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Satisfaction in the Office: Keeping Employees Happy

  • January 30, 2015

The grass is always greener on the other side. Or so the saying goes. When the economy crashed, people did what they needed to survive the Great Recession. People took any job available to avoid being unemployed and continue paying bills as the economy took a dive. But times are changing and improving. So rather than taking the first job offered, professionals are once again able to be picky when making their employment decisions and joining a company. Job hunters have more freedom to research and make an educated decision about accepting a job with a company that provides an enticing work environment best suited to fit their needs. This article explores four main qualities that draw an employee to an organization and foster a positive work environment for happy employees: benefits, compensation, a respectful atmosphere, and a motivating culture.
 
Employees often take into account the benefits of a position before accepting an employment offer at a company. Besides a robust 401K plan and medical, dental, and vision coverage options, employees also look at additional included perks. Will a holiday bonus be given? Are gym membership discounts available or workout classes provided at lunchtime? Does the department allow employees to work remotely? How is personal time off and sick time accrued? Employees look at the overall “benefits” package when making a decision. A work-life balance is incredibly important as well as being able to plan for and reach goals in the future. Having the opportunity to spend time making this important decision is allowing job searchers and current employees to weigh their options and ensure they are positioning themselves to succeed moving forward. Are you setting up your workforce for success? Offering incentives allows employees to feel secure, stable, and valued. These added perks assist employees in developing and maintaining a healthy, efficient lifestyle, which in turn benefits the company through their improved quality of work. A company that invests in their employees will reap the benefits of growing an appreciative and dedicated team of professionals.
 
Benefits paired with an appropriate wage can be a major differentiating factor between competing companies vying for top-tier talent. Professionals today are earning degrees, enrolling in additional educational classes, attending conferences, and doing everything in their power to remain at the top of his or her field. The position and overall responsibilities should be taken into consideration when determining a competitive and appropriate compensation. Employers should research an appropriate wage based on skill level, experience, industry standards, and geographic location. A company unwilling to pay for talent won’t be able to build an experienced team poised to produce unique, quality work. Building a team of true professionals with a high-level skillset is difficult as experts are in high demand and expect a competitive wage. Talented professionals are more likely to remain at a company they enjoy working for where they are being properly compensated and feel the perks and work environment meet his or her demands for being successful. Be prepared to pay a comparable salary that attracts high-level professionals and encourages company loyalty. Be the company that is offering the best deal in town, not the one losing the talent to others.
 
Generally speaking, an office environment consists of professional adults who applied for and agreed to their position within the company. Do you want your employees to perform in a timely and profitable manner? Treat them with respect. Employees are more likely to work harder for management they feel respect them and place value in their good work. Create a positive environment by focusing all interactions and communications around respect. It’s a little word that goes a long way. We have all been in a situation where a condescending tone or snide, entitled remark makes us cringe and question our job, our projects, and ourselves. Looking for a quick remedy to this problem? Use the Golden Rule. How would you want to be treated in the same situation? In almost every case, treating employees with respect will result in higher quality finished projects and improved work relationships. Setting a respectful tone in the office allows employees to feel safe and encourages them to be more willing to contribute ideas and solutions thereby improving business as a whole.
 
Communicating using positive reinforcement will keep employees happier, motivated and working harder. An employee who feels disrespected experiences a low morale. Low morale leads to decreased productivity and an increase in absenteeism, conflict, and employee turnover rates. Respecting people goes a long way in creating an effective working relationship. Having rewards and incentives to work towards motivates employees to be more productive. Additionally, many companies are providing extra job training. Giving employees the opportunity to grow and continue their education is an incredible morale booster. Remember, employees are people, too. They are rational people who will react professionally when treated with respect. Showing your faith in people and supporting them in their career development proves you place value in them and their work.
 
With respect comes the concept of motivating the workforce with a rewarding culture. A “work hard, play hard” mentality is one that has been adopted by many companies. Most of the companies that have been voted “best companies to work for” in the nation have implemented Friday happy hours, monthly employee lunches, break rooms stocked with snacks, and creative activities designed to help employees unwind and reenergize. Bottom lines and profitability are obviously important. But so is keeping the workforce happy, content, and inspired. Skipping out on such expenses might seem like smart business sense but can ultimately hurt the company in the long run when employees find themselves working hard with little reward and ultimately burning out. Showing employees they are cared about increases their desire to deliver quality work. Studies have shown that employees with their nose to the grind are less productive and less attentive to details than those who take breaks and allow their minds to relax at regular intervals. Developing an open, creative, and constructive work environment has proven to be incredibly beneficial to the success of many businesses. This concept of building a supportive culture enables employees to feel like part of something important and meaningful.
 
Be the greener grass. Create a work environment so appealing, supportive, and inclusive that you attract the best talent and dedicated workers in your field. Establish your company as the ultimate destination for professionals in their career. Providing benefits, a competitive salary, a respectful atmosphere, and a motivating culture are just some ways you can ensure your employees’ satisfaction in the workplace. By creating an inspiring and rewarding work environment, you are allowing employees to work to the best of their ability and deliver well-informed results. Do you want to be known solely for pumping out numbers and production? Or do you want your company to have a reputation for developing a successful business model based on the creation of a collaborative and respectful environment with happy and dedicated employees? Consider these questions as you take a closer look at how your organization is run as well as the desired reputation of your company. Happy employees create a happy company!
 
Written by Ashley Lubey
Originally published in NMP Magazine, January 2015, page 58-59

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