When your employees get what they need, so does your business.
For many people, a job is mainly a means to an end - it pays the bills and enables them to enjoy time with their family and friends, and pursue their interests outside the office. But if the majority of your employees view their job this way, your business could be in trouble. Employees who are invested in your company and their position are happier, more productive, more innovative and more likely to stay with the organization and help it succeed. Determining what - beyond fair pay and benefits - motivates your employees and providing it for them whenever possible, is the key to developing and maintaining a happy workforce and a successful business. Fortunately, we've compiled the following insights to help you identify what your workers are looking for from their jobs - and how you can ensure they get what they want.
Live and let live.
You've built a team of hardworking, dedicated individuals - people you rely on to go the extra mile whenever necessary. But what happens when that extra mile (or two) is constantly needed? Employees with jobs that consume all of their time and leave them too exhausted and stressed to enjoy their evenings and weekends are unhappy, unhealthy and unproductive, and eventually, they leave - taking valuable experience and company knowledge with them.
Fostering a healthy work/life balance is crucial for warding off burnout amongst your people - and for keeping turnover low. So promote a company culture that supports employees' having a life outside of the office. Be flexible if they occasionally need to work from home in order to care for a sick child or elderly parent, and let them leave early or come in late if it means they'll be able to attend their children's sporting events or school meetings. Encourage them to take vacations and leave the office on time whenever possible, and be an example for the people you manage: try not to work late every night, occasionally leave the office for lunch, take regular vacations, and when you're sick - stay home. By showing your employees that you recognize that work can't always be their top priority, you'll earn their loyalty, keep them happy and help your business achieve its goals.
Give them room to grow.
When the learning curve wanes, employee interest often follows. After all, for many people, the opportunity to continuously improve and grow within their position - and the company - is a key incentive. So, for employees who show an interest in learning advanced skills and taking on more responsibilities, providing them with chances to do those things whenever possible could go a long way towards keeping them happy - and happy employees are good for business. Provide access to your company's internal training program, or, if your business doesn't have one, send employees to seminars, workshops or professional development classes.
If your company doesn't already have a formal performance review process in place, start planning one today. The performance review is an excellent talent management tool that helps ensure you and your employees are on the same page regarding their career path. So, develop a review process that allows for open dialogue on both sides, helps employees set clear goals and creates an action plan to help them attain those goals. Remember, every person is different - performance reviews help ensure that each member of your team has what they need to succeed.
Mix it up a bit.
Raise your hand if you enjoy doing the same thing every single day with no hope for change. Nobody? That's what we thought. And your employees feel the same way as you. In every business there's necessary - but often tedious - work that must be completed. Try spreading the “good” assignments around whenever possible so the same people aren't spending all of their time working on those essential, but dull, tasks.
Create a culture of empowerment.
With any luck, you've hired qualified individuals who are prepared to handle any assignments you send their way - and smart enough to ask for assistance or more information when they need it. If that's the case, give them room to do their jobs. Micromanaging can add to everyone's stress level - including your own, and often results in employees believing you doubt their competency. Letting your people take ownership of their own work and make decisions where appropriate increases their job satisfaction and company loyalty - and frees you up to focus on higher-level tasks.
Likewise, companies that take the time to build an environment that fosters mutual respect among colleagues and encourages “outside-the-box” thinking are setting the stage for success. An atmosphere where employees know that their input is valued - and, more importantly, feel secure enough to offer it - benefits everyone.
Let them know they matter.
Employees who believe in the value of their work - and the company as a whole - are better team members and higher contributors to the business's success. So take the time to ensure that each member of your department understands where they fit into the team and how their work impacts the company's results.
No cookie-cutter answers.
Above all, keep in mind that everyone is different - and so are their reasons for working. Employees are individuals, and what motivates you may not be the same as what inspires your workers. Staying in tune with your staff's needs will help keep turnover low and results high.