This article is contributed by Stuart Wooster.
The vast majority of us work because we have to. In an ideal world, we’d be lazing on a desert island, writing that novel or just following George Clooney around from film shoot to film shoot. Perhaps.
However, as we do all have to work, it’s a good idea for employers to make the experience as enjoyable as it possibly can be. This doesn’t necessarily refer to employee relations issues, although fairness and consistency of treatment naturally goes without saying. No, this refers to all the little extra things; those that make employees want to come to work, the little things that go toward creating a really nice environment.
How can you create a great place to work? Here are a few ideas:
As we spend such a huge proportion of our time at work, it’s obvious that the office should be a warm and welcoming place. Imagine having to work in a drab grey box without any natural light for seven hours a day? Not nice. Brighten up the decor with a fresh lick of paint, perhaps put some inspirational (though not cheesy) pictures on the walls and add a few plants. Another good idea is to create a staff area, if one doesn’t exist – a few chairs, beanbags even that encourages staff to take a break every now and then. This proves that their welfare is important.
Virtually every other article in the human resources press talks about flexible working and its myriad benefits – and for good reason. An employer that trusts its staff enough to let them define their own working hours, work from home, take a flexi-afternoon, etc. is one that will be respected in turn. Giving employees the freedom to work ‘their way’ promotes respect but also improves performance and engagement. It is also a fantastic absence management tool as it dissuades people from ‘pulling sickies’ and taking advantage of a fair and flexible employer.
This aspect is so very important in retaining staff. While many people will say they don’t go to work to make friends, the vast majority have met life-long buddies or even their spouse at work. Hence the opportunity for socialising during the day and outside work should be near the top of the manager’s agenda. This might include weekly coffee breaks where staff can take 15 minutes to have a chat, setting up a lunchtime walking club or arranging the occasional team building event. This also encourages cross-team communication and bonding, which is always a good thing.
Everyone wants their efforts to be recognised and receive some sort of thanks for them, even if it is simply an email saying as much. Most businesses don’t have the budget to award prizes for good work, but it’s quick and easy to set up an internal recognition scheme whereby peers can nominate each other. The glory might only be holding the team cup for a week, but its glory just the same.
Hopefully the above will have inspired you to introduce a few steps to help make your company a really great place to work; it’ll be worth it when you see those high retention figures and as they say “Happy workers are productive workers”.
Author bio: Stuart Wooster blogs for companies such as ADP who help reduce and manage absence management in the work place and enjoys mountain biking in his spare time.