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Keeping Your Employees Happy and Productive
Low turnover and productive employees are every supervisor and manager's dream. Besides saving the company money from constantly hiring and training new employees, it improves the morale and increases efficiency to have happy employees who want to stay long term. While there is no magic formula to guarantee this for your employees, there are a few proven tips to decrease the rate of turnover.
1. Communication. This is probably the single most important issue for employees. Lack of communication causes feelings of anger and animosity toward the employer. The employee feels devalued and worried about what may be going on that they don't know about. While managers cannot always be open with their staff about everything, the lines of communication should still remain open. Most experts advise weekly meetings where staff can speak without fear of repercussion. If the employees feel confident that the manager will tell them what is going on when they can, they will have more trust in their boss. Trust is the most powerful tool a boss can have.
2. Teamwork. Employees often see their boss as lazy, not working as hard as they expect the employees to work. While there are other things that an employer has to do behind the scenes that staff won't understand, it's important for them to see their boss as a hard worker. When there is a crisis, will the boss get in and help or sit in their office, leaving it to the employees? Of course, this will depend on the company and situation, but even an encouraging word can make a difference in morale. The best boss I ever had knew very little about the day-to-day tasks of my department, but when a crisis struck, she would come in and ask "how can I help?" She never had a problem doing menial tasks if that was the help we needed.
3. Praise. Related to the concept of teamwork, is the idea of praising and encouraging employees. An occasional word of praise makes a huge impression to an employee. Many bosses feel that they are just doing their job and not need to be applauded for that. However, most employees would like to have the recognition from time-to-time and not just at the evaluation period.
4. Fun. Employees who have fun at work don't dread being there and are more likely to stay there even if they could get paid more elsewhere. That doesn't mean goofing off or spending massive amounts of time doing non-work related activities. But it can include food days occasionally or treats. Allowing time for co-workers to chat for a few minutes without distracting from their work time is important, too. My boss was always one who would order food when we were having issues that kept us overtime. She said she might not be able to help us, but she could feed us. That support went along way in keeping us motivated when we were working four to six hours after quitting time.
5. Flexibility. This depends largely on the type of work the employees are doing. There are many jobs that do not allow for any flexibility, but if that is an option, employees appreciate a manager who can manage schedule changes. Most employees have a life outside work and have to manage family along with their job. A flexible, understanding boss can make that much easier.
I've worked for many bosses over the years, respecting some more than others. I also worked as a supervisor and manager myself for many years. At one company, I had the lowest turnover rate that had ever been in my department. I had employees who would go way beyond their job description to help out when needed. There was always a sense of fun even when things weren't going well. Everyone's attitude was to make the best of the situation and help each other out. These tips are things I found were important to my staff and to me as I worked for my managers.
A content employee is a productive employee. And while there are exceptions, most employees want to do a good job for their boss.
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