Trying to juggle the morale level of a large office with the need to run a successful business can be tough. Sure, you’d like to give everyone raises and make them happy, but that wouldn’t make your bottom line so healthy in the end. You might be surprised by some of the workplace factors that boost employee satisfaction, however. Hint: It’s not all about the paycheck. Here are some helpful things to know about worker morale and how you can use it to retain your key employees.
What Do They Want?
Employers tend to think that increasing workers’ salaries is the key to happiness and harmony in the workplace. Extra money is nice, of course, but that’s not all that motivates workers to do their best for the company. It turns out that worker satisfaction can be boosted by factors such as clear communication and a reliable flow of information. Workers don’t like to be kept in the dark. They want their supervisors to tell them about major initiatives or changes at the company; they don’t want to see it on the Internet first. They also like to know they can bring ideas and concerns to their managers without worrying they will be ostracized for their comments. Workers just want to be heard, and when they do a good job, they want their contributions to be acknowledged publicly. In the end, employee satisfaction can sometimes be tied more to the ego than to the pocketbook.
Seeking to Contribute
Another bit of information that workers love to hear is that their work makes a difference to the success of the company. They want to know they aren’t just a worker bee, but that their piece of the honeycomb puzzle is crucial to the survival of the hive. And, if they routinely demonstrate their expertise in their area, managers should consider asking them to train others in best practices for the job. At the very least, supervisors can look for leadership opportunities for workers who consistently go above and beyond for the company. Chances to improve their skills is a valuable reward for many employees, so that can be used as a carrot to help standouts meet stretch goals.
The trend today toward workplace flexibility is gaining traction. Employees are seeking more variable work schedules that acknowledge that people have lives outside of work. Some workplaces are allowing employees to telecommute a few days each week, or do their routine work at a remote location, such as a coffee shop. Job shares are another part of this trend. When it is appropriate, companies should consider whether these alternatives can work for their businesses and employees. If so, flexible work time can be a major tool when it comes to retaining valuable employees.
Most workers enjoy the standard types of benefits from their employers in addition to pay. They get health insurance, paid vacation and sometimes paid sick leave. However, the trend toward alternatives has spilled over to this area as well. Some workers are choosing other perks instead of the traditional choices. Perhaps they’d rather have in-house child care than a cell phone stipend. Or, they might lean toward “paid flex time” that can be used in myriad ways instead of being set on sick time, vacation time or personal time. Again, embracing this level of flexibility in the workplace can be crucial to employee retention as the expectations about workplaces change.
If you’ve made your employees happy, what does that mean for your business? Well, we’ve touched on retention, but there are other factors. Here’s one: If you chart a path for a standout worker that will allow him or her to rise to leadership, one of the caveats might be meeting a particular sales goal. With employees who strive to move up, it can mean additional revenue for the company.
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