Arguably the most important aspect of running a business is the employees who help make it successful. Sure, you already invest in your company with money, but that same effort should also be spent developing your employees. To avoid high turnover rates and unhappy, unmotivated workers, it’s crucial to reward them.
Office culture can be stuffy – full of rules, routine, and long hours. But there are plenty of ways to keep your employees engaged and ready to take on the workday with verve. Here are 7 ways to keep your employees happy and thriving:
1. Offer benefits beyond the basics
Benefits like health insurance and retirement plans are nice, but it might help your company retain more employees if you think outside the box. Consider giving workers gym memberships or transit perks like paying for a bus and trolley pass.
If you already offer paid time off, think about giving your employees unlimited time off. This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually encourages people to be responsible with when and for how long they take vacations. It builds mutual trust between managers and workers to get everything finished on time. Plus, it guards against burnout so your employees will be rested and motivated each day they come in.
These benefits encourage workers because it makes them feel supported and cared for – which is something that can get lost in company culture over time. Your workers are more than just cogs in the machine, so make sure to treat them like it.
2. Encourage a work-life balance
The 9-5 grind can be a gruelling, monotonous routine. This is especially true when you consider the fact that people can be productive during different hours. If your company structure allows for it, you might want to give your workers the opportunity to work flexible schedules – maybe that means coming into the office an hour later or an hour earlier.
Many companies have adopted a “compressed” schedule that you might want to incorporate into your own business. For example, some corporations schedule employees for 9-hour work days so that employees have a 3-day weekend every two weeks. Or, employees can work four 10-hour days and have Fridays off every week.
3. Allow dogs in the workplace
Studies have shown employees who have dogs at the office are less stressed than those who don’t. Having dogs at the office also encourages your workers to take mental breaks to play with the pup or take it for walks. Research also suggests that dog owners who bring in their dogs to the office had overall higher levels of job satisfaction.
4. Host parties for your employees
Around the holidays, consider having a non-denominational holiday party to help all of your employees feel festive and appreciated. You can plan it yourself or consider hiring event management companies to make it a polished soirée. Don’t forget to plan some activities like a White Elephant gift exchange or Secret Santa to make it extra festive.
5. Encourage movement
If you can, consider getting your employees standing desks or an under-the-desk elliptical. Movement helps keeps workers healthier and helps to prevent burn out during long days.
Alternatively, you could give employees the chance to have longer lunches so they can get out of the office, go to the gym, or run errands. Or perhaps, schedule a yoga instructor to hold a yoga class during the lunch hour.
6. Give praise and thanks
This one seems simple, but sometimes it can get swept under the rug. If employees don’t feel valued or appreciated, they’re more likely to leave. Make an effort to have positive interactions with employees and celebrate milestones publicly.
7. Consider getting rid of meetings or having meeting “dead zones”
We’ve all had meetings that could have simply been an email. Did you know that we lose about $37 billion on unproductive meetings every year? Instead of having lots of meetings in the formal sense, think about productive alternatives like chatting in the breakroom or having a session specifically for brainstorming. If you absolutely have to have a meeting, make it structured so there’s a plan (and most importantly, an end).
Consider having “dead zone” periods during the day where no meetings can be scheduled. This allows employees to work uninterrupted and distraction-free.
Keeping your employees happy doesn’t have to be an impossible task. While each of your employees has unique needs and preferences, these tips can help retain more people and keep them engaged so your business continues to thrive for years to come.