Employees are the foundation of any business. Whether it’s upper management or blue color ground floor team members, the happiness and satisfaction of each person is the key to improving any team’s performance, keeping them motivated and secure for the long term. So, what can you do to improve morale and increase the happiness of each employee? Below are common ways to keeping everyone satisfied with their jobs and increasing motivation in every sector of the company without giving a pay increase.
Give Feedback And Recognition
Giving constructive feedback to employees and providing recognition for their achievements and hard work is one of the best strategies for keeping them happy and content with their work efforts; plus it’s so easy!! By providing positive reinforcement and feedback, you are no longer recognizing the group rather the individual, a small shoutout if you will.
Everyone deserves to be appreciated, and it doesn’t hurt to vocalize it. Employees are more encouraged to work hard if their job is serving a purpose or has meaning. The action of recognizing their work shows that what they are doing is important and improving the lives of others, whether it’s saving time for other employees or performing one step in an operation, what they do matters. Happy employees will work hard to continue to provide satisfactory work, pushing them to try harder each day to earn more recognition and glory from you.
Promote A Work/Life Balance Including Acceptable PTO Protocol
A good work/life balance is essential for having overall satisfaction in life and that all starts with time off. It is a well-known fact that workers who have a good balance are much happier and more productive during their work week.
Senior director and lead researcher, Katie Denis says that about
“…two-thirds of employees say they hear very little about [using] vacation time from their companies,” Denis said. “That silence creates a vacuum, and we fill that vacuum with our anxieties and assumptions about what our bosses and colleagues could think about our vacation time. If the lines of communication were opened, employees might be surprised to learn that the 2018 research shows that the clear majority of bosses agree” that vacation improves an employee’s focus (78 percent) and alleviates burnout (81 percent).
There are several ways managers and executive staff can make a good work/life balance more attainable for employees. One of the most helpful strategies is to enact a PTO plan acceptable to all employees and allot a fair amount of PTO to everyone in all levels and from all departments.
Unlike most companies, Moz, a software company in Seattle, rewards their employees hard work with paid vacation time. In addition to receiving 21 days of standard paid time off, each employee is given $3,000 a year to spend on airfare, gas, hotels, meals, pet-sitting and other vacation-related expenses.
Their policy plan focuses on the overall picture; happy employees equal a more productive staff. Giving your team the flexibility they deserve encourages them to come back more engaged, organized and happy! Some companies are also starting to force those employees that don’t take a vacation to take paid time off that is mandatory. Studies show that people are more productive when they take breaks, however many employees are reluctant not to. Another company gives $7,500 annually after one year of employment, provided their employees use the funds for a vacation and agree not to connect to work while they’re off.
Some other ideas include:
- Avoiding or limiting work/employee contact after hours
- Allowing employees to take necessary time off for family emergencies (three days is not enough!)
- Organizing fun activities for employees
- Avoid requiring too many overtime hours
Host Events Unrelated To Work
Hosting events not focused on work helps build employee relationships, connections and gives workers a chance to interact without the stress and pressures of daily assignments and tasks. Some examples of activities and events unrelated to everyday work can include birthday recognition or celebration, employee appreciation days, and holiday events. You can plan physical activities, team-building exercises and sporting events to help improve overall fitness levels. Other activities worth trying:
- Team lunch
- Team Picnic
- Secret Santa
- Casual Fridays
- Company Retreats
Give Employees Responsibility And Challenges Including Cross-Training
Most times, employees will seek additional tasks for career growth and management should encourage this action. Once an employee knows there is no room for growth in a company, their work ethic will decrease drastically putting them in a career rut. Giving your staff additional responsibilities is important because it not only breaks them out of their work routine, but keeps their minds engaged and interested. Cross-training for other positions not only benefits them, but you and your staff. Here are a few benefits to cross-training your employees:
- Increases their engagement
- Grooms them from promotions in the future
- Can cover absent employee work loads
- Encourages their career growth
- Allows you to discover a new talent and leaders among your team
- Develops new skills
Allow Employees To Take Breaks
We’ve talked previously about this, but PTO and vacation time are not the only breaks they deserve. We are talking about breaks during the work day too.
