If you want to get the most out of your employees, you need to engineer a positive working environment for everyone on the workforce. When staff feel encouraged, happy and welcome at work, they become more motivated, and show better performance. That’s a nice correlation, isn’t it? Although it may not feel like the most pressing matter on your plate, going out of your way to create a happy workplace will add a greater sense of purpose to your work, and ultimately lead to improved performance. Here are a few handy tips for creating a positive work environment for your employees…
Cover the Basics
People cite a lot of different things when they’re asked what they’d change about the way their company is run. However, if there’s one thing that tends to frustrate people more than anything, it’s a feeling that the upper management are incompetent, or simply not keeping things organised enough to look out for their staff effectively. Before going above and beyond the expectations of your staff, make sure that you’ve covered all the basics effectively. Read up on all the laws concerning wages, overtime, hours worked and so on. Look into the standards of employee benefits, and make sure you’re giving your employees all that they’re due. Read some good resources on health and safety and incorporate any policies you establish in an accessible employee handbook. All the frills and gimmicks in the world won’t mean much if you don’t have a good handle on your HR!
Engage in Meaningful Dialogue
By “meaningful dialogue”, I don’t mean sending out little nuggets of feedback through email. You need to take things a little further than that. When you go out of your way to connect to your employees in person, both as individuals and as groups, you establish a stance of caring which will influence your staff in some highly effective ways. If you’re neglecting to stop, take a breath, look around the office and get to know your employees, it can be easy to let this become part of the routine, which can be a tough rut to break out of. Instead of letting this apathy take over, you should be asking your staff about their project interests and personal career goals. This will show them that they matter, and make it easier to get in-tune with the way your workforce operates.
Listen to Ideas
Your team is going to be brimming with great ideas. After all, they’re on the front lines of your business every day, tackling their parts of the project with their own unique experience and skills. Make sure you’re tapping into this wealth of knowledge and expertise. If there’s some way to make spreadsheets easier to produce, make your shipping process more efficient, or anything else, then you’re bound to find it among your staff. It may be tempting to simply stick to what you know and put off any kind of innovation. These days, however, industries are moving along so fast that no company can afford to stick to the status quo for long. Instead of taking things easy, make it company policy for you and the other higher-ups to listen to ideas from all the staff. By making this a part of the routine, you’ll make all your employees feel that they matter, and let them know that they’re a highly-valued part of the business. Even if you don’t hit any major breakthroughs by opening the floor to ideas, your team is sure to become more invested in their individual tasks, and the overarching project outcome.
Trusting your team members comes more naturally to some business owners than it does for others. If it’s possible at all, try to make the default assumption that your company is full of mature, responsible, and competent workers who don’t need to have their hands held through every little step of their jobs. When they’re in an environment as much as they’re at work, people will naturally begin to act the way they’re treated. If you’re constantly looking over their shoulders and micromanaging, then pretty soon you’ll have a workforce of people who are too scared to show any initiative! The next time you’re delegating tasks, let the individual own them a bit more. Let them suggest when and if meetings happen. Communicate possible roadblocks, but let them decide how they’ll deal with them. Most of all, make the assumption that the team wants the best for the project, and try not to bite your nails while you wait to see results!
Source of the featured image: Wikimedia