Most managers know that one of the best ways to boost productivity –and raise profits, is by cultivating a happy and satisfied workforce.
Having a team that’s switched on and ready to go can benefit a company in more ways than one. Not only can it lead to higher-than-average levels of productivity, it will also mean that your team in the customer service department or on the ground floor working directly with clients, will be more likely to provide stellar customer service. It will also result in a lower turnover rate: a happy team is also less likely to jump ship and look for another job. Plus, creating a great work environment means that you’ll have more top talent beating a path to your door.
The benefits of a happy workforce are clear, but practically speaking, improve employee morale is a bit more difficult. Finding that perfect balance that allows you to keep workers happy, while at the same time preventing you from wasting money on efforts that will largely go unnoticed or underappreciated can seem like a challenge, but the results are more than worth it.
Here’s a look at some simple ways that you can improve your team’s morale –and make your workplace one that’s buzzing with motivated and energized employees.
1. Lose the Jerks
A toxic work environment isn’t good for anyone, and will only drag everyone down. Make sure you carefully screen applicants –not just on their technical capabilities, but also on soft-skills. Hiring people on the basis of how well they get along with others or how well they hold up under pressure are in many ways just as important as how much experience an applicant has had.
“Don’t become pigeonholed into thinking the person with the exact necessary experience is the right person for the role,” says Tom Gimbel, CEO and founder of staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network. “Consider soft skills — like interpersonal skills, communication skills, thought processes and emotional intelligence — because they matter.”
2. Do Away With Wasteful Meetings
Countless hours are wasted every month with unnecessary meetings. This drain on productivity is significant when you consider that having every one of your 10 or 20 team members in your office for an hour each week isn’t just an hour that’s lost, it’s the equivalent of 10-20 work hours! Instead of a standard weekly meeting, consider holding five-minute meetings with the individuals on an as-needed basis. For other issues, email is a great way to quickly and efficiently communicate important information.
3. Find Out What Your Team Wants
Don’t waste resources on benefits that your team isn’t interested in. Free gifts, discount codes, and the like mean very little to a worker, if, for instance, the workplace is full of inefficiency and frustrations. Instead, spend some time getting to know your team. Finding out what interests them and motivates them, as well as what frustrates them will help you to provide them with a better environment, while allowing you to work to eliminate the common causes of stress.
4. Give Decent Bonuses
Giving bonuses to your team can tremendously boost your employee morale. A 2013 Harvard Business School study discovered that giving clear, unconditional, and unexpected financial gifts to employees leads to higher productivity. In fact, their researchers state that, “Gifts are roughly as efficient as hiring more workers.”
5. Invest in Their Growth
The best companies are committed to providing their team with training, and encouraging them to invest in their professional skills or to further their education. If applicable, consider implementing a ‘flexible hours’ policy for workers who are taking night classes. You may also want to reimburse staff, even in part, for their extra training or tuition for college courses that they take. Starbucks is leading the way on this front, offering their employees tuition reimbursement in partnership with Arizona State University.
6. Offer Opportunities for Advancement
Providing room to grow is a great way to encourage and motivate your team. It’s always a good idea to try to seek talent from within, giving your workers a chance to climb the ranks instead of always looking to recruit applicants from outside your company for management positions. Along with additional responsibilities, make sure you give them a wage increase to compensate for the extra work.
7. Encourage Feedback
Finally, don’t just say that you care about your workers, put your words into action. Asking your team for input and suggestions can help you to discover ways that you can make life easier for your team. You may even find that some of your best ideas come from your team that’s on the ground; the ones that are dealing with the issues every day.
While it may be difficult to know where to start when it comes to motivating your workers, even taking small steps in the right direction can offer excellent rewards. The important thing is to focus on creating an environment that’s positive, one that encourages your team to reach their full potential, and to ensure that you hire people that are driven to excel, and whose goals are aligned with your company’s. Then work on offering incentives for growth. In doing so you’ll be able to assemble a team that’s motivated, driven, and ready to bring their best to the workplace.