Just because an employee works eight hours a day doesn't necessarily mean that they are productive the entire time. According to a survey conducted by Gallup, only 31 percent of U.S. employees are actively engaged at work. When employees aren't engaged, they'll work slower and less efficiently, resulting in lower productivity levels. So, what steps can you take to keep your business's employees happy and motivated?
Forcing employees to follow a scripted routine for every task to which they are assigned will only lead to lower rates of engagement. You can still assign duties to employees, but you should encourage individual creativity. Employees who are given creative freedom in the workplace are more self-driven to succeed because they have a personal interest invested in their work.
Seek Feedback From Employees
Employees are often reluctant to approach their employer or manager when they have a problem. Instead, they hold it back and continue working as usual. Unfortunately, this results in unresolved grievances than become progressively worse over time. An otherwise small problem may snowball to the point where the employee decides to quit. You can prevent this, however, by seeking feedback from employees. Talk to your employees and ask them for honest feedback regarding their job. Using this information, you can foster healthier, more employee-friendly workplace.
Promote a Positive Culture
Negativity can quickly spread throughout your workplace, hurting employee satisfaction, motivation and overall morale. According to research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), negativity costs U.S. businesses more than $3 billion a year. Therefore, you should promote a work culture. When an employee makes a mistake, don't belittle or demean them. Instead, maintain a positive attitude while explaining the mistake and how it can be prevented.
You can also promote a positive work culture by creating a fun working environment. Google, which is ranked as the second-best company for which to work, has entertainment areas consisting of pool tables, video games, TVs and even massage chairs, all of which are free for employees to use. You don't have to necessarily adopt the same practices in your workplace, but you should foster a fun environment. Something as allowing employees to dress casually on one day of the week can have a positive impact on their satisfaction levels.
Keep Workers Busy
Contrary to what some business owners believe, employees typically prefer working instead of sitting idle at their workstation. When employees are busy, they'll feel valued and appreciated. So, eliminate downtime at your business by ensuring that all employees have something to do throughout their entire shift.
Don't underestimate the importance of collaboration in the workplace. By sharing their thoughts as a team, employees will work more fluidly. A simple solution is to create a meeting space in your workplace where employees can gather to share ideas and work to achieve a shared goal. You can also encourage collaboration outside of the workplace by hosting team-building games like softball or kickball.
Incorporate Plants Into Your Workplace
Aside from their decorative appearance, plants can have a positive impact on employees' performance. Many commercial offices are devoid of natural greenery, and staring at such bland designs can sap employees' motivation. Researchers from Exeter University for instance, found that adding houseplants to an otherwise bland office increased employee productivity levels by 15 percent. Furthermore, plants create a cleaner workplace by removing dust, mold and bacteria from the air.
Employee recognition and satisfaction go hand in hand. When employees aren't recognized for their hard work, they won't have the drive to excel at their jobs. There are several ways to recognize employees, one of which is a face-to-face meeting. When talking to employees, tell them how much you appreciate their work while focusing on the positive characteristics. Alternatively, you can send employees a personalized email thanking them for their work. Either way, you should make employee recognition a core element of your business's culture.
Reward Hardworking Employees
Finally, consider a performance-based reward system for your business. If an employee goes above and beyond the call of duty, they should be rewarded with some type of incentive. Some companies use an employee-of-the-month program to reward hardworking employees while others use a tiered reward system.
These are just a few ways to keep your business's employees happy and motivated. Most importantly, though, listen to your employees and address their unique needs.
Written by Ronn Torossian
Read more posts by Ronn Torossian