If you have looked at your small business bookkeeping and you’re not in a place to offer every employee a salary of $70,000 a year–or even a small raise–you can still make your employees feel valued and happy in their jobs.
For many employees, feeling valued and appreciated at work is just as important as the amount of money they make anyway. In fact, only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at their work. That leaves a whopping 79% of employees who feel only marginally valued or not valued at all in their contributions to a company, according to Engagement Report.
How can a manager improve overall morale and employee satisfaction at work?
Help your employee see their worth by making them feel valued in the workplace.
- Listen to them. You—the manager. Not your secretary or your right hand man, but you. Take the time to listen to their ideas and concerns as an authority who can make changes within the company. Remove all distractions and set aside time for each employee individually.
- Recognize their contributions. Your company wouldn’t be where it is today without a lot of hard work from a lot of hard working people. But these people also have lives outside of work—disappointments, financial woes, and personal problems. Take a moment to recognize when an employee makes a big sale or acquires a new client. A simple email or text message, or even a pat on the back and a thank you, is often all it takes to boost an employee’s confidence and increase their concern for the welfare of the company.
- Write a hand written note. In the sometimes overwhelming technological world we live in, quick “thank you” emails and text messages often get lost in the shuffle of workplace and personal demands. However, a handwritten note speaks volumes for an employee. Set aside five minutes each week and write a note or card to one of your employees. Thank them for their contribution and let them know of your personal gratitude for their work. Your employee will be surprised and appreciative that you took the (extra!) time to recognize them.
- Be flexible about work schedules. This is a perk almost all employees value and it offers the most gain with the least pain for an employer. As long as an employee is deserving and doesn’t abuse the privilege, they’ll appreciate the flexibility their job offers, even if their salary isn’t quite where they would like it to be.
- Make work fun. Create opportunities for employees to socialize with their superiors by offering occasional contests during lunch, donuts in the break room, or just a quick bit of trivia before a staff meeting. Having fun at work is proven to increase productivity among employees.
- Offer a clear path to advancement. While this task can be challenging for a small business because of limited opportunities to offer promotions, a healthy dose of honesty can be good for everyone. At least once each year, sit down with each employee for a career assessment. Find out what their goals are within your company and ask them how you can support their goals. This may mean providing training, tuition programs, or helping employees find opportunities for advancements—even if it means leaving your company for another one. Employees are always thinking about their futures and knowing what their potential opportunities are helps them feel secure in their path.
- Remember the two secret words. While the phrase often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a simple “thank you” rarely goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Make an effort to thank at least one employee each day for something they’ve done to better the company.
- Take the team to lunch. While a team lunch might not even be in the current budget, making it happen can have a surprising effect on company morale. Taking your team to lunch on the company helps them feel valued in the workplace and provides a much-needed break from the sometimes mundane tasks of everyday work.
- Show them that others need them, too. While employees love hearing it from the top dog, feeling like an integral part of the company can help an employee feel like the work they’re doing is important. Feedback from others can sometimes pack more of a punch than positive feedback from the boss. Pay attention when a client sends you an email about an amazing experience they had with one of your employees and pass it along to them every time.
- Challenge Them. Most jobs come with less-than-glamorous day-to-day responsibilities. Balance the grunt work with a challenge every once in a while and let your actions speak louder than words. Recognizing an employee for something they did is great, but believing they can do something bigger is even better. When you put trust in an employee to do a difficult task, you’re sending the message, “I know you’re capable of this and I can trust you to do a great job.”
While most of these things may be in the back of your mind, your employee will never know what you’re feeling unless you tell or show them. You might be surprised how easy it is to implement a few key tasks that will help your employee recognize their worth in the company, even if that doesn’t come in the form of a raise.