Keeping your employees happy is not just something nice that you should think about doing, it's an essential part of keeping your small business healthy. Think about it: Employees are physical representations of your company, and if they're out in the wild complaining about what a terrible place it is working for you, then word-of-mouth referrals are not going to be likely in the future. Aside from your personal reasons, happy employees work better than miserable ones. By keeping your workers comfortable, you are reducing the chances of high turnover and creating a better, more efficient workplace.
Keep Employees Engaged
It seems to be the worldwide agreement that everyone hates their jobs, but strive to be the exception to that rule when you're creating an environment for your employees. Some of the best employee engagement ideas to help get them motivated are also some of the easiest.
- Who doesn't love a good incentive to get the work churning? Give your employees a good reason to go the extra mile by offering perks that they can only achieve after meeting X goals. Incentive ideas might include a small bonus in their paychecks, lunch on you or even something as small as a coffee run just for them. Plus, healthy competition in the office can be a fun challenge between employees.
- Recognize a job well done. It can be easy to fall into the pit of despair where you think that nobody sees all the hard work you've been doing, but as the boss you should make it a goal to avoid your employees feeling that way. This can be done even as simply as telling them, "I noticed you helped complete that paperwork with the client even after you were off the clock, thank you. I appreciate you."
- Encourage them to work together on projects and tasks — and switch up who you want to work with whom. Seeing how everybody works together can help build teamwork and camaraderie...but it can also be an insightful way to help you see who does not work well together!
Give your employees a reason to love the company they work for. A well-engaged staff can help to build a better environment — and ultimately, a better company.
Be a Flexible Boss
It can be easy to micromanage and get bogged down in the details, but bosses who micromanage their employees are having the opposite effect of what they hope to achieve. Let your hair down a little. Yes, you are still the boss and you don't want to be taken advantage of, but remember that real life is not wrapped up in a pretty bow all the time. Your employees have a life outside of the office.
- Be understanding when there's a personal emergency. Of course you're annoyed that there's one less staffer than there normally is, but if your employee is a normally good and hard-working one, why flip them attitude if they can't make it in to care for their sick child? A bad day can be made worse when the boss is rude, so take that into consideration if someone calls out.
- A dress code can be a wonderful thing to ensure that your workers are dressing to your company standards, but sometimes it's okay to relax the dress code a little bit. Allow jeans and casualwear on paydays, for example, or if one of your workers has achieved a goal of some kind.
- Stay calm. Easier said than done, right? The truth is that employees who expect a volatile reaction from you are less likely to approach you in case there's an emergency or situation that might set you off. Since you want them to feel comfortable coming to you anytime they need to, maintain a calm demeanor even if you're screaming on the inside. Reacting explosively in a bad situation is no benefit to anybody.
Drawing boundaries in work-related situations is a healthy thing, but remember not to be too standoffish to your employees. Be open and understanding, but if you feel like you're being used then gently remind them that you have a business to run and that this kind of behavior isn't accepted long-term.
Individual employee happiness can vary from industry to industry, but remember that in most cases it doesn't take a grand gesture to keep your staff happy. Model by example and be friendly and engaging. Give your employees a reason to recommend your business to others not only as a customer but as an employee as well.