Whether you are a business owner or an employee working in a management role, it’s important to remember that a happy workplace results in higher productivity, fewer attendance issues, and better results on your balance sheet. In fact, you could easily go as far as to say that focusing on your employees’ happiness is one of the most effective methods of improving your business.
With this in mind, we’re going to take you through a few of the best things you can do to encourage and support your employees or teams and ensure your company is a great place to work and more productive as a result. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know…
Be in plain sight
If you’re the type of manager or business owner that likes to keep yourself hidden away from underlings, it’s probably best you think again. The reality for leadership teams is that employees far prefer their bosses to be out in the open and visible. There are a couple of reasons why. Firstly, it shows that leaders are taking a genuine interest in what their workers are doing, and secondly, because it shows you are putting in the hours, too. If you want people to care about your business or department, you need to show that you do as well.It doesn’t take much - a daily walk around to find out what people are up to takes no time or effort, and it can make a big difference to employee morale.
As a business leader, you must strive to earn your employee’s trust. Mistakes or forgetfulness can be forgiven, but a lack of honesty will disrupt the harmony in your workplace by a significant amount - not to mention damaging your relationships and reputation. It is critical that you are truthful at all times with your staff, and always do what you said you would in a fair and even-handed way. It can be more difficult than you think, because you will need to get tough at times, especially when it comes to disciplinary issues, for example, and there will be people that you may not get on with on a personal level. Employers and leaders who are honest and always act with integrity will be respected by the vast majority of their employees - and once you earn that respect you will find your team is a lot more productive for you.
Don’t play the VIP
Another way of losing the respect of your employees is by showing a lack of respect towards them. You might think you are Mr, Ms, Mx or Mrs Big Shot, but if you act like that in front of your team, it won’t go down well. Sure, you’ve done well to get where you are today, but that doesn’t mean you get to treat people in a lower rank as a lower form of human. As we mentioned above, give people respect and they will react far more positively towards you and what you need them to do.
Encourage health and fitness
Millions of days are lost every year to sickness and health issues. And unless you want your team to contribute to those figures, it’s essential that you take your employee’s wellness seriously. There’s only so much you can do, of course, but a healthy workplace environment that promotes wellbeing is a good start. Think about trading in your sugary snack vending machine for something more healthy like fruit or nuts - you can see the type of thing to look for over at AssociatedCoffee.com. You can also try arranging discounted membership at local gyms, and perhaps start a scheme at work that allows an employee an hour off each week to work on their fitness. Don’t forget about mental health issues, too, which can result in problems like presenteeism, and cause a real strain on the workplace’s productivity.
Ensure a safe workplace
General workplace safety is equally important to productivity as health and wellness. People that work in a safe and comfortable workplace are more productive - it’s really as simple as that.To get started, make sure you have a robust training programme in place to ensure your employees understand all the different safety aspects of their jobs. Your health and safety policy needs to be watertight, too, to protect you and your employees from potential legal action in the event of an accident at work. You and your workers will have less to worry about, and will be happier and more productive as a result.
Give better feedback
On the subject of wellness, one of the easiest things you can do is start giving employees regular feedback. Mental health professionals recommend giving consistent feedback to reduce potential problems and helping staff improve performance. Make sure you are fair and consistent, of course - as we discussed above. And when giving feedback, it’s important to focus on the positives, rather than using it as a platform for disciplining employees.
Promote learning, not failure
No business wants to fail, of course. But every time an employee make a mistake you should make it clear it will go towards a bigger pool of learning experiences, rather than admonishing or disciplining them. You learn nothing from being a success all the time, and people learn a lot more by making mistakes. It’s important to allow that space to prevent your employees being virtually paralyzed by a fear of failure. The result will be a group of workers more willing to come up with creative and innovative ways to solve problems, and embrace the potential of failing as learning instead. And another thing to consider is that it failure isn’t always down to people alone. There could - just as easily - be a weakness in your workplace system that is direct cause of mistakes and failure occurring, so make that clear, and you will find people are happier to make braver and more creative choices.
OK, so there you have it - put these tips into place for a happier, more productive work environment. Do you have any advice to add? Feel free to leave your tips in the comments section below!