Look after your people, and they’ll look after your business. Here are five tips for creating a workplace environment that keeps your employees, and your clients happy.
Want to improve client satisfaction? Making your employees happier at work could be the solution. Research consistently shows that happy employees are more likely to go the extra mile to a great job for you – and your clients.
The evidence behind the value of happy employees is compelling. Research by US consulting firm Gallup showed that highly-engaged teams can deliver 21% higher profitability, a 20% increase in sales, and 40% fewer quality incidents or defects. These teams have 41% lower absenteeism, up to 59% lower turnover, and 17% higher profitability1.
So how can you create a business of happy and engaged employees? Here are five things you can start doing today.
1. Provide clear and achievable goals
To be satisfied in your role, you need to have pride in your accomplishments – so providing clear goals for your employees to work towards can be an effective way of driving engagement.
Communicate your strategy and be transparent about what it will take to achieve it. Then involve your people in setting the goals they need to meet for your business to succeed and grow.
Make sure you set your employees up for success: equipping them with the resources, equipment, training, and guidance they need.
2. Foster autonomy
Bad news for micro-managers: people do their best work when they feel in control and personally responsible for the outcomes of their work. Giving your people more autonomy can help boost motivation levels, and enable them to work in a way that fits their strengths.
Consider setting regular checkpoints to determine how they’re tracking against their goals. Then step back and let them work in the way they think best – offering support only if, and when, they need it.
3. Offer flexibility
Gallup’s survey of US workers found that more than half of employees (54%) would leave their job for one that offered flexible work time1. Enabling remote working, part-time work and job sharing can help you retain key staff members who are juggling family and lifestyle commitments, while boosting their satisfaction with their job.
Giving employees the ability to work flexibly can help them reconcile their commitments inside and outside work. By trusting employees in this way, you can dramatically increase loyalty and retention, so your people can deliver quality service to your clients.
3. Environment and culture
Gallup’s research found that roughly four in 10 would change companies for privacy or a personal workspace or office. One-third would change jobs for a door they can shut or a work environment that has a comfortable temperature1.
So creating a good workplace environment can be as simple as making sure that the air conditioning is set to the right level and that employees have a mix of collaboration spaces and quiet, private areas for concentration.
A positive culture where your employees feel free to be themselves and offer their ideas without fear of judgment is another way to keep your people engaged and happy. Remember, people thrive when they like the people they work with. So create opportunities for them to get to know each other better, and a common area to share lunch and conversation.
4. Personal development and growth
Professional growth and career development opportunities are key drivers of engagement, particularly for younger employees still forging their careers.
While smaller businesses may struggle to offer a lifelong career path for all employees, helping them to develop their skills through relevant training and mentoring can keep them motivated, and ensure they contribute their best while they are working with you.
For older employees, recognition of the value of their work and experience can be more important. Consider enlisting their help in mentoring younger staff members, or sharing their knowledge with the wider business, to keep them enthusiastic about their work.
5. Recognition and rewards
How do you reward your people for a job well done? A simple ‘thank you’ when someone meets an important goal is a great place to start. Feedback should be timely – don’t wait for formal reviews to let people know that they’re valued.
Public acknowledgement, such as sending an email to the wider team, is a great way to recognise employees, as are personal rewards (like movie tickets for the family). Peer-to-peer reward programs also enable your people to acknowledge their teammates – enhancing relationships and collaboration. And of course, remuneration needs to be appropriate, transparent and fair, with employees clear on how their salary and bonuses are calculated.
Personal solutions, great results
Remember we’re all different, and need different things to make us happy. So talk to your employees about what’s most important to them: whether it’s more time off to travel, flexibility to fit around family or extracurricular commitments, money or a pathway for promotion, and find ways to meet those needs.
By boosting your employees’ satisfaction at work, you can get the best results from them – so you can drive better relationships with your clients.
1. Gallup, ‘State of the American Workplace’, 2017.