We already know that providing free food in the workplace is in itself a great morale booster. But what else should we pay attention to as office and HR managers to ensure that we attract and keep happy, productive, long-term employees? Hint – it’s the little things that go the furthest. Feeling valued is a great incentive, so let’s look at some easy ways to create and nurture that feeling.
Reward hard work with small perks
Things like letting employees leave early on a Friday once a month, or giving out extra paid days off as a bonus shows that you value the work-life balance. Everyone could use a little extra time off to recharge, take care of personal matters, or to simply take a mini-staycation. Other alternatives to this are offering work-from-home days, either on a regular schedule or on an earned basis, and flexible hours. Flexible hours enable the early bird to get the worm (coming in hours before everyone else if that’s what they like) or for people who are most productive later at night to have a later start time.
The options above cost the company nothing, other than possible missed work hours. However, the increased focus and productivity you’re sure to see from your employees will make up for any work hours spent away from the office. Some perks that are also highly-desirable, but not necessarily free to the company, include things like free healthcare or childcare offered within the building or nearby. Not having to go outside the company to solve pressing lifestyle challenges would be amazing for retention.
Provide learning opportunities
Many companies will off-set tuition costs or even pay for a course outright if it adds to the employees’ work skills and provides career advancement while also adding value back to the company. A less expensive option might be an informal Lunch and Learn where a staff member or outside expert spends a lunch hour giving a lecture or perhaps teaching a new software program or self-improvement technique that ultimately helps people do their jobs better. Or, topics can be non-business related and just for fun. Incorporate Massage’s blog has some creative suggestions for Lunch and Learn topics, including things like cooking classes, yoga, fitness bootcamp, monthly book clubs, and more. Another great suggestion is to have each department give a presentation to the other departments on what exactly they do – Marketing might not have much insight into how Engineering works and vice versa. This can bring co-workers together more and avoid the dreaded “team silos.”
Establish feedback forums
Your employees need to be heard, and giving them ways to give actionable feedback to the company on how their jobs can be even better shows that you care what they think. There are a number of easy ways to do this:
- Set up monthly feedback sessions where employees have the opportunity to offer up their ideas and get questions answered
- End every “Town Hall” or company-wide meeting with a Q&A session where employees can address executives directly
- Be transparent – share critical company/industry information, product roadmaps, and financial data with staff whenever possible
Letting your team tell you directly what they need to feel more inspired takes the guesswork out of your job while letting them feel heard. It’s a win-win!
Offer opportunities to be charitable
Giving back and doing some good in the world outside of the day-to-day job can go a long way toward improving overall morale. Many companies find ways to get involved with local charities or non-profits, whether it’s an annual holiday food bank drive or a fundraising event. Ask for your team’s involvement and consider starting a committee. Chances are, they have their own pet causes they may already be involved with but will be able to do so much more with your company’s backing than they ever could on an individual scale.
It might take some time to implement a charity taskforce or organize a fundraising activity, but the morale boost will be more than worth your initial efforts!
Create an atmosphere of positivity
It’s been shown that people work longer and harder when they feel rewarded. We all want to know our daily contributions matter, and considering some of the options we’ve outlined above will put you on the path toward increased employee happiness.