While running a business, you should be striving to make your customers happy – but don’t forget about your own employees in the process. Employees keep your business going every day, and there are plenty of benefits to keeping them satisfied. We’ve compiled a list of five tips to help you ensure your employees enjoy coming to work every day.
Why Do You Need Happy Employees?
Your staff members are the face of your company. They’re a touch point with your customers and can be the first impression someone has of your business. Don’t you want to make sure that impression is positive?
An unhappy employee feels demotivated and sees little reason to help the company succeed. They may want to sabotage your business by stealing or mistreating clients and fellow workers. By contrast, a happy staff member will work towards your company’s goals, ensuring that their actions reflect a positive image of your brand and trying their best to provide a great customer experience. When all of your employees are aiming to achieve bigger goals, your company can continue to grow and reach its potential.
If that wasn’t convincing enough, never forget that your employees are human too. They work to earn a living or to fill their time; if they’re spending a third of most of their days at work, they should enjoy their time there. Productivity will decline if your staff members are only counting down the hours until they can go home.
So, now that you know why having a happy staff is key, here are a few ways you can improve morale whether you run a store, a restaurant, or an office.
1. Set a Good Example
As a boss and maybe even a business owner, your employees look to you for an idea of what is acceptable at work. It’s key to set a good example by following your own rules; not only does it make you more relatable despite being in a higher position, it also shows that you care enough about the company to not consider yourself above formalities.
If you institute a dress code, follow it. If you have strict working hours, do your best to limit the number of occasions where you show up late or leave early. Be kind and respectful to everyone, staff and customers alike. When you start picking up bad working habits without consequence, your employees will see your negative actions as acceptable for themselves. Plus, no one wants to work for a company that not even the owner seems to care about.
2. Encourage Bonding Between Employees
Whether your staff members are working in the same office together eight hours a day, or relying on each other for accurate communication in a restaurant, or trading shifts to suit their schedules at a clothing store, your employees should get along with each other as best they can. Even if you’ve managed to hire a group with similar interests, they may need some encouragement to engage with one another.
A great way to increase employee bonding is to have social events outside of the workplace so the environment is less formal. It doesn’t need to be anything expensive or fancy – maybe a Friday night drinking beers or a Sunday morning jog in a park are just the kind of bonding your employees would be happy to partake in.
At the office, consider having an outlet for your employees to indulge in their shared interests, whether it’s a pool table they can play at during lunch or an art wall for them to express their creativity. There may also be gatherings related to your business that encourage collaboration or competition between your employees. For example, if you run a bakery, you might consider having a day where each employee bakes their own favourite recipe.
3. Provide Flexibility
Often work is one aspect of life that people feel they have little control over. They show up at scheduled times, complete assigned tasks, and plan everything else around their work lives. By offering your employees some control over their jobs, you can make them happier by improving their work-life balance.
Consider small changes that can be implemented into your business model. While office workers may be able to adjust their working hours, shift workers might benefit more from being rewarded with longer vacation time for picking up several extra shifts in a week. Your type of business might also make it possible for employees to choose the location from where they work, allowing them the freedom to travel more often or giving them a break from the stress of commuting.
4. Set Goals
You want your staff members to work towards your bigger goal for the business – but what if that goal is too big or too general for your workers to feel motivated by it? Try implementing smaller goals amongst your staff to encourage some light competition. Help employees define their own goals as well so they can feel accomplished when they complete them. Of course, a little incentive always helps.
5. Show Your Appreciation
The most important thing you can do for your employees is to show them how much you care. People who go above and beyond at their jobs no longer feel motivated to impress if it seems like no one has taken notice of their extra effort.
There are plenty of ways to show your appreciation for a job well done. The most obvious one is financially: offering raises or benefits to your best-performing employees rewards them for working hard, while a promotion shows you think they can handle a bigger challenge. Since not everyone is motivated by money, it’s important to also have other displays of your gratitude, such as company parties or special Monday morning breakfasts. Even a simple kind or encouraging word now and then can mean the world to an employee who has been doing an exceptional job.
To really get the most out of this step, be sure to ask your employees how they like to be recognized for their efforts. This is a common interview question that can provide a variety of different responses, especially for those who prefer a showier display to those that simply appreciate a private thank you.
By implementing these simple steps, you can ensure your employees remain happy even at work. Their satisfaction will resonate through all areas of your business, including having well-served customers and a positive work environment. And isn’t that why you started the business in the first place?