There’s a quote flying around the digital sphere right now. It says that when your employees leave, they don’t quit your company. Rather, they’re leaving because of their unhappiness caused by management.
There is a modicum of truth in that statement.
You might very well run a well-structured organization with a strong focus on innovation and customer satisfaction. But if your middle management’s best quality is being disagreeable, you won’t be able to keep your employees around, much less happy.
Many companies are so focused on innovation, sales or productivity that they forget about the people who make it happen.
Focusing on your employees does more than keep them around. Cultivating employee satisfaction actually radiates throughout your entire business. It can even transform your operation overnight.
Here are five ways that a change of pace for employees can transform your business.
1. Let them see value in themselves and you.
Too many employees are treated like serfs destined for years of servitude. They feel like their opinions are ignored and that they, themselves, don’t matter to the company. They’re tied to your company only because of the paycheck and their contract. You can imagine the unhappiness this breeds.
Even if you think your employees know you care, take time to validate your assumption. Be intentional about telling your staff how much they matter to your business. But don’t just say it with words. Show them with your actions, too.
Give employees personal days, within reason. Let employees venture out of the office for meetings where they can breathe fresh air and be more creative. When you value your employees, they’ll value you. They’ll take more ownership in their work and that will help your business soar to new heights.
2. Incentives can ease the stress of the grind.
Not every day at the office has the structure of a 20 minute satirical sitcom. They call it the 9-5 grind for a reason. But focusing on your employees in good times and bad can help them remain productive and happy even when Monday mornings are a nightmare.
Create employee perks and incentives that will help keep your team motivated. This doesn’t just mean adding the best exercise bike, or other state of the art luxuries to your office break room. They don’t need huge bonuses and you don’t need to pit your team against one another. Just give employees a reason to make it to 5 o’clock and an incentive to do the best they can while they’re there. You’ll find that your productivity will increase, even in slow periods.
3. Keeping employees in the loop keeps them goal-oriented.
Your team can’t work toward company goals if they don’t know what they are. Too often, larger business goals don’t trickle down to employees. When they do, they often look unreasonable and unachievable.
“Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.” - SAS CEO, Jim GoodnightClick To Tweet
But if you present the whole plan for reaching your goals, you’ll find that your team is energized and prepared from the beginning. Together, you can reach the finish line before you even realize it.
4. Listening and acting on employee ideas benefits your business.
Plenty of businesses are afraid to ask their employees for their ideas. No one wants to hear bad news, especially if that news comes from internal team members. But your employees know more about your business than almost anyone else. Not asking them what they think is wasting an incredibly valuable resource.
Don’t just ask for opinions. Find a way to act on the ones that make the most sense for the company’s trajectory. If you’re not sure how to implement them, ask your employees for their input. You’ll cultivate new leaders and boost your company culture at the same time.
5. Foster a culture of trust.
According to a workplace survey, 65 percent of workers trust management and 80 percent trust their colleagues. When employees trust their leaders, they are more likely to love their job. Thus, building trust at every level of your company is key.
'When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.' - Stephen R. CoveyClick To Tweet
But don’t forgo opportunities to increase trust among team members. The extra 20 percent of trust between colleagues could take projects and teams in a whole new direction. When combined with a greater bond between leadership, your company’s potential grows significantly.
When you see a truly happy person walking down the street, you can see light radiating from them. You know that they are happy with their lives, there’s not question. The same is true for happy businesses. For huge growth, great potential and happy customers, turn the focus on creating happiness for your employees and everyone will be able to see the benefits.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Simon Crompton is a freelance journalist and entrepreneur running several online businesses including his marketing firm, Threecolors.blue. Simon spends the majority of his time blogging about business startups and consulting on web development. He has launched multiple online companies. He is also a dedicated follower of fashion, and has written for the Financial Times and GQ. Connect with @PermanentStle on Twitter.