We’ve all heard horror stories about people who have worked in offices and jobsites that just leave them feeling constantly out of it. Or about those nightmare employers that never have a good word to say. It’s no coincidence that these places are also the ones that you’ll see a disturbingly high turnover for.
First and foremost, you’ve got to treat your valued employees as if you value them. That’s the cornerstone of good management.
Second, hiring people over and over is a huge drain on finances. According to Bamboo HR, onboarding a new employee, on average, costs about 4,125USD (5424CAD). And on top of that, you can’t measure in dollars the value that having experience at your company has.
So how do you go about being a dream employer instead of a nightmare?
If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…
I’m mostly kidding with that little header there. If you have to lay down the law, do so. No one does well when you tiptoe around an issue. But laying down the law can’t be all that you do. In fact, it should only be a fraction of what you do.
Having a policy of letting people know when they’ve done well, and saying positive things, will really help with employee morale.
It seems obvious, but it’s harder than it sounds. A lot of us have a habit of only speaking up when there’s a problem. This habit can be terrible for employee morale, even if you never get nasty with your employees. If all you hear is what you’ve done wrong, it gets more and more difficult to see yourself as doing much of anything right.
For those of you that don’t necessarily have a habit of giving positive feedback, you may have to institute a plan on how you will. It could be as simple as making a point to email your employees one thing they did great that week every week. It may take some time at first, but as you move along, it will become natural.
It’s not all about compliments, employee delight runs to the core of a person’s personality. You have to get to know your employees and really know what makes them feel fulfilled.
Almost nothing is universal in this regard. You may think “oh well I’ll just implement a bonus program and that will make everyone happy”, but money may not be the primary motivator for all your employees. And even if it is, you shouldn’t just aim for one type of motivation and leave it at that.
For me, while fair compensation is a biggie, something that’s equal in importance is engaging my creativity. If all the work I’m doing just makes me feel like I’m going through the motions, my brain feels like it’s going to atrophy.
For others, it’s about being able to dig deep into the data related to their accounts and really understand how everything works.
Some people like to have company programs that educate staff about advances in their field. This education allows them to feel current, up to date, and effective.
Let’s Get Together
Having friends to support you can make life easier, work life is no exception. Research suggests that having three or more friends at work can help employees feel happier and more invested at work, while also being less likely to leave.
A great way to encourage this is to hold work events that let people get to know each other without the pressure of getting work done.
My suggestion is to offer a variety of events both during and after work hours. Not everyone has time outside of work, while other people would rather keep their work time and leisure time fully separate. Offering these different options give everyone a chance to participate if they want to.
I find another key with this is to also not make this sort of thing have even a hint of being mandatory. Don’t pressure anyone to go and don’t encourage anyone else to do so either. This is going to make the more introverted members of your staff feel like they’ve done something wrong if they decline an event.
At the same time, do extend the invitation if you think no one has done so yet. Just feeling included, even if you don’t want to participate, can go a long way.
One Last Piece of Advice
Listen. Your employees likely have a very good idea of what is good for them in their work environment. If they’re telling you they don’t like how you’re going about handling them or the company, it may be worth figuring out the solution with them.
Or even if they’re not outright saying it, but something clearly isn’t right, just ask them what they feel they need. Not everyone will speak up, but it’s likely someone will, and when you make good on that conversation, others will see that and you can continue to build a culture of support and delight.