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Running a business effectively includes many important components. You need to have quality goods and services, great follow-up with the customer, and a smart marketing strategy. You also need good employees…

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You need to be able to keep them. Many managers make the mistake of thinking that as long as someone’s productivity is what it needs to be, things are good with that employee. However, that can be very short-sighted and will lead to headaches in the long run.

Employees come to work every day to do more than just make progress toward the next paycheck. They want to feel like their contribution is important, that they mean something to the company beyond simply filling in a place. They want to have value beyond a piece of machinery.

Start with wages

That’s not to say that money isn’t important; it most certainly is. Getting employees the best possible wage is part of it, but getting those paychecks right with regard to hours worked, time off, and tax withholding is also important. If an employee feels that the front office is going to get them messed up on these issues, they won’t stay, regardless of what other perks are offered.

So wage issues are still a big part of an employee’s feelings about the workplace. That’s why products like Asure Software have gained so much popularity, especially among smaller businesses. These managers know that a paycheck needs to be both satisfying and correct to keep workers around.

But what else is on the table in terms of worker satisfaction? Management can still feather the nest without spending a lot of money.

Life outside the workplace

There has always been room for vacation time and sick leave, but what many workers want is some flexibility. They don’t mind to work their required hours each week, but sometimes they need the option of shuffling their schedules to accommodate other interests.

Youth sports are a great example. Many employees would like to front-load their hours in a week to free up Friday for travel to tournaments and other activities. They don’t want to burn a vacation day for it, they just want to have those hours cleared for their kids.

Of course, assembly lines and some other jobs can’t exactly do this, but office-based jobs or sales positions can often reorganise their hours to free up certain times, with no effect on the company.

Like everything, these options need policies and regulations, but presenting this choice (even if an employee never uses it) makes the workplace more appealing.

Dress codes

The workplace demands a certain level of professionalism; this isn’t to suggest otherwise. But what you may find with an evolution–not a relaxing, an evolution!–of the dress code is that it represents a change from the routine.

Banks typically require suits and ties for men and corresponding outfits for women. But many have now let that evolve to include garments such as polo shirts and other garments embroidered with the bank’s name or logo. It’s just a little change of scenery that gives employees a nice refresher.

In school, you may have had a teacher who kept the same classroom environment all year. Same decorations on the walls, same seating chart, same location of the teacher’s desk and all the student desks. How liberating did it feel when one day, all that changed? Desks were rearranged, new posters greeted you, and it was all fresh again. Your energy likely surged and your attention improved even though you were still conjugating verbs or finding common denominators.

Look for ways to achieve that in the workplace, and you’ll see similar results. Employees will find that a change of the environment goes a long way toward energising them and increasing their contribution.

The workplace isn’t a playground. It’s a place where both workers and their employers should be very serious about what they are doing. There is no way to have a satisfying workplace if it goes out of business, and being too casual can certainly lead to that. But when you can identify ways to improve morale, you will find that people exceed your expectations and ultimately provide even greater success to the company.