Finding the balance between a fun workplace and a productive one can be a challenge. Although many managers put the needs of the business ahead of those of the employee, overall workplace satisfaction should be on par with business goals.
In order to maintain employee retention, quality of work and incentive for improvements in work product, business leaders need to find ways to make their employees feel valued. Small gestures are often significant, as many workers spend the majority of their week in the office.
By showing employees that they are respected and appreciated, managers can maintain relationships with their staff.
Encourage open lines of communication
One of the most frustrating aspects of working in a large company is feeling like your opinions and ideas are never heard.
Ensure that workers of any level have someone to go to when they have an issue, an idea, or a question. Whether that’s an HR professional, a manager or a department head, employees need to know their opinions are respected and valued enough to be heard.
Promote from within
Your management and training structure should be organised in a way that allows you to select from current staff for promotions. At all times, those in leadership positions should be aiming to pass on knowledge and skills, and ideally, training opportunities should be available for employees to upskill.
A 2014 Career Builder survey asked workers why they were considering leaving their jobs, and a huge 45 per cent of respondents said it was because they felt dissatisfied with opportunities for advancement. A further 36 per cent said they felt they were overlooked for a promotion.
By ensuring your workers are constantly learning new skills and moving upwards, and by promoting from within with transparent reasons about why the chosen employee was given the position, your staff will see the opportunities for growth, which can greatly improve workplace culture.
Be generous with perks
Sometimes even the littlest things have the biggest impact. For example, an unexpected barista-made coffee on the desk in the morning can put a worker in an upbeat mood for the rest of the day.
Consider bringing in occasional small surprises such as pizzas, coffees, a few packets of biscuits or even a healthier option such as a full fruit bowl. If the team has done particularly well on a job or completed a big project, see if you can let them go a little earlier on a Friday for a perk that will have them smiling all weekend, and feeling a little better about coming back on Monday.
Celebrate personal accomplishments
In the same Career Builder survey, of the workers who had no intention of leaving, one of the top eight reasons for staying was that they felt valued and that their accomplishments were recognised. In fact, a full 29 per cent of those who intended to remain in their jobs said this was the number one reason for staying put.
Don’t overlook any accomplishments, large or small. Encourage others to celebrate successes too, as managers won’t always hear about the smaller wins on the team. You can send around an email, update the company blog or newsletter with the news, or set up a wall or area in the staff room for celebrating such achievements.
Incorporate team building activities
Corporate team building activities and events can work wonders on company culture. They bring together teams, build trust and respect, help people learn to better communicate with one another, and promote new friendships within the workplace across departments and generation gaps.
Looking forward to such events can help employees keep working even through tough or stressful times, and the days and weeks after a successful event are usually full of reminiscing and talking about the day.