As an employer, you probably have a million and one things on your to-do list. You have financial targets to keep to in order to ensure the success of your company, project deadlines to hit, and long lists of paying clients to please. It might seem like just one more thing to add maintaining employee satisfaction levels to your top priorities, but if you are feeling the strain as a leader, and requiring your employees to lean in to shouldering the workload that little bit more… focusing your attentions on the happiness of your team could actually reap huge rewards for your business. Building a greater sense of teamwork and positivity between colleagues and leaders is the smart way to get the most out of your recruits.
Reasons Employees Feel Unhappy
Studies have shown that there are a variety of reasons why workers often feel dissatisfied with their jobs, and these are not always as straightforward as you might think. Among the top reasons reported by employees are aspects of work such as poor relationships with co-workers and superiors, feeling like their work is not appreciated, not having enough flexibility around balancing their work and home life, or feeling as if they have no possibilities for growth within the company. All of these factors can lead to a lack of joy in a person’s work, which in turn leads to poor engagement and performance from employees and can have a serious knock-on effect for your business in terms of quality and productivity.
Positivity in the Work Environment
One of the greatest things you can work on as a business leader is establishing a positive working environment for your employees. An energetic attitude is contagious, so make sure that you are leading by example in this respect. Emotional investment in your company is a two-way street, so make sure you are giving back as much as you take from your employees; take the extra few minutes out of your day to ask simple, genuine questions like “How are you?”. These can make all the difference to your staff, opening lines of communication between you and ensuring people feel valued.
Communication really is key in the workplace. Employees appreciate knowing where they are doing well, and what they could work on to improve, so regular feedback is an important aspect of maintaining job satisfaction. However, feedback must always be constructive, so choose your wording carefully when you have criticisms to make. Employees typically respond best to immediate feedback when the task is fresh in their mind, so do not delay giving out praise when it is due to keep momentum high. By giving out feedback, you will also open up honest dialogue that allows your employees to let you know their feedback on you. This is very useful for adjusting how you organize future projects, so do encourage reciprocal conversations.
Recognition and Rewards
Celebrating both team and individual success is highly motivational for everybody. Whether you recognize the achievements of your employees in small ways by verbal or written praise or with larger more tangible incentives, this is something that will be hugely appreciated. However, like Hayley Steinbeck, a recruiter at Originwritings and Britstudent warns, “do not fall into the trap of making promises that you can’t keep here; if you want to offer a reward for achieving a certain target – make sure it is attainable and that you can afford to do so.”
Balancing Work with Life
While there is always more work to be done in this 24/7 world, remember that your employees are human not robots. These are real people with real problems to resolve outside of work, families and social lives to balance with earning a living. Nobody is going to enjoy a job that consumes them and doesn’t allow them any time to themselves to recover from a hard day’s work. If you want to get the most out of your employees in terms of dedication and investment in your company, you’ll need to be as flexible as you can be to their needs to ensure that they don’t feel overworked and suffer from burnout.
Making time for socializing at work can also be beneficial here, as the more your employees get to know each other the better they will work together and enjoy doing so. As Ryan Bolero, a business blogger at Write My X and 1day2write notes, “collaborative efforts will always work better if colleagues genuinely want to help each other succeed as people and friends.” Likewise, generosity towards outside events and causes will also develop a sense of wellbeing and community within your staff. For example, supporting family fundraisers amongst your co-workers or lending your services to a charitable local event will always boost that feel-good factor.
Another important factor to keep in mind when considering employee satisfaction is engagement. Whatever level your employees are at in your company, it is natural for people to want to feel involved and trusted. A great way to do this is to ask all of your employees what their aspirations are for their career and what kind of projects they enjoy the most. This way you can set tasks that are well suited to an individual’s strengths and will be rewarding for them to work on, which is highly motivating. Allow your employees to submit ideas and implement them, trusting them to rise to any challenges they may face. Often this feeling of personal responsibility for the success of an idea can make a project feel all the more satisfying.
Opportunities for Personal Growth
Most employees don’t join a company that they perceive as being a dead-end job. Everybody wants to make progress in their professional sphere, so make sure that you can provide this. Invest in training and coaching opportunities for your employees that with give them the potential for personal career growth and offer them the tools, techniques, and guidance to learn, in turn creating a workforce wholly better equipped to achieve the tasks that you ask of them.
Lastly but certainly not least, do not forgot the importance of goal-setting in your employees journeys. Everybody has a built in desire to achieve new things and planning a time frame and a roadmap for how to reach those goals will help keep your employees feeling driven and focused towards the challenges that they set themselves. When setting goals, again, open communication is important to ensure that the goals are appropriate to the individual.
So, now that you are armed with our seven top tips for keeping your employees happy, all you need to do is put our wise words into practice. While these might feel like a lot of extra considerations to juggle with your more pressing concerns, remember that your business will profit from investing in your staff satisfaction in the long run, and what’s more, you’ll probably begin to find your own role as leader more enjoyable too. With this in mind, don’t hesitate to get started on the small things you can do each day to keep your colleagues smiling and soon enough it will feel habitual, developing a shared sense of community positivity that is beneficial for all concerned.