All businesses have standards. You are focused on your company and it is important for you to keep your customers happy. After all, they are the ones who write you a check.
You also make sure you have your employees in the positions that will suit them best and help your business profit. You assign them tasks they can do well. You know that your happy employees are the foundation of your company and you need their support to keep your business running.
But did you realize that your company atmosphere affects your employees?
While good business judgment dictates that we need to keep our customers happy and in a sense, make a concentrated effort to meet their needs, do you forget to do the same for your employees?
This may sound obvious, but a relaxed atmosphere will ease tensions between you and those whom you manage. When your employees are at ease, the wheels of their satisfaction are continually spinning.
What are some areas that create an anchor for positive rapport? What can you take advantage of to boost morale and at the same time, creative thinking?
Have lunch with your employees. Lunch is a casual setting either in the breakroom or off site. You can invite the team out for a lunch at a nearby café from time to time. This is a nice gesture to show them you appreciate their hard work and they deserve a nice break.
Use the luncheon to get to know the people you work with. Find out what they like to do when they are not in the office. What are their hobbies? Do they have families? And don’t forget to reciprocate. Tell them a little bit about yourself.
Try not to use this as an opportunity to speak casually about the business, such as a new product. This is their time for a break, so make sure your time with them is about them. Discussing work-related items in public is usually frowned upon, so especially if you are dining out of the office, put the breaks on discussing work.
Whether your business is large or small, try to have a family fun day, company picnic or backyard barbecue (on the company bill) with games and other entertainment. It does not have to be lavish, but make sure your efforts are in harmony with your goals. You want your employees to see your company in a casual light.
This again allows for casual conversations. Get to know their families. Spend time with them. Join in the games, preferably ones that are a forum for relaxed conversation.
Most people agree that weekly meetings accomplish nothing if poorly presented. Instead of the typical weekly meeting(s) that might still be necessary, have brief, casual “conversations” where you are simply asking for your employees’ insights into the new product, the new client, or where they see the product or service in five years.
Go to them in their workspace. Make an effort to reach out to them. Ask questions, but make them relaxed, easy and open-ended. Avoid asking the usual, “How are things going?” Learn about their contributions to the current project. Ask them for their ideas. What have they been learning from the project?
Have they used the company’s latest product or service? What is their take on it? What are some things they’ve found that might be challenging for the consumer?
Try to encourage them by your tone and body language to be open with you. Employees often share what they “think” management wants to hear. Avoid this by helping them realize their input is valued and helpful to make the product better in the future. Help them understand there is more than one way to reach the company’s goals and that they contribute to this endeavor.
Employees need time and space to do their job. If they are constantly barraged with emails, office (or cubicle) visits, meetings, etc., how can they be expected to stay focused? A focused employee is productive. If they are in the middle of a project, allocate some time for them to concentrate. You can ask them how much time they will need and if they would like assistance. But do take your employees’ needs into consideration. If an employee requires some quiet time in the conference room, perhaps an hour, make sure he gets it.
When you learn your employees’ behaviors, you will understand what will be better for them. For example, you might have employees who work best in the morning. Perhaps they are more focused and productive during earlier hours. Use that to their advantage. Give them the specific time they need without interruption.
If possible, review the structure of your office. Is there enough light? Are your employees cramped together or too far apart? Is the atmosphere happy and inviting? Does the flow of the furniture offer space for air, foot traffic and a pleasing appearance? You might have an expert review the set-up and give you some ideas of what is working and what needs to change. Plants and sunlight create a natural setting we long for when trapped indoors all day. Make sure the physical ambiance complements the psychological atmosphere.
Does your office need cubicles or the open environment? This depends on your organization, the tasks your employees have, the need for privacy, etc. Some workspaces thrive on the open air. Cubicles are viewed as a barrier, stifling creative thinking and conversation. In other settings, particularly if a lot of phone conversations are a must and/or employees work with sensitive documents, cubicles are necessary, although there are options in that area as well.
Show your appreciation for your employees and their hard work. The more you come to know your team on a personal level, the more they will feel comfortable with you. They will open up to you and their loyalty to you and the company will build.
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