How to Keep Employees Satisfied as a Small Business Owner
Any small business owner will tell you – it ain’t easy getting a business off the ground. There isn’t really a day off, plates are constantly spinning and you have to stay on top of everything. Eventually, though, you delegate and you can shift your focus to more essential things, but there are areas of business that are never off your mind. You’re always looking out for competition, coming up with marketing schemes, new deals, the quality you are putting out there for customers and their satisfaction with your service. An element of business that has been neglected for a long time and that is finally getting more attention is something you too may have been overlooking – employee satisfaction. This article examines employee satisfaction as the cornerstone of a good business and ways to increase it.
Those born between the late ‘70s and mid ‘90s are called millennials and they just so happen to be the least satisfied and engaged generation of workers. According to a Gallup poll, only 29% of millennials feel engaged at their work.
The motivations of an entire generation are difficult to assess and discuss, but there are certain obvious factors contributing to their lack of engagement. One is the struggling economy, which is at odds with the sense of worth and ambition instilled in them by the previous generation and another prominent one is social media, which glamorizes the life of others and makes people feel like they’re underperforming in every way.
The majority of millennials have entered the workforce and a small number are still in universities, getting their degrees. This general malaise is something that should concern business owners. Employee engagement has a direct effect on productivity and efficacy, so you cannot afford to ignore the problem.
It is not only productivity that is at stake; happy employees have less absenteeism and there is higher retention. This means no waste in time and resources when having to train a new employee nor the stress of working in an environment with a high employee turnover.
Things to Offer
Naturally, what attracts each employee to a specific company and position will vary, along with their particular desires and expectations. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that salary amounts to about 70% of what makes the job worthwhile. The rest is a combination of benefits and the employee experience.
Below is a list of the most common things employees will enquire about and look for in a job:
- Flexible work hours
- Advancement opportunities
- Training opportunities
- Stock options
- Traveling expenses reimbursement
It is not only possible, but increasingly common for people to turn down jobs and leave their current positions for some which are lower paying, but offer certain other benefits that the employee values over simply the salary.
You can find out what the employee wants from the interview and, additionally, you should conduct short surveys on a regular basis to follow what those who are already working for you like, dislike and expect. This gives you information that will lead you in the right direction and makes your workers feel seen and heard, which is one of the key issues in improving employee satisfaction.
Things to Avoid
Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what to do and which route to take, and when it comes to your business, you definitely don’t want to be taking any chances. It is therefore quite useful to take into account what not to do and which strategies to steer clear of. Some moves are universally recognized as wholly unproductive and leading to resentment and, you guessed it, dissatisfaction in your workforce. The sure fire ways to create a terrible employee experience include:
- Over-glamorizing the position and what it entails
- Presenting the company as you would like to be, as opposed to how it is
- Changing policies and procedure with little notice
- Changing the pay and benefit structure
- Failing to recognize the good job an employee has done
Since there is hardly any stigma in leaving a job anymore, many of your employees will not hesitate to go if you deceive them about what the job entails or if you make drastic changes that adversely affect them. On the other hand, it doesn’t take a whole lot to foster good relationships and make sure you have loyal and motivated workers who will sing your praises both at work and outside of it. Once you understand that your employees are the foundation of your enterprise, you will not hesitate to do everything you can to keep them engaged and feeling good about their job.