Being a business owner is hard. Managing people is hard. There’s just no way around it. It’s foundational to the job description of CEO or supervisor. And it’s no exaggeration to say that happy, thriving employees are the holy grail of running a business. So what are some of the secrets to keeping your employees happy and successful? It’s the question all managers eventually ask themselves. It’s what any good CEO or business owner strives for. But often times, intentions get lost in translation and compromise happens. Before you know it you’ve lost half your staff in one mass exodus. What gives? There’s a million variables in that equation, but here’s our definitive list of industry secrets to increase the longevity of your staff and keep your company running smoothly.
Top 15 Secrets to Keeping Your Employees Happy and Successful
1.Flexible Dress Code
This one may seem obvious, but allowing your employees the freedom to dress how they want (within reason obviously) can do wonders for productivity, as well as creativity. According to Jo Blood, director of Posture People, “A dress code is often a significant marker of a company’s culture…It’s good practice to lead by example from the outset, but enforcing strict dress codes can have a detrimental effect on staff wellbeing and productivity.” There’s nothing that makes a person grumpier than ill fitting business slacks, am I right?
2. Generous PTO
There have been countless studies down on the topic of work life balance. If you want your employees to be successful while they are at work, it is essential they have ample time for a full and robust life outside of work. Your employees will show up to work as their best selves if they are well rested and energized. We all occasionally suffer from burn out, no matter how much your like your job. So get out there and go on an adventure. But don’t pick up any mysterious gold rings.
3. Work From Home Fridays
While this may not be practical for every company, it is a practice that growing in popularity and highly sought after by job seekers. According to a study by Modis, “Flexible work hours” was cited as the most desired benefit among employees. Allowing your employees to work from a flexible location one day a week shows you trust and value them.
4. Encourage Personal Responsibility
Giving your employees autonomy in the work place can make or break your turn over rate. If your employees feel that the work they do matters they are more likely to bring their best selves to the table, and stay for the long haul. Also, encouraging personal responsibility in the company means your employees are likely to be more engaged in the day to day and feel a sense of investment in your organization.
5. Flexible Work Place Seating
Flexible seating has been something of a buzz word lately, more so in the public school system, but it’s been making it’s way to the work place as well. Over the last few years, the office design company Herman Miller has done numerous studies on ergonomics in the work place. They found that, “worker comfort directly affects important predictors of operational efficiency, such as productivity, job satisfaction, retention, well-being, and at its most basic level, of course, worker health.”
6. Ensure Employees Feel Supported and Valued
Most of us has had a job experience where we felt our employer was against us, not for us. There’s nothing that will get your employees to leave faster than creating an “us against them” culture. Management and staff must be on the same team, working towards a common goal in order to create a healthy and thriving work place environment. It can be as simple as checking in on your employees daily to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. Or it could be as personal as dropping off a meal to an employee on maternity leave. Little gestures go a long way with people and can not be under stated.
7. Reward Exercise and Healthy Life Style Choices
Most of Fortune’s top 100 companies have already figured this one out. If you look a their list of top companies, a large majority of them have some type of healthy lifestyle incentive program. For example, employees at Apple are encouraged to take a 30 minute break per day to meditate at work. The company’s headquarters boast a meditation room and yoga studio that also offers classes to employees. Many other companies such as Google, REI, and Whole Foods have similar programs. So what effect do work place wellness programs have on productivity? In August 2017, researchers at the University of California performed a study on exactly that. They found that companies who offer employee wellness programs showed a significant gain in overall productivity among employees, by as much as “one full work day per month.” Those ain’t no small potatoes ya’ll!
8. Encourage Employees to be Friends Outside of Work
A manager I had at a retail store once told me she loved that all of the employees became close friends and spent time together outside of work. When I asked her why she said it was simple; “Employees spend less time on the clock chatting and getting to know each other and more time coaching each other to do their jobs better.” Additionally, employees who genuinely trust and like one another will operate as more of true team, where as it’s much harder to cultivate a team environment with a room full of strangers.
9. Create Open Lines of Communication
One of the most common mistakes made by managers is creating an office environment that lacks transparency. Many people new to managing employees start off by only telling employees the bare minimum, and keeping everything else under tight lock and key. They may come off as cold and aloof because they are attempting to create an air of authority. But what happens instead is employees don’t feel they can talk openly with management and in turn are less likely to be in it for the long haul. And whats worse, the office culture becomes staff vs. management instead of everyone being on the same team. If you want to truly be respected by your staff, it is crucial that employees feel there are open lines of communication between all parties. An “open door policy” is a mark of any successful office culture.
10. Cultivate a Team Oriented Environment
Speaking of cultivating that team environment, how does one do this? And in what other ways is it important? Well for starters, cultivating a team environment doesn’t happen over night. It’s a series of tiny decisions made by management over a long period of time. But it starts with the day you hire new employees. You want to instill this type of culture in new hires from day one. Employees should know and feel that this is not an every man for themselves type of office, and if they feel this way they should communicate it to management.
Secondly, cultivating a team oriented office can often look a lot like summer camp. Playing team building games during meetings, having dress up days at work, or even starting an office dodgeball team are all great ways to cultivate a team oriented environment.
11. Avoid Micro-Management
From a managers perspective, micro management seems like a great way to ensure nothing ever goes wrong and everything always goes exactly as planned, right? Well, unfortunately that’s not what happens in the real world. Have you ever had a total control freak as a boss? If the answer is yes, I’m guessing you didn’t really enjoy that job and didn’t stay long. Successfully managing employees means letting go of a little bit of control and trusting your staff to do the job you hired them to do.
12. Host Company Sponsored Get Togethers
This is another excellent example of when small gestures go a long way. Getting employees out of the office environment allows them a much needed opportunity to socialize with one another and relax. It can be as simple as an after work happy hour or picnic at a local park. If your staff is more on the adventurous side, a short scenic hike is a great way to improve morale and cultivate a team environment.
13. Respect Time Off the Clock
No 10 pm emails. Not even one. That is all.
14. Cultivate a Positive and Upbeat Office Culture
Cultivating this type of environment takes some time. And it starts with management. If managers come to work positive, relaxed, and upbeat, this attitude will trickle down to employees. But if managers come to work stressed out and grumpy, employees will feel tense and on edge and be less productive. Happy employees=productive employees.
15. Empower Employees to Succeed
There are few things more crucial than empowering your employees to succeed. This means extensive on going training, regular and honest feed back, and of course good communication. Empowering your staff means you trust them to do their jobs and you are investing in them. It also means you are willing to take the steps necessary to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. This is an on going process and requires regular check ins with staff. But If you are willing to put in the time and effort with your employees the return you will get back from them will be that much greater.
Oh and last but not least, catered lunches never hurt anyone ; )