They’ve got happy employees. Can you guess what happened?
There’s always some motivation for someone to decide to start a company. It’s not such an easy task; therefore, the reason must be pretty compelling. Regardless of what those reasons might be, one thing we know for sure: everyone has a goal, and to achieve that goal, we’re going to need people to help us. Yes, employees.
I can say with a fair degree of certainty you’ve met countless people who are not satisfied at work. Some are not happy with their salaries; some are super stressed; others hate the overall conditions or can’t stand the insane pressure. Add to that a particular pandemic that might hang around for many months, and you get a pretty strong stress trigger, especially when talking about essential workers. I don’t get why companies, from small to large ones, still insist on not giving their employees the right and fair conditions for them to perform the activities they’re supposed to.
I don’t want to fool myself here and say we can always make all of our employees happy, but we can make an effort. It’s a given that we won’t please everyone, and sometimes circumstances might challenging (2020 anyone?). Being an entrepreneur myself, I wanted to bring some ideas to the table I believe are worth considering when establishing your company’s culture.
Before I list the ideas, an important, rather obvious, often forgotten point: happy employees will make your goal, that one you had when you decided to start a company, closer to becoming a reality and more satisfying when you get there.
Let’s see what we could do then in no specific order of importance. As I said, these are just some ideas, very summarized, but it’s worth the reflection.
Trust and Freedom
If you have to monitor your employee or make sure he’s not spending 1 minute on “not-work” stuff, then you’re telling them: “I don’t trust you, here you’re not free”. Honestly, what kind of feeling one would have when “listening” to that?
Work with goals and tell them you trust them. In our company, we only keep people we can trust, so we’re not a match if they break the trust. The same applies to freedom, which depends on trust. Again, in our company, there’s no one checking what time you start working and what you are doing. We trust you.
Other factors will help with trust, and one of them is…
Sense of Belonging
You want to build a trust culture, you need to make sure your employees feel like they belong. Let’s not fool ourselves and tell them “this company is yours as well”. It’s not, but they can still feel like they belong to something that respects them, their work, and their voices. Sense of belonging is one of the most basic human needs; everyone longs for it.
So we’ve got to engage our colleagues, we’ve got to be interested in them as human beings and not as robots in a production line. Trust me that will make a difference.
A friendly environment, where no one is talking behind each other, but helping each other, will definitely bring more positive results.
Sense of Worthiness
It’s very frustrating when we do something nice and there’s no recognition at all. Do I need to say more? Well, if your employees did a good job, let them know. More than let them know, pay them what they are worth; more than that, share your profits with them, so they know their work will actually affect their financial return.
I can only imagine the massive difference in productivity between two people doing the same work. Still, one can barely pay the essential bills, whereas the other one doesn’t need to worry about the bills. Which one do you think will bring more results to your company? I believe in sharing and win-win partnerships. Why not have a plan for profit-sharing with your employees?
One more thing: make their path forward clear, show them the opportunities you might have in the company so they can work on their personal development to achieve different positions within the organization. Give them options. You might surprise yourself.
No Insane Pressure (aka Appropriate tools)
To conclude our list of ideas to make your employees happy, another important one is: stop with the insane pressure. Give them appropriate tools to do their work.
When we talk about appropriate tools, it goes from a fair amount of time to complete the task and precise requirements to the right software or equipment. Otherwise, there will be pressure, frustration and stress.
Imagine the following scenario: someone has to perform several inspections on paper checklists, type all those checklists in some spreadsheet and only after that spend two full days (working late at night) generating reports and charts. It’s boring, repetitive, prone to errors, time-demanding, stressful and when the reports are finally done, the results might already but out of date. That is all frustrating for you and your employee.
For instance, you could quickly fix the above scenario by giving your employee the equipment to collect the data and the right software platform to generate the reports in nearly real-time. He’s going to use his time more productively, give you results quicker, and you can realize your results as they happen. Only that small and cost-effective change would put back in your pocket thousands of dollars per year, happier and less stressed employees and an overall thriving environment.
These are points for reflection, as I mentioned before. We’ve got to evolve and treat our employees for what they are: essential for what our businesses are and for what they might become in the future. That’s an important part of what will make us successful entrepreneurs.
Let me know what other points are essential when creating a thriving and “human-friendly” environment in our companies.