Motivated employees can make all the difference when it comes to running a successful business.
But keeping staff morale high isn’t always easy. A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claims that 62% of people are unhappy with their jobs.
And it says 71% feel disengaged at work while a quarter are looking for another job. Part of the problem seems to be stress, with 62% of employees saying they feel under pressure every day and 41% saying they experience excessive pressure at least once a week.
So how do you make sure your own workforce feel happy about coming to work?
1. Be a good communicator
- Give positive feedback. When people do things well, tell them and if you do have anything negative to say then make sure it is constructive. Giving people regular feedback will help them feel valued and part of the team.
- Nip conflict in the bud. Any negative feelings in the work environment can have a huge effect on staff productivity and morale. Keep an eye out for any potential character clashes or bullying and make sure this is tackled as early as possible.
- Be clear. Make sure each person's responsibilities and tasks are clear to them and that their targets are realistic. Most people take pride in their work, particularly if they understand how it contributes to the overall success of the business, so make sure they see the bigger picture and how important their work is.
- Listen. Take the time to listen to your staff and you'll have a better understanding of how to motivate them - your motivator might not be the same as theirs. You'll also have a better understanding on what frustrates them at work, whether it's a process that isn't working or how to manage their time better. This can help you to address those concerns (where possible), making your staff feel like they've been heard and empowered to help change the business for the better.
2. Respect people’s work/life balance
- Assess workloads. Keep an eye on how many hours your employees are working and if you see that there are members of your team who are taking too much on, make sure other staff help out and take some of the pressure off them.
- Be flexible. Allowing people to work flexibly where appropriate will help them see that you realise their home life is important to them and that you are willing to accommodate their needs.
3. Invest in your staff
- Give rewards and incentives. Offering some sort of reward or incentive is a great way of raising staff morale. Whether it is giving a bonus, a pay rise, a present at Christmas or offering employees an extra day off on their birthday, these kind of rewards will help your team enjoy being part of your company. Other ideas include allowing staff time off to carry out voluntary work that interests them or offering treats to people who manage to hit their targets. Even a simple one-off act like buying everyone in the office breakfast will raise a smile and help your staff realise that you care.
- Provide training. This can make your staff feel that they have a future with your company. Discuss training with each member of staff at regular intervals and prioritise what they need to learn or develop. If they need to go on a course, involve them in researching the most appropriate course. But don't forget on-the-job training either - sometimes this can be more relevant and valuable. Do you or other members of your team have skills that you can share to benefit the rest of your workforce?
4. Be creative
The phrase ‘team-building’ can strike horror in some people, but it’s not all about wacky events and outdoor pursuits. Judge what will work for your team and make steps to bring them closer together. You could hire a meeting room and provide refreshments once a week to either brainstorm or give staff a chance to chat and get to know each other better.
Respect that some employees are not keen on out-of-hours socialising and may have busy home lives, so this type of get-together will ensure they don’t miss out on building friendships in the office.
5. Lead by example
Treat your staff as you want to be treated. As a leader for your company, workers will pick up on how you behave and interact, so it's important for you to set the standards and live up to your company's values. How can you demand punctuality from your staff if you're continually late? Same goes for enthusiasm, work commitment and respect.
6. Give them a good working environment
See our post on creating a happy workspace. As staff spend a good portion of their waking hours at work, getting this right - or wrong - can have a big impact on how happy your staff are.