Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital
Is your workforce happy?
Many businesses struggle to answer that question, and those who don’t usually know the answer: “no.” Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t categorically miserable in their day-to-day work. Generally, they find specific aspects of it frustrating, but managers and business owners often fail to identify the components that need to change. A happy workforce is a productive workforce, so taking an active interest in your employees’ satisfaction is both kind and shrewd. Here are a few ways to keep tabs on morale and address issues as you learn about them:
- Ask your employees what they want.
Most CEOs and managers assume their employees want more money, but the reality may surprise you. The solution is often simpler (and cheaper). Although most entry-level employees wouldn’t argue with a pay raise, they’re usually more concerned with things like life-work balance, health benefits, and other resources like childcare, transportation assistance and higher education for themselves and/or their children.
Giving your employees a voice allows you the opportunity to address the actual problems your workforce faces instead of guessing and potentially wasting money on the wrong solution. Distribute a company-wide survey or implement a suggestion box to let your employees air their thoughts and concerns anonymously, the results will inform your next move.
- Make sure they know their work is appreciated.
In the day-to-day hustle and bustle, it can be easy to take your employees’ work for granted. However, appreciation for hard work done well can make all the difference to a dedicated employee. Make a point of showing your appreciation in whatever way possible; whether it’s a large-scale reward system like “employee of the month” or smaller rewards like a free lunch for the most productive team members, make sure your highest performers know that you appreciate them.
- Offer discounts and sponsorships for day-to-day essentials.
Offering to help your employees with daily expenses like transportation or childcare demonstrates an appreciation for their concerns outside of work. Employees, particularly in large-scale businesses, often feel that their humanity is ignored in the workplace. So, helping them with a non-work aspect of their lives will make them feel seen and appreciated.
- Take a vested interest in your employees’ futures.
This may sound difficult, and it will be at the beginning, but taking an interest in your employees’ dreams and future plans will tell them that their job, whatever it may be, is a means to their personal ends. This goes back to listening to your employees. If you can find out what their aspirations are, you may be surprised how easily you can facilitate them. For example, if you have employees who’d like to receive higher education of some sort, you may be able to work out a deal with a local community college or state school to get your employees access to cheap or free classes.
- Make time for fun experiences that bring your team together.
Although company outings and team building activities are often seen as cliché, it’s important to establish trust and a friendly rapport among your employees. Whether you decide to institute a pet-friendly office (after inquiring about all office workers’ allergies, of course), install a foosball table, or occasionally plan social gatherings, your staff will appreciate the stress relief and the opportunity to bond with one another. Even just one casual gathering (IE a bowling night, board game night, or potluck dinner) per month can make a dramatic difference in a team’s ability to work together.
No one expects their workforce to be overjoyed all the time, but taking steps to keep your employees happy and motivated is easier than you think and will do wonders for your team’s productivity. All you have to do is listen.