Did you know that every month over 26,000 people type “I hate my job” into Google?
Given that most workers spend more time with colleagues than family, it’s not surprising they want a workplace that inspires positive relationships and appreciates their contribution. Irrespective of the size of your business or whether you're a manager or business owner, a critical part of leadership is providing the opportunity for your team to grow and evolve. The truth is, you can’t grow your business without growing your people.
It’s a well-known fact: happy employees are more engaged employees. They make better leaders. They’re better at working in teams. They’re more creative, strategic and innovative. They’re absent less often. They’re more adaptable and eager to take on new challenges.
1. Building Strong Leadership team
Teams that respect (and feel respected by) their leaders are more likely to be happy and fulfilled at work. Research shows that employees tend to quit managers, not companies. Almost one-third of employees cite disliking their boss as their reason for quitting a job. Other reasons employees left their jobs included lack of empowerment, office politics and lack of recognition.
2. Recognize contributions
Celebrate big wins. Celebrating contributions is an important part of showing employees their work is valued. Employees with a strong sense of their worth are more likely to be present, engaged, and productive members of the team. It can be as simple as pulling employees aside to say thank you or congratulate them on successes.
3. Promote a healthy office culture
Create a positive work environment that isn’t all about the work. Though business success should be a priority, it shouldn’t come at the expense of employees’ health or happiness. An open work environment where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas, thoughts, and opinions will lead to a stronger team. Encourage team building with employee events, celebrations, and meetings. Work-life balance should also be a consideration. Productive employees need downtime where they can disengage from work and recharge their batteries.
4. Don’t keep score
Keeping track of every perceived error in judgment creates the wrong kind of work atmosphere. When mistakes happen, correct them and move on. Keeping track of every mistake is a way to build a hostile environment, where employees feel like they have their back against a wall. It can create a culture where employees hide mistakes or obstacles for fear of retribution. Mistakes are going to happen – make sure employees feel they can be open about them.
5. Check in frequently
The best managers have open lines of communication with their reports. Employees should always feel like they can reach out to voice concerns, ask questions or simply discuss their work. Constructive feedback doesn’t always have to be positive, but it does have to be productive. If there are areas that need to improve, always provide a pathway to success.
Increasing their pay is often the default option when employers think about what they can do to keep employees happy. However, research shows that when it comes to job satisfaction, salary actually plays a fairly limited role. Salary and benefits are most important when employees are looking for a new job. However, once they’re settled into a job, things like workplace flexibility, work culture, opportunities to progress their career, and whether they like working with their boss and co-workers are more important in determining how content they are at work. As long as their salary remains competitive with market values, employees tend to give more weight the working atmosphere and people.
At the end of the day, there’s really no magic recipe to keeping your best employees engaged, happy and productive. It’s all about being respectful of their needs and keeping open lines of communication. The best way thing you can do is ask employees what they need from you and do your best to give them the tools they need to do their best work.