If you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to raise company profits, try raising employee morale. We’ve all heard that satisfied employees are more productive but new research by the University of Warwick proves it – a study of over 700 participants found that happiness boosted productivity by 12%. While happy employees help businesses perform better, unhappy employees can be a serious drain on resources, costing companies due to low productivity and higher rates of absence. Unhappy employees are also more likely to quit early, with turnover costs estimated at around one-third of the annual salary of a new employee and up to four times the annual salary of higher-level employees.
The economic argument for companies to invest in worker satisfaction is overwhelming, so just how do you raise happiness levels in the office? Here are a few simple and cost-effective tips to lift the mood in any office.
1. Provide perks that make a real difference to employees. While your employees won’t grumble at a monetary bonus for achieving good results, they’ll probably feel like they’ve earned it through their own hard work. Instead of offering short-term financial rewards, consider giving employees something that will have a longer-term impact on their lives. For example, a growing number of companies offer flexi-time and work-from-home arrangements for employees with children or other pressing responsibilities. Companies that can accommodate employees with such requests are likely to be rewarded with far better staff retention rates.
2. Create a bright, comfortable office environment. If your office looks more like a hospital ward than a vibrant working space, you may find your employees coming down sick as a result, ironically. A lick of paint and some well-placed plants can transform even the drabbest office into a comfortable working space. Open windows wherever possible and let in all available light to prevent employees getting ‘cabin fever’. In addition, be sure to invest in comfortable office chairs for all employees to reduce the risk of RSIs and other work-related ailments. You can hardly expect your staff to be happy when they’re in discomfort 8 hours a day.
3. Give employees a break. There’s nothing more dispiriting for staff than having management breathing down their neck and supervising their every move. Give your employees a little freedom to manage their own time – after all, it’s not the hours clocked but what’s achieved that counts. For example, allowing employees a break every hour or so to stretch their legs is not a waste of productive time – rather, it’s essential to increase blood flow, which in turn boosts positivity and productivity levels. Ideally, you should provide a separate area with a table and chairs, a coffee maker and a vending machine so that staff can take a proper break when they need it.
4. Provide regular, high-quality training. Study after study shows that companies with a well-trained, highly motivated workforce consistently outperform those businesses that under-invest in employee training. In addition, one of the main reasons cited by employees for leaving a company is the lack of professional development opportunities. Providing in-depth training not only makes your employees better at their jobs, it also gives them a sense of personal achievement and self-worth. Showing your employees you’re willing to invest in them is critical for boosting morale.
5. Let employees know when they’re doing a good job. Recognising individual effort and bestowing praise where it’s due costs absolutely nothing and is a proven morale-booster. Everyone wants to know that their hard work is not going unnoticed so take time to show you appreciate the efforts of your staff. Use staff meetings to thank top performing employees for their work or include an “Employee of the Month” feature in your company newsletter.
6. Treat employees like human beings. Although you can’t ignore the bottom line, putting profits before people may well prove counter-productive. No employee wants to be regarded as little more than a cog in a corporate machine so you should always treat your staff as people first and employees second. Putting this into practice could be as simple as learning your employees’ names and using them, or sending a ‘Get Well Soon’ card to an employee off sick. However, always be genuine in your gestures as perceived insincerity could make matters worse.
7. Be transparent. The fastest way to boost office morale is to treat employees with genuine respect. That includes keeping staff in the loop when important decisions are made by management, particularly during restructuring or other potentially unsettling periods. Leaving staff in the dark will encourage gossip and rumour and will negatively affect office morale. Even if difficult decisions need to be made at the top level, it’s better to provide staff with as full a picture as possible and explain the reasons why particular choices have been made.
8. Listen to employees and value their opinions. Your employees are often the ones best-placed to make suggestions that can improve working practices and streamline performance. As well as welcoming staff suggestions, top management should actively solicit feedback, engage with employees at all levels and be ready to implement good ideas wherever they come from. Employees who are regarded as valuable members of a team will take pride in their work and perform better as a result.
You don’t have to raise salaries or bump up bonuses to lift the mood in your office. Implementing small but significant changes in the treatment of employees can make a big difference, boosting levels of engagement, motivation and morale – and with it productivity!
This sponsored content was provided by CallCare, an outreach call centre based in the UK, who have been delivering high quality customer service and 24/7 call answering services for businesses in a wide variety of sectors, from legal to public sector, since 1998.