HR system can make your work easier and more efficient. Check out some of the benefits of an integrated HR system and download our FREE eBook by clicking the link below. Then, contact us to learn more about how we can help you!