As a business owner, there are a lot of factors for you to keep in mind in order for your company to run smoothly. From setting up the right business structure through finding funding and the right location all the way to investing in the best marketing strategies that will attract people, your job is all but simple.
However, one vital aspect that can, under no circumstances, be overlooked is your workforce. Employees are a company’s biggest asset and you have to treat them as such. They are the ones that deal directly with your clients and encourage them to make a purchase and come back for more. Without them, there would be no satisfied customers that keep your business afloat.
With that in mind, it is your job to make the employees in your company as content as possible if you want them to be loyal and stay in your employ. To help you out, we’ve made a list of some of the things that workers appreciate the most at the workplace. Take a look below and do your best to provide your workforce with these essentials.
Having a positive and supportive environment
In order to retain your workers, you need to create an environment where they feel welcome, pleasant and supported. This is best achieved by having a company culture from day one. If you don’t have an HR department in your company, you can consult with specialists that will help you do this right.
Making employees feel good and valued should start at the first interview. Your hiring process should highlight everything that you are able to offer and how you can help them develop. Once you hire them, show that you are always on their side and that you are there to tackle any problem they might encounter.
Finally, a supportive environment also needs to make them feel safe. You need to know how to handle conflict and settle disputes. Employees need to know that you are on their side and that they will not be discriminated against or fired for no reason whatsoever.
Being recognized for their hard work
A part of being supportive is recognizing their good work. Every small victory needs to be acknowledged and those bigger ones celebrated and rewarded in some way. For instance, you can throw an office party after a huge project has been successfully finished. If a certain team member played a large part in the success of an assignment, they can receive a special reward or be named employee of the month. In certain cases, even effort needs to be appreciated, as that will make the workforce feel valued and they will want to be even better.
Opportunities to improve and advance
During the hiring phase, you should inform your potential employees about all the ways how they can grow while in your company. If there is a chance to climb up the career ladder, they need to know what is expected of them and how long it might take until they are promoted. Show them how you plan on expanding your business further and how they can play a vital role. They also want to see the company succeed so they will be more than willing to work with you and improve themselves in order to aid you with this whole endeavour seeing as how that will help them advance as well.
Expanding their knowledge and skill set
In addition to encouraging and allowing them to grow, you should also reward them by sending them to various seminars and classes that will widen their skillset. Training them to do their job properly is essential but playing an active role in expanding their knowledge is even more important as it shows that you are invested in them and plan on having them work for you in the long run. Whether it’s organizing a foreign language course for all your employees or helping the best of them reach a goal in order to advance, there are many ways how you can aid development.
A pleasant workspace
Even if you can’t work out a way to add all of these amenities to the premises, you can work on making it as pleasant as possible. Start by designating a room to breaks and meals. You can add a couple of quality office coffee machines, a fridge where the workers can hold their food and a microwave where they can heat it up. In addition to a table and chairs for meals and a comfy sofa and maybe some bean bag chairs for chilling, you can also bring in a TV and video game console so that your hardworking employees can take a break, take their mind off work and recharge their batteries.
Other than this, make sure there is enough natural light as that boosts their mood and motivation. If you are not fortunate enough to get plenty of sunlight, install light bulbs that imitate natural light as that will lower the eye strain and headaches. Then, set a temperature for the office that suits everyone. Furthermore, from reducing the distractions by soundproofing your premises and handing out noise-cancelling headphones to decorating the place with greenery that has plenty of benefits, there are a lot of things you can do to make the workplace more pleasant.
Healthy and open communication
Another thing that is highly appreciated among employees is clear communication. A big part of your company culture should be the way you relay information among your workforce. Make sure your company is transparent and open. Let your workers know what is expected of them and how they are supposed to deal with certain issues. Set up a chain of command early on so that they know who to turn to when they encounter an obstacle. Implement various channels of communication, from email and instant messaging to face-to-face conversations. What is more, bad communication leads to failure. If the employees are not sure what is expected of them, they disengage and become unproductive. Furthermore, misunderstandings ensue, which can, in turn, result in conflict and a negative workplace environment.
