“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”
It isn’t just Jack though. All work and no fun can make Dave, John, Karen, and Katie dull and disoriented too.
While hunting for top-notch resources still remains the primary role of an HR personnel, ensuring employee happiness and maintaining low attrition levels occupy a major space in the HR Manager’s KPI sheet. Talking about attrition, why do employees leave an organization? Is it just the remuneration, perquisites, or the designation offered by another company that’s alluring? Or is there a hidden reason at all?
Ponder a little more and you’ll probably notice instances that ruin an otherwise positive working environment. Is a positive working environment that important? Well, the short but straight answer to it is yes. With an average duration of 8-10 hours (add another 2-3 hour for startups) spent at the office every day, work, work, and only work could actually suck the life out of your employees and even derail their very morale.
It’s exactly in such instances that our tips come to your rescue. These positive work environment ideas will not just help lift the spirits of your employees but also enhance your workplace and your employee satisfaction levels on the whole.
Wondering where to find positive work environment ideas that can magically transform your workplace? Here are the 5 golden rules that’ll help you power up your business. Read ahead!
1. Hire Well. Your Job is Half Done.
‘Well begun is half done’ is a popular adage for a reason! Most of the brands that boast of a happy workforce place a high value on the talent and aptitude even more than the person’s education or experience history. When you hire, you should look for traits and behaviors that match your brand personality.
What good is a strategy if you don’t have the right kind of people and system to carry it out? Hiring is expensive so why don’t you go that extra mile to ensure that you hire the best fit for your company? The wrong attitude can poison the work culture and prove hazardous to the engagement rates.
A study by Leadership IQ found that 46% of new hires fail within 18 months and that 89% of these failures are due to poor attitude rather than lack of skills. Select for talent, not just experience or determination.
Equally important as hiring for the right fit is the measures you take to not dilute their enthusiasm and drive. You can kill the enthusiasm of a fresh hire with a lukewarm welcome and insipid orientation. Don’t ever make the mistake of making your employees doubt if their loyalty is underserved.
2. Know Your Achilles Heel. And Plan Around it.
If you have ample talent in your company and the productivity and engagement levels aren’t what was promised, perhaps it’s time for a self-evaluation. Discover what you are doing wrong. And plan strategies that address it.
Employee engagement surveys work like a charm in this aspect. If there is one thing worse than never running a survey, it is doing it and forgetting all about it. An annual survey by itself does not help anyone. The survey ought to be an audit of whether things are getting better.
Run regular employee surveys to track how well your strategies are playing out. Many companies simply conduct an annual survey and more or less tell managers to “get better,”. They lack the incentive and desire to sufficiently follow up. ‘Get better’ is not a strategy or a solid plan. It has never worked and will never work.
Does your drooping engagement levels attest to something that lacks on the management’s way of doing things? Are your actions out of a genuine desire to make things better? Or an annual wish-wash that fools nobody? If you have an attitude problem or a perspective issue, address that, first.
If there are parasitic tendencies like micromanagement in your system, root it out. Research shows an alarming percentage of managers who do nothing but make it difficult for other people to work. Nothing kills trust, drains motivation, and sucks all the joy out of work faster than breathing down your employee’s neck and micromanaging the hell out of them.
Every company will have an Achilles heel. What is yours?
3. Nurture Relationships and Embrace Individuality
You don’t want your entire team to be mini-mes. It might look good to you at the start, but the more diverse they are, the better your organization’s chances of evolving.
Starbucks, one of the 50 Happiest Companies in America for 2014, famously invests in its employees, whom it calls “partners”. Do not hesitate to let your employees think for themselves. Often, the best ideas do not always come from the top. Many people find their most productive and creative moments during unplanned and unscheduled activities. So why don’t you allow them such intervals?
LinkedIn is one of the most successful companies who’ve got this right. Once a quarter, any LinkedIn employee can pitch a product idea to top executives, including founder Reid Hoffman and CEO Jeff Weiner. To win the company’s support, the idea must prove to be beneficial to LinkedIn customers or employees. The winning employee or team gets an executive mentor and up to three months to focus exclusively on the project.
You could try to occasionally replace the boring meetings with something your employees feel passionate about. Give yourself and your staff a ‘white space’, for example, half a day per week to work on any task they choose, or an opportunity to attend a talk by their favorite inspirational speaker.
4. Support Career Development. Theirs, and in Turn, Yours!
Apparently, career opportunities are quotes as the no.1 driver of employee engagement in North America. On a side note, poor career prospects is the top reason for leaving a job.
Prioritizing the well-being of your employees can boost their faith in you. Afterall, if they can’t count on you to have their backs when it comes to raises and promotions, you can’t count on them to have your back on critical projects.
Fortunately, the managers who encourage their people to research new ideas and encourage their career growth is ever on the rise. Email updates and weekly conference calls are not enough to sustain team momentum. Instead, give real-time feedback throughout the year and use the annual review to zero in on career development and the future.
Reviews and appraisal meetings shouldn’t be only about bashing at the employee for a mistake or past performance. Surprise criticism can breed resentment and drive a wedge between the manager and the employee. Rather, offer constructive feedback that the employee can benefit from. Offer help, coaching, and mentorship and build trust by honoring the promises you made.
5. Reward More. Especially the Non-monetary Kind.
It might come as a shock to that money doesn’t maketh an engaged employee. While recognition is one of the top five drivers of employee engagement in North America, pay is not! Sure, competitive pay is a must for attracting and retaining top-notch talent. Yet, the satisfaction that money alone delivers is short-lived. You simply cannot pay people enough to like their job.
But you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to not pay your people enough. Pay inequity makes for a very toxic workplace and we can all agree that there is no keeping it a secret. It’s always advisable to pay similarly for similar jobs and use recognition and non-monetary rewards for anything beyond.
New and exciting opportunities, Friday evening-outs, extra time-off, subsidized gym membership, personal and career development, and such are among the many thoughtful rewards that show your appreciation. Show employees that you know and care about them as people.
Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $605 billion each and every year. Employee engagement is precious. Loyal and engaged employees are twice as much productive as their peers and worth their weight in gold! Better the work conditions in your organization and watch as your employee engagement rates climb to the top.
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