Breaks are important because they give the employee time to attend to personal business, clear their heads, decompress and restart their brains when necessary. Forbes says that Without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance begin to suffer. Overworked employees often deal with chronic stress that can easily lead to job burnout. While this not only negatively affects employee health and well-being, it negatively affects the bottom line, too.
Research has shown that in North America 38% of employees don’t feel that their lunch break is encouraged, and 22% of bosses believe that employees who take regular lunch breaks are less hardworking.
I hope that isn’t the case for you. Taking breaks gives your staff the refresher they need to apply themselves and deliver quality work. Without adequate breaks, employees can become burnt out and will not perform their best on the job.
Have Weekly One-On-One Sessions
I love this idea! Getting one-on-one session with your staff is crucial to stay connected and alert to any potential issues throughout your company. This is also a great way to stay connected with your team and show you care about their lives. You should schedule, depending on your teams size, a 15-30 minute session to speak with each employee individually. Doing so will give your staff a chance to not only keep you updated on their latest projects and timelines, but any career interests they have that might benefit the team.
Reward With A Casual Dress Code
If you are in the line of business that can allow for a more relaxed dress code, or even casual dress days, do it! For starters, this a free benefit that costs nothing to offer. A small perk that can go a long way. If you do causal Fridays, this is a great way to get employees out of their work funks and spice up their week routine.
If client face time isn't often apart of your company, letting your employees dress more casual allows them to feel like they can be themselves instead of another number to the company; why would that be so hard? You can also use this as a form of rewarding your team. Some businesses can even adopt a permanent dress code that allows more freedom with wardrobe selections.
Encourage Healthy Lifestyle Choices
A healthier life means a happier you.
Incentives to support employees making better lifestyle choices to improve and maintain their health is always a good idea. This strategy will help them focus and miss fewer days for disease, illness and other health issues. Here are a few ways you can encourage a healthier lifestyle for your staff:
- Have doctor visits and nutritionists speak to your employees
- Put in kitchen necessities (fridge, microwave, toaster, etc.) to encourage employees to bring in food rather than eat out
- Offer a company discount for gym memberships
- Purchase stand-up desks for staff
- Include mental health on your health plan
- Host weekly reflections or meditation times
- Weight lose incentives (Example: If the office as a whole loses a certain amount of weight, everyone gets an extra vacation day)
Encourage Employee Education And Professional Growth
Employers and managers who help their employees reach professional goals will have greater worker satisfaction statistics and improve the quality of their team’s manpower. People who are working at entry-level positions can move up and be molded to specifically fit the needs of the company later on. Instead of outsourcing or outside hires, a company that encourages internal growth can rely on these existing employees making for a smoother transition and less turn over rates.
These actions will help improve morale and will allow a company to hand select and train their management along the way. Some ideas include:
- Opportunities to join certificate programs
- Supporting continued education
- Hosting an office mentoring program
- Becoming your employee’s resource; show them the next steps in their career
- Offering tuition reimbursement
Say Thank You
This should be the easiest step, but it’s often the hardest or overlooked.
Perhaps the simplest, but the most important detail is to always remember to say thank you. Employees want to be acknowledged for their hard work and efforts. A heartfelt thank you can go a long way and motivate employees to continue to do a great job for appreciative managers and executives.
Recognize, recognize, recognize, everything they are doing for you, because if you don‘t your employees will burn out. Gratitude and small gestures go along way, it truly is the little things that count in every relationship. Ways you can thank your staff are through email, with a gift card, taking them out to lunch, including them in a staff newsletter, memo or simple saying “thank you” to their face. It’s easy, and it makes a difference.