A degree of autonomy
While there will be a need to train and supervise them in the beginning, you need to understand that you have to stop hovering over your employees’ shoulders during every single task. Micromanaging can also lead to more mistakes and the supervisors are losing precious time which they could use for their own assignments. Learn to believe that your workforce has been properly trained and that they know what they are doing. Autonomy to a certain degree is very welcome as the employees will see that you trust them; just establish which decisions they are allowed to make on their own and on which they have to consult the higher-ups.
Fostering inclusion and diversity
A big aspect of building a positive environment is fostering diversity and inclusion. There is no way that the workspace will be pleasant and encouraging if certain groups of people feel unwelcome and are excluded. Diversity refers to employing people from all walks of life – a variety of genders, races, ethnicities and ableness. While many companies are devoted to hiring a diverse workforce, they often stop there. Don’t let this happen to you too – be inclusive as well. This is a conscious effort you have to make in order to reap all the benefits that such a diverse group of team members can bring. Emphasize this need for inclusion among your workers, invest in diversity training and create resource groups where various topics can be discussed.
Something else to think about is making the premises as employee-friendly as possible. That means taking into account everything that your workforce might need while on the job and offering all the services that you can work into your budget. First of all, create a space that is easily accessible. Regardless of whether any of your current employees have disabilities, you need to have wheelchair ramps and lifts and toilets that are accessible to everyone.
Moreover, you can conduct a survey among your employees to see which other amenities and services they would appreciate. For instance, some people prefer to stand while working so set them up with height-adjustable desks. Ergonomic equipment should be a must as well, so don’t even question whether this is something they need. Parking that is close by is definitely a good thing to have.
Perhaps some of them have children but no one to watch them while they are working. In that case, you can offer childcare and have someone look after the kids. Maybe they would like to bring their pets to the office, maybe they expect a gym on the premises or maybe they’d like a cafeteria. While it’s possible that you don’t have the funds to make all of this happen, there are compromises you can make like hiring a yoga specialist to hold classes a few times a week or providing them with healthy snacks and drinks from a local vendor.
We mentioned earlier rewards in the form of learning opportunities and close parking. However, there are so many rewards you can offer to your valued employees. You can conduct a poll to see what they would appreciate the most but keep in mind that a salary increase and a bonus check might be the top choices. It’s normal that you can’t provide them with such a thing on a regular basis, which is why you should understand that there are many other types of rewards. For example, think about giving them free gym memberships in case you can’t build one on the office premises or at least offer them a membership with a discount. Organize company outings and encourage them to invite their families. Perhaps a nice trip to a nearby amusement park can be a nice way to bond and show your appreciation. A coupon to the spa will come in handy for some hard workers. Tailor the rewards to the needs of your workers.
Flexible working arrangements
Among the rewards you can offer is a flexible working arrangement. For example, if your office is open 24/7 or not too time-dependent, you should allow your employees to craft their own schedule. Maybe they don’t have to work from nine to five – maybe they prefer working at night or in the evening. As long as everything is done on time, you should have no issue with this. On the other hand, some team members might need to work from home for a few days because they, their child or elderly parent is not feeling well. Technology has made remote work very easy so if your industry allows it, let them work without coming into the office. Do your best to grant them days off if they have doctor’s appointments or something similar. A good balance between work and their personal life is vital and is something that contributes to a positive mindset among the workforce.
Listening to employees’ needs and suggestions
Finally, in order for any of these suggestions to be fruitful, you need to listen to your employees. We mentioned multiple times that you need to consult with your workforce and ask for their opinions on things. This goes not only for the rewards you plan on introducing but also for their opinion on various business moves you make. While they do not have executive power, maybe some of them will help you see the other side of the coin in a certain situation or come up with a creative plan that is beneficial for reaching your goals. Then, if they are complaining about the atmosphere in the workplace, are concerned about a conflict or worry about the outcome of a particular project, you need to make them feel heard and work on solving the issue they are facing. Regularly talk to them, give out surveys and let them make anonymous suggestions to make them feel safe.
These twelve are just some of the things that are appreciated by the employees. From making space practical, accessible, and pleasant to making them feel seen, valued, and rewarded, you have a lot to think about.