Jennifer A. Shoemaker
Happy Employees = Successful Business
It is easy to overlook employee morale when determining what makes a successful business. Unhappy employees are a serious concern for companies. Low morale causes lower productivity, poor customer service and high turnover. Low morale also leads to excessive absenteeism and less time in the office productively working.
Many company leaders feel that because they can’t pay their employees as much as the next company, they will be unable to retain their employees or will be unable to keep their employees satisfied. The good news is that they couldn’t be more wrong! Your business may not be able to pay the highest salaries, but a little recognition goes a long way. In fact, employees who feel valued are much less likely to leave their employer, even for a higher paying job.
There are many ways to increase employee morale, and many don’t cost the company a dime. First and foremost, communication with employees is key. Have an open door policy and keep employees informed. When employees are not kept informed about what is going on, they tend to gossip and make up stories to fill in the blanks. Even if you don’t have good news to share, honesty is still the best policy. The more your employees are able to trust what you say, the less likely they will be to engage in harmful gossip. In addition, listen and be available. All employees in an organization should be approachable, from the CEO on down the line. Be available and engage your employees on a personal level. You may not be able to resolve all of the issues, but if employees feel they have been treated respectfully, they are less likely to become disgruntled.
In addition, recognize the good – don’t just highlight the bad. When an employee performs well, make sure you recognize it. That doesn’t mean you have to give them a bonus. To the contrary, employee satisfaction increases significantly when employees are acknowledged internally for their efforts. Send an email to the team congratulating the employee for hard work. Put a note on the bulletin board or in the company newsletter. That recognition in turn inspires them to continue to do good work and encourages others to do the same so that they can be recognized.
In addition, give employees a feeling of ownership. Not ownership of the company – ownership of their job. Ask them for ideas on how to improve their departments. Act on their suggestions. If you notice that things need to improve, ask them how they would do it. Not only will you benefit from their suggestions, but making them feel heard will boost morale. However, do not ask for suggestions and ignore them after they are received. This is a common trap employers fall into and it can easily backfire. Instead of ignoring their suggestions, allow employees the opportunity to implement some of their ideas.
Finally, give employees some perks. Allow them to work from home if possible, or give them a gift card to a restaurant after they have demonstrated successful performance. These things do not cost a company much financially but can bring many rewards and help keep a company successful.
Download the Reprint from The Livingston County Chamber of Commerce's Feb 2015 'The Chamber Factor'
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here or call us at 585.258.2800.