Regardless of how big or small your company may be, there is likely room for improvement. For many companies, employee retention is key to growing a profitable business. When you have high employee turnover, it makes it challenging to focus on growth and expansion. Take a look at these company improvement suggestions with major impact on keeping employees satisfied and happy in the workplace.
1. Allow for Employee Autonomy
By giving employees autonomy to do their job, you are letting them know that you trust and value them. When your employees enter the workplace, it's to do a job. So, let them do it. You don't need to micromanage people. A recent study found that the higher levels of autonomy a worker experienced, the higher their sense of job satisfaction and well being. The more you allow them to be autonomous, the more productive they become. If an employee is regularly required to get permission to complete tasks or finalize jobs, they won't learn to make important decisions on their own.
Giving employees autonomy occasionally leads to mistakes or decisions you wouldn't have authorized, but it isn't the end of the world. We can all learn from our mistakes, but if we're never allowed to make them, we can't grow as individuals. As long as work is being done, deadlines are met, and the company's profits are increasing, there's no need for constantly looking over the shoulder of your employees.
2. Make Use of Employee Feedback
Your employees are an invaluable resource. They know your company as well as you do. It's your employees that are completing the day-to-day operations of your business, and they know what could be improved upon. Listen to their suggestions and take their feedback seriously. Create an online portal that allows people to submit their ideas for improvement. They should be allowed to do this both anonymously or with their name attached. Then, acknowledge suggestions at employee meetings or during brainstorming sessions.
If someone comes up with a really good idea, don't be afraid to implement it and see how it works out. This not only leads to great improvements within your company but also lets your team members know that their ideas are important and valued.
3. Assist Your Team Members in Reaching Goals
Setting goals is a good way to hold yourself accountable. Not everyone is adept at setting goals, however. Make sure that you are encouraging your team members to not only set realistic, obtainable goals but also to be specific with those goals. What you don't want are vague goals like " I want to increase sales." Instead, try something like "I want to increase sales by 25% in the next three months." You want to ensure that employees are setting realistic timelines for meeting their goals.
If they don't give themselves enough time, it could cause increased stress, resulting in decreased productivity. On the other hand, offering too much time to reach a goal will not create the momentum needed to increase productivity and success. If team members reach their goals early or better yet exceed their goals, you could celebrate by doing something special for them. Once goals have been reached, it's time to set new ones and start all over again.
4. Encourage Relationships Among Coworkers
When you establish comradery within the office, you'll have fewer employees missing work, and the environment will be pleasant for everyone. If you have certain employees that just don't mesh well together, it's not a bad thing to allow them to work in different departments or areas of the office. You want to make coming in to work enjoyable, and if people are working with their friends, they will feel better about showing up each day.
Even the boss or supervisor should have a good relationship with their employees. You don't want them to hear dead silence the minute they walk into the room. Encourage them to talk with employees about their personal lives, ask them questions about their family, and tell jokes or incorporate humor in some way. These are great ways to help people feel comfortable talking to their boss.
5. Organize Team Building Exercises
If you tell your employees that you've planned some team building exercises, you might hear a few groans. However, these are a great way to encourage people to work together. There are many places that you could go outside of work to have fun and build team spirit among coworkers.
Try scheduling some time at an escape room or plan a boot camp style event where employees have to work together to find a treasure or reward of some kind. With so much work being done at a desk behind a computer screen, people don't always get to know each other very well. Team building exercises are a great way to alleviate this problem.
6. Hold Walking Meetings
Meeting with your employees, for whatever reason, is important. Whether you have something to discuss with them or they need to vent about a workplace problem to you, always encourage them to be open with their communication. A good way to reduce stress during meetings with individuals or small groups is to get out of the office. Take a walk and discuss your business on the move. Even if you aren't able to go outdoors, just getting up and moving around will create a more relaxed environment. The exercise and fresh air will foster easy communication.
7. Be Flexible
Many places of business are open 7 days a week and hold hours that extend beyond a normal 40-hour workweek. This means that employees are required to work weekends, late nights, or even holidays. This can make it challenging for them to fit in time to relax and unwind. Be flexible in your expectations. While employees want to work and enjoy a sense of accomplishment in the workplace, they also have lives outside of work. Make sure you are acknowledging this and allowing them to have time off when they really need it.
As long as you have engaged employees that are working hard, you have to remain flexible when attempting to complete tasks. You could even allow employees to work from home if the situation allowed for it. If a person knows what is expected of them, they will do their best to get it done.
8. Personalize the Work Environment
The days of white walls and gray cubicles are over. If you want to create a work environment that makes people feel comfortable and increases employee engagement, you need to personalize the work environment. This could mean a variety of things from giving new employees a small budget to decorate their own workspace to letting them bring in their own things from home to put up around the office, such as photos, lamps, or pillows. Regardless of how you choose to do it, the office needs to be a place that contributes to the high-performance you expect from your team.
9. Celebrate the Good
All too often we get caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. Long term, this can negatively affect a work environment. To help curb this problem, take a different approach. Try celebrating the good side of things that might otherwise be construed as bad. For example, when an employee takes a job with a new company, instead of feeling down about losing them, celebrate their success and new position. Have a congratulations party, not a going away party.
Other ways to turn a potentially negative situation into something good are calling attention to an employee that made a mistake and thanking them for teaching everyone how not to do something. When a deadline gets missed, you could celebrate the parts of the project that were completed on time. Try to stay focused on the positive.
10. Volunteer Together in the Community
Volunteering in your community gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Figure out what your employees' interests or hobbies are and try to plan community volunteer work around those interests. For example, if some of your employees enjoy being outdoors, you could plan a trash cleanup day somewhere in the community. Maybe one of your team members has an elderly parent or grandparent in a care facility. You could get some people together to make gift baskets or stop by and spend time visiting with seniors in the facility.
Working together a group to do something good will create a bond between coworkers, as well as help them create a fun memory together. Doing something good for the community will make everyone happier and help to increase employee retention. It also shows that you care about more than just your business and profits.
11. Create a Reward and Accountability Program
Some employers are afraid to acknowledge those employees that are really increasing the bottom line, but they shouldn't be. Creating a reward program within your company will encourage employees to strive for excellence. Try sending out a special email acknowledging when an employee or department reaches a specific goal. If someone is doing exceptionally well, have everyone at work thank them for their efforts. This might not seem like much, but letting people know that they are valued and appreciated by the whole team, not just the boss, goes a long way.
Have team members create their own accountability program to show their accomplishments. They can track sales or completed projects on a board that everyone can see. This ensures they have a record of things they have done that others can see and shows how hard they have worked for it.
Every company has room for improvement. Use this list to create a company that people want to work for.