Boss Lady

How to keep your staff happy


Running a successful business means not only focusing on the happiness of your customers or clients but on the happiness of your employees too. By keeping them happy, you can encourage them to be more productive and to stay engaged, and happy employees will also stay with your company for longer, saving you the cost and trouble of hiring new staff.

Provide a great working environment

The simplest place to start is with your office space. Your team is going to spend a lot of hours there, so it’s important to make sure that it is as pleasant as it can be. Provide them with everything they need, with plenty of desk and storage space, a pleasant, clean staff kitchen, clean bathroom facilities, and office space that is safe. Make sure that you meet OSHA lighting standards so people don’t get eye-strain from staring at screens all day. Your office can very simple, but needs, at a minimum, to be kept clean, and at a comfortable temperature. Extras like smart meeting rooms, and comfortable places to spend lunch breaks can add something that goes a long way to keep staff happy.

Recognize their progress

Constructive criticism can be very helpful to help staff improve and grow, but when you’re giving feedback, remember to acknowledge the progress that they have already made, not just the progress that they still need to make. This shows your team that you are paying attention to their hard work. Having that work recognized makes people feel valued, and they’ll be more likely to continue to strive for more progress.

Plan team-building activities

If you have a large office then you probably have multiple teams who don’t get to interact much during the workday. Team building activities can help people to get to know people from different teams, and work with them more effectively.

These activities should be outside of the office, and nothing to do with work. You could do something as simple as go for drinks together after work on a Friday, or arrange away days or large parties for the office.

Trust your employees

Delegate without micro-managing. Trust your team to arrange their own priorities and get through their workload without checking up on them constantly. Feeling micro-managed is very off-putting to employees, as they feel as though you don’t trust them. This can lead to the opposite of what a manager wants, as people can end up doing the bare minimum as they feel resentful of you breathing down their necks.

Your staff also should never feel spied on. Don’t track their time (apart from for timesheets for billing purposes), and don’t use software that tracks what they do, especially for those working remotely.

You can also show trust by asking for their input and thoughts on your company. Take on feedback on everything from projects to workloads, and take them seriously.

Keep them informed

Informed staff members can be real champions in your business. If you keep your team informed, they feel more involved and engaged.

Keep them up to date with your business goals for the next few months and years. This helps employees to feel involved, and trusted, and shows them what all their hard work is actually for. If they know what the future looks like for your company, they can make decisions about their own work that help to progress towards that future.

It can also help to improve staff retention. If the future of the company sounds exciting, people will stay to see it out.

Prioritize a healthy work-life balance

Some companies forget that staff have a life and responsibilities outside of the office. It’s important to allow people to have some kind of work-life balance. Over-time is sometimes needed, but make sure you show that are grateful to those who do it and don’t make it a requirement for progression. By making it needed to get promoted, you punish those who can’t stay, thanks to commitments like childcare or caring for sick relatives.

Requiring staff to always work long hours can soon lead to them becoming burnt out. Burnt out staff don’t work well, so productivity will drop. They’ll also feel resentful and will quickly look for another job to get away. Allow people to leave on time, most of the time.

You can also help people to have a better work-life balance by allowing flexible work. Allow people to move their hours around if they need to, for example, so they can go to their child’s school play, or leave early to make a flight. Allow people to work from home when they need to, for example, if a child is ill and can’t go to school, or they need to wait in for a delivery. Giving staff this option and trusting them not to abuse it can help people fit life and work together better, and keep them productive and happy.

Encourage breaks

A company culture that keeps people chained to their desks isn’t productive. This is another quick way to lead to people burning out and not being able to work as hard. Sitting at a desk all day is also bad for people’s health, and can lead to eye strain from staring at screens or to back problems from poor posture.

Allow, and encourage breaks. Insist that people take their lunch breaks, and either leave their desks or turn off their screens. They need a break to rest their eyes and their minds, ready to come back refreshed for the afternoon.

Allow breaks throughout the day too, so people can get up, stretch their legs, and make a drink. Don’t monitor how many coffee breaks people have or how long they spend in the kitchen.

You can encourage proper breaks by offering activities during the lunch hour. For example, if you’re worried about people being stuck at desks all day, offer a short yoga class in the office or in a nearby studio to help people stretch out.

Offer perks

Employee perks can go a long way to make people feel valued. These perks are a benefit offered other than the standard salary. This could be something offered to everyone, such as health insurance, or a salary exchange program to help purchase bikes or technology. Team up with other businesses to offer discounts for things like cinema tickets, or restaurants.

You could offer other perks are rewards for personal or team milestones. This could be something like an extra day of vacation time or vouchers for a meal. Take a well-performing team out to lunch, or arrange a party to celebrate the end of a project that you know has been tough on people.

Perks make people feel valued, or can be used to help people overcome challenges that could get in the way of work. For example, many businesses offer vouchers for childcare, so parents can work without worrying about the cost of childcare. Some offer to buy travel passes, which can be paid back monthly from someone’s salary, allowing for cheaper travel on the commute.

Offer mutual evaluation

Everyone has room for improvement, so even if you’re the manager, you should let evaluation go both ways. Offer employees the option to offer anonymous feedback on their colleagues and their managers. This feedback can be very helpful to you to identify any issues that you might not see as a manager, and can help those to grow with information from those who actually work with them on a day to day basis. This feedback is useful for managers too, as they can use it to improve their management style and offer better support to their team.

It’s important that this feedback can be given anonymously, so people don’t feel worried about giving honest feedback about a manager they feel is unfit or is difficult to work with. There must be no repercussions for giving valid, critical feedback.

Say thank you

A simple thank you can go a very long way in a business. If you want staff to feel engaged, productive, and like staying with your company, they need to feel valued. The simplest way to recognize the work that everyone is doing is to say thank you.

There are several ways to do this. Say thank you in person when you ask someone to do something or when you notice something they have done. Say thank you in team meetings when acknowledging the work that people have done. When a project has been completed, send a company-wide email thanking those who worked on it. If you decide to list names, triple check your list to make sure you have included everyone who should be thanked, as forgetting someone will have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping to achieve.

Recognizing people’s work by thanking them in a public way is important. It makes people feel valued, and also shows other team members the kind of work that you are looking for, which encourages people to do the same.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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