Are your employees leaving? Is productivity down? Is work place moral low? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. According to a survey taken by UK job board CV Library, of 1,200 workers, more than half were unhappy in their jobs (55.6%). As a manager or business owner, these numbers are worryingly high, but, there is plenty to be done to rectify this and create a productive, positive working environment for your employees.
Show your employees you care
Be open to listening to their ideas and opinions and take them seriously, taking action if needed. This could be as simple as asking what kind of coffee machine they would prefer in the communal kitchen and buying the most popular one, or to being open to criticisms on the work environment and systems. Anything which makes them feel heard helps towards them feeling appreciated and it could improve your practices and help you to find out what is and isn’t working. If employees feel they have to hold their tongues for fear of being ‘in trouble’, they are far more likely to leave.
Flexibility = productivity
Do you need your employees to be sat at their desk at specific times of the day (9 to 5) or can they work from home and take calls on their mobile? We understand that the needs of the business must come first, but by allowing flexibility with things like working hours and working from home, it can increase productivity due to better employee morale, engagement and increased motivation.
Treat all your employees equally
You wouldn’t offer a cup of tea to just one person in your team and not bother to ask anyone else! Small things can add up to become big issues. Make sure your employees are entitled to the same breaks and are not penalised if, for example, they are seen in the kitchen for longer than 5 minutes when they only make 1 cup of coffee per day, but their colleague drinks 6 and takes a few minutes in the kitchen talking and brewing each time! People use their break time differently and this should, within reason, be respected.
Spread the appreciation
No one comes work expecting a gold star for doing their job, but the more appreciated they feel, the more productive they will be. A few ways of showing appreciation to your employees can be things like organising social events which happen after particularly busy times of the year.
There are also lots of benefits schemes you can sign up to online which provide discounts on stores and cinema tickets. These little perks are a good way of adding extra benefits with no additional expectations from employees, showing you care about their wellbeing and happiness, inside and outside of work.
Monetary benefits like bonuses and commission of course go a long way in making employees feel appreciated and if you’re able to offer them, ensure they know exactly what they need to do to achieve them.
Provide training and new opportunities for all employees
Some people are happy to come into work and do their job with no desires for promotion or progression, however others, such as new graduates and those looking for experience at the beginning of their careers, want training, new opportunities to prepare them for the next step on their career ladder.
When taking on employees who are motivated to progress, make sure you are providing opportunities for them to learn new skills, such as sending them on courses, letting them work in different teams and giving them achievable goals with rewards such as bonuses, progression and more responsibility.
Be honest when interviewing these kinds of candidates, if you say there is opportunity for progression in the role, and they find after working for a year they are not able to change job title, get a pay rise or become fully responsible for a role, they will want to seek work elsewhere. If you have not awarded them with a progression opportunity or promotion due to their own performance, have a formal performance review with them and explain why they aren’t hitting the targets or goals you are expecting and what they can do to improve in order to progress in their career.
Build your employee’s confidence
Mistakes will be made, it’s how your employees learn and develop, even old hands will slip up occasionally. Mistakes are only a problem when they are made again and again, what shatters confidence is when a manager picks on small mistakes and doesn’t acknowledge the bigger picture where the employee has been working hard, learning and adding value to the team.
When you need to tell an employee about a mistake or give some criticisms, make sure that you have suggestions for improvements as well as some positive feedback about what they are doing well. Ask them if it would help to have someone check over certain aspects of their work for a while to build confidence when eventually doing it on their own.
Approach these conversations with an open mind, if an experienced employee is suddenly making lots of uncharacteristic mistakes, there could be something going on in their personal lives causing their lack of concentration. If you suspect this, take a human approach and ask if there is anything you or the company can do to help and support them.
Nurture new employees
When taking on new employees, encourage them to talk to you and arrange regular catch ups to discuss any issues and provide feedback as well as ask questions if they need to. Be willing to answer questions from them even when you are under pressure, if you can’t answer it at that moment, do not ignore them! It can really make someone feel small and even stupid when a question is ignored. Instead tell them you will get back to them once you have finished what you're doing, then answer their question when you can.
No one should come into a team and be told ‘we don’t make mistakes in this team’, it puts added pressure on the person to fit in instantly and if they do make a mistake they are more likely to hide it and try to fix it themselves rather than get the help and support they need from their colleagues.
When taking on a new employee in a team, try and arrange a social event such as a team lunch as soon as possible from when they start. They will be so busy learning the ropes for the first few weeks and by taking them out of the office, factory, laboratory etc. it will give them a chance to get to know their new colleagues and make friends.
The good news is that out of the 1,200 employees who took CV Library’s survey, 63.9% felt that the best way to begin improving their situation was to talk to their managers, not hand in their notice! This means there is a good chance that by making some small changes now, it is likely you will retain your staff in the future.