“By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things.”
Steve Jobs, on employees.
Employees play such a pivotal role in all businesses, yet recent statistics show that many employees are not satisfied with their jobs. This kind of unhappiness leads to high employee turnover, poor work performance, and bad word of mouth for the company.
When many of us get into better positions we tend to forget the horror stories of the ghosts of past bosses. And hey, you couldn’t possibly be as bad as they were, right?
Maybe you’re wrong…
The keys to happy employees lie in fundamental psychological and sociological principles. Remember, customer experience and your staff is an aspect of your brand identity and positioning.
1. Do you hover over and criticize your employees?
If you do, stop. Many workers site hovering and overall buggery one of the main reasons for job dissatisfaction. Listen, no one wants somebody staring over their shoulder, and criticizing everything they do. This only leads to more mistakes and a high anxiety level, leading to even more mistakes and anxiety. You can then add to that the psychological ramifications, as it implies that you think they are stupid and that you do not trust them. This, in turn, makes them feel bad, and long enough of that, they will be looking for a new job. Whereas praise and compliments represent the highest percentage of what creates worker satisfaction. More important than raises or a company car is feeling appreciated and that you are a needed asset to the business.
2. Could you live on what you pay your lowest-paid full-time employee?
Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
The best and most productive workers hover in the higher 2 sections of the pyramid. Because it is a natural fact that one cannot function to their most effective if they are stressed and worried about sustaining the very bottom of the pyramid.
A true rift is existing more and more between workers and business owners. While a company’s main goal to make money is fine, but where is the responsibility? Community? In every situation, there needs to be balance. If you are not going to pay someone enough they can live off of without constant worry, then imbalance will pop up somewhere else. Like in work ethic and overall attitude. If it has been a good decade or more since you have had to try and sustain on the average hourly wage you may not really understand just how much expenses have gone up while the minimum wage has not kept pace.
3. Do they know you care?
It is amazing what little things can really boost morale and let people feel appreciated. A nice lunch spread, snacks, mental health days, more natural lighting, compassion to the inevitable’s of life. These efforts can all yield a big ROI when it comes to productivity, positive word of mouth, and employee retention. You would be surprised by the effect an unhappy or poorly treated employee can have on your business. I personally will not give my business to several stores because of this. But a happy employee that feels appreciated, challenged, and that you care will beam and spread the word of how great a company you are. There is a lot to be said about companies with a supportive and caring culture, and how this leads to great word of mouth and more sales.
4. Give them more responsibility.
It’s a fact that people get bored easily, and that we all crave growth and accomplishment. A self-confident worker is your most valued asset, and you can easily nurture this by giving more responsibility to an employee when they have proven themselves. Whether it is having them head a project, letting them train someone, or letting them run with an idea they are excited about. Even down to the small coffee shop, let an employee that has been with you a while taking part in some decisions, it is amazing the happiness some validation creates. We are all striving to be a part of something great and to be a valued part of something bigger than us. The more responsibility you give another the more vested they feel. Improved self-confidence is the ultimate productivity booster.
5. Reward them!
This part strikes home for me, so I’m going to share with you a personal story. Several years ago when I was just starting to really sink my teeth into social marketing I was working for an advertising firm writing, photographing, and handling clients. I proposed offering social marketing as a way to increase business. The owner agreed, I created a plan, the plan was sold to several clients at a large price and I never saw any kind of bonus for it. I left that job shortly after. The point being, if an employee goes above and beyond, and this leads to higher profit recognition and a performance-based bonus is a great way to keep great ideas coming, employees happy, and lower turnover rates.
In summary, if you treat your workers well then most will really get behind you and make your business more profitable and improve company culture.