When staff are engaged and content, they’re more productive. Conversely, when they view going to work as a chore they dread, they’re unlikely to go above and beyond, instead doing the bare minimum required to keep earning their pay cheque.
It’s not difficult to see that you should be aiming at keeping your staff happy and motivated so they’re as enthusiastic as you are about making your business successful. However, you may be wondering how you go about improving staff satisfaction.
Believe it or not, it really doesn’t take much to make staff feel valued and want to work hard. Here’s our list of simple techniques you can put into practice today to improve staff morale and productivity.
- Improve communications
Do you shut yourself away from your employees, confining communication to the odd email when you remember? Stop that right now! Employee communications is essential so that you can keep your finger on the pulse of your business and understand what’s going on at every level. Make the effort to speak to your staff face-to-face, so that they know that their efforts and opinions are valued. Communicating with your staff in person is much more effective than doing it remotely or in writing.
- Say thanks
Leading on from our first example, remember to always say thank you for a job well done. Sure, you’re paying people to work for you, but good manners cost nothing and knowing that your efforts are appreciated makes a huge difference to employees. They say employees leave bosses, not jobs, so if you want to improve staff retention, be a nice boss and remember to say thanks!
- Lead by example
People hate double standards. If you slack off while your team is slaving away on your behalf, it won’t be long before they start to question why they’re bothering. On the other hand, if you’re excited about achieving your business goals and visibly work hard to reach your targets, your employees will be willing to follow your lead.
- Learn from your mistakes
According to business theory, a good leader takes a little more than their share of the blame and a little less than their share of the credit. Mistakes are inevitable. The trick is to treat them as a learning opportunity so that you can improve things moving forward. When an employee makes a mistake, don’t go over the top with remonstrations at the time. Instead, come back to it after you’ve had time to breathe and look at what can be learned to do things better in the future.
- Empower your employees
Sometimes, the best people to know how something should be done are those on the front line who are hands on rather than managers theorising from the comfort of their office. Actively solicit input from your employees on how things could be done better. You may be surprised by just how many ideas they have – and just how good they are. Empowerment goes further than simply asking for an opinion. Once you’ve got their suggestions, put the best ideas into practice. Nothing demonstrates more that you’re listening that actually following an idea. Also give staff the authority to use their discretion to solve problems within a reasonable limit so, for example, if a customer is unhappy, allow staff to offer solutions without needing management approval first.
- Develop your team
Do you know what your team’s career goals are? Will they have the opportunity to reach them within your organisation? Give them advice on realistic potential for growth within your business and support that with training so they acquire the skills they need to become an even greater asset to your team.
- Promote from within
Following on from point six, it isn’t enough to train your staff. You need to give them actual chances to progress. Promote from within so that staff know that they have real opportunities to further their career without needing to switch organisations. Not only does this save money for you in terms of staff retention, it also builds a reputation for your business as a good place to work, making it easier for you to recruit quality new team members.
- Use the carrot, not the stick
Realistically, a pay cheque alone isn’t enough to truly motivate people. Extra incentives and rewards, both expected and unexpected, are a great way to improve morale and they don’t have to cost the earth. There are plenty of ways to give your staff an inexpensive thank you, such as extra paid leave, gift cards, chocolates or flowers. Having said that, cold, hard cash in the form of a bonus is always well received too.