Happy employees are more productive employees, which in turn means you make more profit. This is the theory and it is one of the theories that works in practice as employers have proved time and time again. Employees that are content in their job will always work better and are more likely to be creative, which can be a big bonus for your business.
Listen and talk
Workers are far happier with a boss they feel listens to them and does not ignore them. Never just walk into your workplace without acknowledging your staff, and always have an open door policy if they have a problem.
If they bring problems to you do your best to solve them, and if you cannot explain clearly why you can’t without being condescending or making them feel stupid. If they have a collective problem and have asked one person to represent them all, it is vital that you listen to their concerns. Your workforce could well be aware of things that are happening in the workplace that you do not know about, and ignoring their worries could cause feelings of resentment.
Make sure they know where their job fits into the business as a whole, and how important each link of the chain is. Being transparent about the goals you are aiming for, will let them see they you intend to be there for the long term.
They will be much more settled with this type of security behind them, but it also gives them the chance to put forward any ideas they may have. You may be surprised how much they can do to save money or to improve working methods. But really it should not be a shock as it is the staff that is actually doing the work and you should always listen to their ideas.
Let them know you appreciate them. Of course, bonuses help if they meet targets, but most of the time a sincere thank you is all it needs. Some employers give rewards for the whole workforce, such as new commercial coffee machines or microwaves to improve the workplace kitchen facilities, or a TV for the staff room so that employees can relax when they have a break, and these are always greatly appreciated.
When employees feel they are taken for granted they start to feel resentful and are not so productive. When they know they are appreciated it increases their sense of job satisfaction and they will always work better in this frame of mind.
Don’t put your centre forward in goal
If you know anything about sports such as football, you know that every player is best in their own position. No manager would ever dream of putting the centre-forward in goal or vice versa. The same principle applies to your workforce. They will be happiest doing the job they are best trained for, and putting them in a strange situation can cause havoc with productivity.
That does not mean you can never move workers from one position to another or never promote anyone from within. It just means that you may need to provide extra training if you want them to be effective in their new position.
Some people get passionate about their work and become very purpose driven. This is not a bad thing to happen, but every job should have more than one person that is capable of doing it. Then at times of sickness or holidays, your business can continue pretty much as normal.
Provide the means for advancement
Everyone will have heard a story of someone that started out working on the shop floor and ended up as managing director. This can only happen if you provide the means for advancement. This could be letting them attend college once a week, paying for night school or providing the in-house training that is needed. You could well have employees that are more than capable of doing jobs that are further up the ladder if they have help to gain the knowledge they need.
Employees who work their way through the ranks are generally more productive and loyal as they are aware they would not have made these achievements with your help.
Learn their strengths and weaknesses
Take some time out to watch and chat to your employees. You will soon discover who the leaders are and who prefers to follow. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and if you know what they are with your staff, you can utilise them to your best advantage.
If you think someone has leadership qualities, try putting them in charge of a small group for a little while and see how they perform. If you discover that a member of your staff has an interest in first aid, send them on a course so that you have someone qualified to deal with minor accidents on hand. It could be they you find someone that is very good with people, so perhaps they should be fielding your phone calls, or be working in your reception area.
These are just a few examples of the sorts of things that you could find out about your staff that you would not have known if you have not taken the time to get to know them a bit better.
Money is not everything
A survey of 10,000 people across 136 countries found that money came bottom in job satisfaction, and enjoying their jobs came first. We all like to earn a good salary, but we spend such a large part of our lives at work, that being happy in our job is more important.
The most successful business always have a happy workforce where everyone knows everyone else and they are often on first name terms with the bosses. This simple step of being able to call the boss by their first name instead of Mr Whoever can have an amazing effect on the morale of the staff.
Good management skills on your part, honesty with the staff and the ability to delegate to show trust in your employees will all help towards a happy workforce.