As a business owner, you have the singular goal of making the largest profit possible. However, nestled within that goal are several others, one of which is maintaining a strong workforce. Doing so is a point of contention, however, in the wake of recent findings about employee morale. Where management in the past has been ruthless in the pursuit of profits, modern business owners are looking for ways to keep workers satisfied, because this can boost productivity and employee retention. Here’s what you need to know.
One of the biggest hurdles facing employee morale is that of poverty. Many full time jobs don’t pay a living wage, and this can lead to employees that feel overworked and underpaid. This alone often can’t be helped, because small businesses often don’t have the resources or the income for the necessary pay increase to correct that problem. However, helping your staff out from time to time and being generally understanding can make a world of difference. For example, let’s say that you have an employee who walks to work, meaning that they feel worse while they’re on the clock, and they are more likely to be late or miss work during inclement weather. Extending a helping hand by helping that employee get an auto loan can make a world of difference not only for that employee’s productivity, but also for their quality of life. This kind of gesture works because it can be extremely powerful to have someone vouch for you when life isn’t going your way or giving you a way out.
Along the same lines, the pay your workers are receiving for their time and effort may be dissatisfactory, and you may lack the resources to change it. However, you can offer your staff a little bit more without committing to a full pay raise. By offering employees a pay bonus, for example, for reaching a certain milestone in a certain period, you can ensure that your hardest workers are being rewarded while the others have something to motivate them to work harder. Motivation is at a premium when you’re stuck working for a living and making less than you need, so providing motivation is an essential part of getting the most out of your staff. The benefits don’t have to be purely monetary, however. Extra vacation time is a popular choice, because it gives employees more time to unwind each year, allowing them to bring their A game back to work afterward. Paid vacation is even better, but it might not be in the cards for small business budgets.
The past has left a lingering presence in the modern work experience. Where many business owners are striving to increase productivity by appealing to employee morale, the reputation of bosses of all kinds being ruthless and cold works against those efforts. That means that making it clear to your staff that they can speak to you about their questions and concerns will be one of the more important things you do. Workers have grown accustomed to supervisors being short tempered that genuine attempts to connect might go straight over their heads. A good place to start when trying to correct for this is to simply poll your workers about their work experience and what they think needs to change. This can at least give you some intel into what changes might be effective, but it will also send the clear signal that you’re interested in helping them come to like the job that they have and what it has to offer them.
Managing a company is tough for many reasons, but one of the most difficult elements to overcome is the human one. Taking responsibility over your workers is less than ideal, and they typically don’t feel any better about the arrangement. However, using these tips and keeping an open mind can make it much easier for you and your staff to become a powerful team instead of bitter enemies.