Keeping Morale High: How to Increase Employee Satisfaction
As a manager, one of the hardest parts of your job is in truly keeping connected with all of your employees to make sure they are happy and engaged at the workplace.
If your employees feel like they need to hide their workplace unhappiness, you won’t be able to take the specific actions required to keep your team happy and productive.
One of the best things you can do as manager is to be preemptive in boosting employee morale. Make your office a place where employees want to be, a place where they feel like they have the space to grow and that they have the support of their coworkers to be creative in their work.
Encourage Discussion In and Out of the Office
As in anything, good office place cooperation depends on good communication. Of course, if employees are having problems, they might avoid communicating these problems with each other or with management. Encourage your employees to communicate by providing them a positive environment for communication. A company lounge with couches and an office coffee machine are great ways to get employees to interact at work. If you catch wind of a problem between employees, head it off quickly by listening to everyone’s side and inviting all parties to work through the problems with mediation from management or HR.
Host regular office functions and events to break up work place monotony and to provide new environments for communication. Encourage individual teams to get together out of the office to discuss work place events in a freer way. Consider sending teams to lunches, retreats, or training sessions at office expense to foster friendships between employees.
Incentivize and Reward
Offer your employees concrete incentives based on goals and give rewards for achievements that are above and beyond what is expected. If you are unable to provide financial incentives, consider alternatives. Incentivize with office lunches or Donut Fridays, for example. Or offer to send an employee and/or their team to a conference or training in an interesting location.
Similarly, if you can’t offer monetary rewards, consider other things. Give personalized gifts, gift cards, a potted plant (consider allergies!), or a desk decoration.
Make the Office Comfortable and Welcoming
No matter how many incentives and rewards you offer your employees, if your office space is unappealing, it can be hard for employees to overcome their first impressions of your office. Encourage your employees to decorate their spaces and consider allowing them to choose their own seating arrangements so that like-minded people (with similar decoration tastes!) can be near each other. A work space that feels personal will help employees feel comfortable, motivated, and inspired.
Invest in higher quality, more comfortable furniture and be aware of specific employee needs. Don’t give the short lady a chair that has her swinging her feet above the ground and the tall lady a desk that she has to bend over to use! If you have the space and extra money, consider improving employee break areas with comfortable chairs, art for the walls, or maybe even video games or a ping pong table.
And don’t overlook the little things. Make sure your custodians are keeping up with the demands of your office or if your employees are in charge of keeping the office clean, make sure tasks are fairly divided and rotated and that everyone is doing their fair share. Try to situate desks to take advantage of natural lighting. Keep the office a comfortable temperature and allow employees to adjust it.
Encourage Leadership Behaviors in Every Employee
There are good and bad kinds of stress that can come up in the office. Try to maximize incidents of the positive kind by giving employees opportunities for growth and skill-building. Encourage every employee to develop as a leader by giving them a voice on their team, by offering them constructive feedback, and by ensuring that they are finding ways to play to their strengths. Set regular reviews with each employee where you can ask them to reflect on what they consider their own strengths and weaknesses to encourage introspection in work performance.
Identify skills that would be beneficial to each employee and give them opportunities to train in those skills. If you have the flexibility, assign an employee a task that will force them to learn something new or to develop a skill that is not a strength of theirs. You can also offer to pay for classes or online seminars. Give the employees some choice in which skills will be most useful for them to develop as this will encourage them to consider how this job fits into their long-term career plans.