There’s a clear link between staff satisfaction and business success, says Sarah Patten. Here’s how to maximise both
Happiness equals productivity: that is the conclusion of a group of academics from the University of Warwick.
In fact, the 2014 study reveals that happiness can make workers 12 per cent more productive – a statistic that is hard for employers to ignore.
After all, if a positive outlook makes such a difference to staff performance, an investment in staff morale will certainly pay dividends.
So, if you’re looking to cheer up your team, here are nine ideas to get you started:
1. Say thank you
As simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to make staff feel appreciated is to express gratitude for what they’re doing. This needn’t involve grand gestures: a simple ‘thank you’ can work wonders for morale.
If an employee goes above and beyond the call of duty, though, consider rewarding their effort with a small gift or bonus. Not only will they appreciate the gesture. The good will is also likely to ripple throughout your workforce.
2. Give your people a voice
Encourage workers to be open about any problems or challenges they face. If they need to let off steam, take time to listen. And if they need you to take action, reassure them that you will.
As Just Recruitment Director Peter Foy points out, there are additional benefits to giving your staff a say. “Your employees are at the coalface of your organisation, and can provide invaluable insights into its efficiencies and shortcomings. Be sure to take these on board: it will make your people feel valued, and may help you improve business performance.”
3. Remind your staff why they do what they do
When your daily work involves sitting behind a desk, despondency can easily set in. That is why it’s important to remind your employees of the value of their work.
“Any role, no matter where it falls in the company hierarchy, and no matter what it entails, makes a difference to your company’s success.” says Peter Foy “For example, a payroll coordinator replenishes staff bank accounts, and allows bills to be paid. A receptionist creates a vital first impression that reflects on the whole organisation. And a manager has the power to motivate staff, resolving problems that would otherwise escalate. Remind your staff of the purpose and importance of their work in the grand scheme of things, and be sure to help them perform to the best of their ability.”
4. Encourage breaks
In a modern workplace, it can be hard to tear yourself away from the daily grind. When your phone is ringing and your inbox is filling up, it’s all too easy to eat lunch at your desk – meaning little or no downtime.
This culture, though, can have consequences beyond a keyboard full of crumbs.
“Breaks are essential to employee productivity,” says Mr Foy. “Not only can time away from your desk increase concentration, motivation and energy levels, but it also provides a chance to socialise with colleagues – all of which plays a major role in boosting staff morale by creating a strong team atmosphere.”
5. Set office hours – and stick to them
Although it sounds counterintuitive, long hours are another huge hindrance to productivity. And in many modern professions, overtime has become an embedded part of company culture.
If you’d like to increase workplace morale, consider breaking the mould. Encourage staff to leave on time, and make it clear that there is no need for them to work beyond their contracted hours. Lead by example, too: if managers and senior employees leave work on time, it sets the tone for the rest of the workforce.
6. Recognise your staff as people
A sure fire way to make your employees feel valued is to treat them as people first, and employees second.
As Sales Manager, Donna West points out, “At its most basic level, this can be as simple as remembering people’s names, and showing an interest in their lives. To take this a step further, you could organise social events outside of the office, and involve employees’ families.”
7. Encourage personal development
Offer your people training and development opportunities, and your business will reap the rewards.
Staff training can be a real morale-booster: it equips employees with the skills they need to confidently carry out their roles, and opens the door to career progression. Perhaps most importantly, though, it sends the message that your staff are worth the investment.
8. Offer employment incentives
According to a study by Capita, 66 per cent of employees would be more likely to stay with a company that offered good employment perks. Which offers a compelling case to review your organisation’s benefits package.
“Life insurance, private health cover, subsidised childcare, gym membership, car allowances and generous maternity pay: these are all incentives that can increase employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention,” says Ms. West. “When creating a benefits package, though, it is always important to consider the profile of your workforce, and the benefits that are likely to be the most attractive to them.”
9. Provide leisure facilities
If space and budget allow, consider incorporating leisure and relaxation facilities into your office design. A small gym, for example, to encourage staff away from their desks, or breakout areas in which to unwind. Or, if your staff work long or unsociable hours, you should set aside some space for them to nap.
Facilities such as these reinforce your commitment to employee wellbeing, and again help to engender loyalty and commitment.
As this list demonstrates, there are plenty of ways to increase staff morale. Whether you’re operating on a shoestring or have cash to spare, always put your employees at the centre of your business. You’ll all reap the rewards for many years to come.
© 2017 Just Recruitment Group Ltd.
Posted on Thursday Jan 12