You may have great workers, but if they aren't happy, they will find their way elsewhere. A happy workforce is a content workforce, and a content workforce reduces tension, increases productivity, and eliminates the revolving door of new employees. To create a happier work environment for your staff, start with these five simple tips.
Cultivate Culture First
In the tech age of Google sleep pods and free meals, smaller businesses may look up to these giants and think they understand what employees want. Before you add on-site dry cleaning to your benefits sheet, take a step back and ask whether you are truly fulfilling your employees. Is the culture open and inviting? Do employees feel respected? Does staff believe their work makes a difference? There are no amount of private chefs in the world that can fix a poor company culture, so before launching into extravagant perks, focus on making employees feel included and respected.
Hire and Keep the Right People
Creating a happier work environment may primarily be the job of management, but some responsibility rests with the employees. An upbeat and excited workforce can make the work day fly by while unhappy and disengaged workers can drag even the most optimistic coworkers down. When hiring, focus on company fit in addition to qualifications. If a particular worker is continually unsatisfied, consider allowing that worker to find success elsewhere to save company morale. A single actively disengaged worker can deplete the morale of an entire department, so add personality and fit into your hiring process.
Spruce Up the Environment
It's difficult to care about your job when your employer doesn't care about your working conditions. Exposed cords, dirty corners, and messy break rooms may just seem superficial, but if you don't care about the company, why should they? If you want to improve the morale of your staff, start by cleaning up the office. Small cosmetic changes like a fresh coat of paint can improve your employees' quality of life in the workplace and improve their perception of management.
While everyone doesn't have to be best friends, having coworkers care and connect with each other makes the workday more pleasant. Encourage team building and bonding on a consistent basis. Don't wait for the company retreat. Allow managers to spend the occasional afternoon holding a team building exercise or simply take employees out for lunch. Small acts can have a big effect on employee happiness.
When an employee isn't appropriately trained, co-workers pick up the slack or vital jobs go unfulfilled. This creates tension in the workplace and a potential loss of productivity for the company. Training is a valuable time for the employee and the employer and managers should treat it as such. Employees should be given more than adequate time to assimilate and fully learn their job duties before being thrown into the mix. Even when demand is high and coverage low, make time for training.
Even stressful industries have happy and unhappy work environments. The difference is that happy work environments have a stable staff, a more productive staff, and a staff that is more able to deal with challenges within the industry. Cultivating that environment for success doesn't require millions of dollars or fancy benefits, but it does require the full support of management to value their staff first. Start during the hiring process and follow through with that commitment all the way to retirement to keep employees happy and your business productive.