How Employers Can Keep Their Employees Happy Longer
There are numerous barometers of a company’s success or lack thereof. The most obvious ones tend to involve a profit and loss statement or a balance sheet. But when it comes to judging how well you’re managing your internal processes, you should consider overall employee happiness.
Change is daunting for many people. If someone is content at their job, they are far less likely to leave, even if higher-paid opportunities exist elsewhere. Keeping your employees happy thus saves you from both knowledge drain and expensive recruitment costs.
But employee happiness can impact far more than just your turnover rate. If employees are satisfied with their workplace, they will be far more efficient and productive. In other words, keeping your employees content for as long as possible will do nothing but benefit your business.
1. Keep Your Benefits Competitive
With employers desperately competing for qualified employees, it is no longer enough to offer minimal benefits. Twenty years ago, administering a small business 401k plan without employer matches might have been considered a reasonable retirement benefit. But with the number of employers now offering some form of employer contribution, employees have come to expect more than the bare bones.
When workers realize your company’s benefits don’t measure up, they will start looking around to see what else might be available. And while it’s certainly difficult for small businesses to compete with the powerhouse benefits offered by big employers, there are options.
Supplemental methods can go a long way toward boosting the value of a subpar benefit and staying competitive. Let’s say the only group health insurance available in your price range comes with extremely high deductibles. You can ease your employees’ concerns by making contributions to their health savings accounts.
This option is not only much more affordable than high-end insurance, it’s also beneficial for all employees regardless of health. Workers who are more likely to require regular medical care can use the HSA funds to cover those expenses. Individuals who rarely need such care have the option to invest their HSA money as an alternative retirement fund.
Make sure, however, that you explain what you’re doing for your employees and how it positively impacts them on a personal level. If your employees don’t understand the value of your actions, they are less likely to appreciate them.
2. Offer Opportunities for Advancement
A major factor in employees’ happiness is the expectation that their hard work will lead to higher quality of life. Without that prospect, employees are far more likely to leave. So, what can you do to make your employees secure in the knowledge that their efforts will be rewarded in the future?
First of all, try to lay out a clear path for advancement early on with each employee. “Early on” can even be during the interview process. Employees want to know where they’re going and have something to look forward to. Try to determine not only future salary ranges, but also the timeline for achieving them. This should be coupled with corresponding expectations for the employee’s performance.
But what if you have someone in a position with no natural advancement path? If you hire a receptionist at a small architectural firm, there might not be advanced positions within their skill set.
In a situation like this, you can take the time to inquire about your receptionist’s career goals. If they are content in their current position on a long-term basis but would like regular pay increases, set expectations accordingly.
If they express interest in taking on a different role, such as becoming a drafter, you can see whether that can be reasonably accommodated. You might offer partial reimbursement of CAD training courses or provide in-house education for drafting. Alternatively, you could ensure a placement in that position if they choose to get the necessary training on their own.
It might seem illogical to offer to train your receptionist out of a position you need them for. But by taking an interest in your employee’s success, you can positively affect their happiness and appreciation toward your company. Whether they embark on additional training or not, they are likely to stay with you longer and provide higher-quality work.
3. Don’t Let Workplace Culture Be an Afterthought
For employees who don’t work remotely, there’s a definite possibility they spend more waking hours at work than at home. If that is the case with your team members, you need to assess your workplace culture and how it affects morale.
By creating a supportive, non-toxic workplace, your employees are more likely to be happy coming to work every day. Unfortunately, creating this type of atmosphere is not a one-time thing. To reinforce these efforts, company leaders must regularly discuss the culture and expected behaviors that support it. Even more importantly, these expectations must apply to everyone, especially those in leadership positions.
There are a multitude of activities you can host that can contribute to your envisioned workplace environment. Events held during the workday should ideally be designed to cause minimal disruption to productive work. You can host “lunch and learns” where you cater a meal and deliver training or lead discussions on trends in your industry. Such gatherings allow for socialization while providing useful information either for business or personal use.
For outside-of-work team building, you can host a weekend event or holiday party. Depending on what your team prefers, you can even design events to be family-friendly. Building and nurturing positive relationships within your team leads to better communication and overall happiness. And if you’re concerned with the cost of hosting such events, remember that employee picnics and holiday parties are 100% tax deductible.
You don’t need to bend over backward and accommodate your employees’ every desire just to encourage workplace happiness. Most improvements can be made through better communication and an emphasis on supporting your team members’ preferences and goals. With these things in mind, you can make strong advancements in creating an environment where your employees feel valued.