Your employees are what keep your business going. This is something you probably already know, of course. They’re the ever-spinning cogs in your business machine. And just as you have to keep cogs oiled and maintained, you need to make sure employee satisfaction is maintained in order to get the most out of the people who work for you.
A lot of employers seem to think that the money their employees currently receive is basically all the incentive an employee needs to get their jobs done as best as they can. But it’s not all about the salary, and it’s essential that you understand this. Yes, there’s no denying that most people in the workforce are really only at a given job for the money – it would be a foolish fantasy to pretend that all of our employees have a deep passion for their job. But there are certain elements you need to consider outside of the salary.
If our brains aren’t engaged and interested in a given task, or are in any way unsatisfied by the particular environment in which those tasks take place, then our productivity will always suffer. Our brains will rebel against us as we try to complete our tasks. Boredom, frustration, stress, even a bit of sadness can all start to set in, even if they do so at low levels that still allows us to do some really good work. If you’re not properly engaged and motivated, you’ll simply find it nigh-on impossible to work at full capacity. And if your employees aren’t working at full capacity, then they’re inefficient. This results in wasted money, because you’re not getting the desired and possible output from the money that you’re putting into them (i.e. their salaries and any bonuses).
This may sound like we’re starting to take a cold, impersonal, and even dehumanizing look at the world of employees in business. It may seem this way, but this sort of thinking can actually lead us to some very warm and human conclusions. The way to beat this problem? To be more attentive to employee satisfaction. Some employers will take the route of expanded sanctions for a perceived lack in work performance, but this simply doesn’t work as well as tackling the real problem.
So how does one improve employee satisfaction? There are, of course, numerous ways in which you can tackle this, but let’s narrow things down to perhaps the biggest issue you can take care of: the issue of appreciation. The reason that so many employees don’t feel satisfied or even happy in their work is precisely because they feel like the aforementioned cog in the machine; something that can easily be replaced should they start to falter. Again, many employers seem to think this mindset will result in increased efficiency and effort, but the human brain simply doesn’t work that way. It gets people down, and when they’re down they don’t work as well as they can.
The best way to make employees feel appreciated is, of course, to show your appreciation!
So here are some of the best ways in which you can praise and thank your employees to ensure they don’t just feel like an expendable robot in the grand scheme of your business plan.
Increase in salary and bonus
Yeah, we might as well get the obvious one out of the way first! If you can afford to do it, then a monetary display of appreciation is usually the best way to go about it. They say money talks, and that’s very much true in this arena as in any other. It’s basically telling a given employee that you believe they are worth more than what you’re currently paying them in basic salary, and that you’re willing to pay that money. After all, there’s always the possibility that some other company may be willing to pay them that amount; this shows that you’re not all that keen on this employee leaving the business for pastures new. And that’s a pretty powerful message.
Everyone eats food, right? I mean, you kind of need to eat food. In fact, this need can get rather annoying at times. Most of us have felt a slight twinge of resentment at some point in our lives about having to pay for something that our body needs to survive, right? This is why there’s something so special and satisfying about free food. And if you’re willing to treat your employees to some delicious food from time to time, then they’re definitely going to feel a lot more appreciated. In fact, taking employees out to lunch after a particular achievement can be an amazing way of saying “thank you”. Oh, and if employees are willing to work late for you, then the least you can do is get them takeout!
Not a lot of employers consider actually giving employees a gift of some kind. Sure, food and money can be considered sorts of gifts, but in some ways they’re not very personal gifts. A small gift from you to an employee can really create a great feeling of appreciation; after all, it’s a gesture that can always be appreciated. Personalised presents and gifts are probably the best way of making sure the gift in question really feels like something that’s been gotten for them as opposed to something you got for cheap as part of a bulk buy that you can afford to give away. Personalised gifts are also a fantastic way of showing appreciation as an employee leaves your business; it gives them something to remember you by. Just make sure they’re not leaving because they didn’t feel appreciated enough at work in the first place!
Here’s something simple that you can do for free. At the end of the day, the reason that so many employees don’t feel appreciated or particular important in their workplace is that they don’t feel that they’re making any particular difference, or that their opinion on certain matters isn’t given any serious attention. This is something you can change. Let employees know that what they think about a particular matter is important to you. When we start to give an employee a sense of identity in a larger framework, this makes them realise they are more than a cog in the machine. You can build further upon this by giving them a literal sense of identity, from an employee ID badge to giving them more autonomy to develop their role within the company. Let them know they you know they’re the ones in the trenches, and as such will have certain skills and knowledge that even you may not have. Encourage them to share tips and methods, boosting their feeling of validation. Give them a voice when it comes to decisions that will impact the company in a big way.
Don’t assume that employees don’t want to hear feedback! When people think about feedback, they often think about criticism. They imagine their bosses watching every little thing that they do at work and then pointing out every single mistake they made during the course of the week. Feedback, of course, doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, feedback is a crucial element when it comes to making sure employees feel appreciated. When you’re detailed, reasonable, attentive, and constructive with your feedback, it actually shows that you’re invested in the development of a given employee. It also gives them a chance to talk to you about particular problems. It’s a chance for employer and employee to get to know each other a little better.
If an employee has been going beyond the call of duty as of late, it may be prudent to give them a little time off, even if it’s outside the annual leave ‘budget’. After all, when employees don’t take time off, they’re more likely to become stressed over time, which will greatly affect their satisfaction and productivity (which, again, have a very symbiotic relationship). Offer them a few days off to do something else besides work. It shows that you’re willing to do without them for a short time in order to keep them in the long-term.
Thanks for stopping by today.
*This is a collaborative post.