Your business policies significantly affect workforce culture. For example, inflexible rules limit innovation and creativity which can limit growth. By implementing policies that promote happiness rather than compliance, employers can improve the workplace environment as well as the bottom line. Read on, to learn about a handful of practical policies that make employees happy.
Implement a Flexible Work Schedule
Employees want flexibility and employers want productivity, it’s easy to see the connection between the two. When an employer encourages her staff to work when it’s best for them, employees are freed up to do their best work. In fact, employers recognized by Best Companies Group as Best Places to Work are significantly more likely to offer flexible hours and telecommuting than those who applied for the accolade but were not recognized.
When designing your company’s policy, be sure to develop guidelines emphasize a sentiment of freedom and responsibility. That is, your employees are free to choose the best working schedule that enables them to meet all of their workplace responsibilities.
Additionally, offering a flexible work environment enables an employer to attract and retain skilled employees from a broader geography. Other benefits include increased employee engagement and morale, which ultimately results in business growth and success.
The Hand That Feeds
Food brings people together, encourages conversation between co-workers and is a great way to reward the team for hard work. It can be fun to surprise your employees just to show you care.
Before you place your order with the local pizza parlor, remember to be conscientious of all your employees. You may have some special dietary needs to take into account - like allergies or vegetarianism - or even cultural considerations, like days of fasting. This is a great opportunity to not only fill some grateful bellies, but to demonstrate that you know and care for your team.
Hold Interactive Meetings
Most businesses have meetings. We use them to communicate and collaborate across departments and in workgroups. Unfortunately, most of us have attended boring meetings that fail to engage. As a manager or leader, you know that team meetings are essential but how can we make this time together meaningful and motivating? Try ditching old meeting models that include minutes, long agendas and a talking-head. Instead, organize collaborative meetings that are about action, context sharing and problem solving. Some tips on creating a more engaging business meeting:
- Start with high energy. Grab your team’s attention by sharing a relevant video clip, asking for a show of hands or using an employee survey and discussing the results.
- Get moving. When employees are reluctant to attend a required meeting, they may arrive with low energy. Keep them on their toes by breaking into discussion groups, or standing/sitting in response to group questions.
- Be inclusive. Speaking up in front of a group can be intimidating for many, and especially when we don’t feel included. Ensure that all activities and discussion include every meeting attendee. Encourage those less vocal to speak up about their opinions.
Catch Them Red Handed
If one of your employees, or a specific team, does a great job on a project, shine a spotlight on their awesomeness. For example, if one of your employees closes a big sale, send an email out to all employees congratulating on a job well done. Or ring a bell in the office and interrupt the flow to make a fuss. Or make an announcement at a company meeting and ask your champion(s) to share the story. Whatever you do, shout it from the rooftops!
Remember that sometimes the jobs that keep the company running smoothly often go unnoticed. Was your office spotless this morning thanks to your cleaning staff? How many days have you gone accident-free? If someone is keeping everything moving along, let everyone know so they can take notice and spread their thanks as well.
Interestingly, taking breaks more often can increase productivity. While many employees may feel buried under deadlines and tasks, others might avoid taking breaks because they think their supervisor values seeing them at their desks. Be a role model! If they see the boss taking a break, they might follow your lead. Start a walking club. Send a quick message, challenging your colleagues to stretch their legs or drink water or tell a joke.
While forcing employees to take breaks might not be the right move, encouraging healthy choices is an important part of leadership.
Make Time For Fun
Celebrate holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. These celebrations don’t have to be expensive or over-the-top. Instead, have a pot luck lunch to celebrate Thanksgiving or bring in cookies for a coworker who just got engaged. One practice we have in our own office is to fill a jar with notes from colleagues on anniversaries. Practices like this get everyone involved, make employees feel appreciated, and don't cost a dime.
Say Thank You
Employers need to express their gratitude daily. Get to know your employees and be sure to thank them for the work they do for the company. Understand that even a small “thank you” or “I appreciate you” can impact employee engagement in real ways.
Collect Employee Feedback With Regular Employee Surveys
When a company asks its employees for their opinions, engagement at that organization tends to increase by 5%. Just asking your employees for feedback moves the needle! It’s important, however, to be choosy about what kind of feedback you collect. Because employees want their employers to take action on their feedback, it’s essential to conduct an employee survey only if the results are valid and actionable. Unfortunately, businesses sometimes make the mistake of using employee surveys to collect data that is irrelevant or impossible to act on. To ensure that your employee feedback data is actionable, ask your survey provider how customers use reports to affect change.
Do you think your team might be ready for an employee survey? Find out when you download this FREE checklist. Our Survey Readiness Checklist helps you to review criteria for survey administration and reporting, communicate clearly with your team about what there is to be gained from a survey project, and
determine organizational readiness for an employee survey.