What you can learn from “New Age” businesses about employee satisfaction and retention
Do your employees love coming to work?
People who are happy at work are likely to work harder. Everyone wants their employees to be happy.So why are happy employees most often seen at large, younger companies?
It’s a common question and almost every business consultant will hear it.
From Facebook to Google to many, many others the .coms and start-ups have blazed a new trail in work/life balance and job satisfaction. How do they do it?
Here’s 5 ways you too can have employees that love coming to work every day:
1. Reward employee loyalty
Beyond just drinks after work many young companies make communal activities a common occurrence. Sweetgreen created a passive sense of competition by giving green t-shirts to new employees. The longer you stay with the company the darker your shirt gets. Then each year there are more perks such as shoes and an iPod. The real trick is during each shift every employee gets a free salad.
As time went on Sweetgreen noticed something: the darker the shirt the smaller the size. They not only created a great atmosphere and friendly competition just for retention, they managed to do so while improving the health of their employees.
You might also consider giving an employee the day off with pay on their work anniversary or their birthday. Or, you can give them a gift card to the movies or a local restaurant.
2. Advocate healthy lifestyle choices
Something that has become more and more common with businesses is encouraging employees to choose healthy living styles.
While you may not be able to give away a salad you might be able to afford buying bulk gym memberships at a discounted rate and offering them to staff. Or, you might participate in a baseball, volleyball or golf league and build a healthy team environment while gettinga bonus of company advertising when your employees exercise in your branded apparel.
Many companies negotiate special rates and most gyms are quite open to the idea. You can extend this beyond a regular gym too if you don’t think your staff will take to the idea. Yoga classes are a great alternative and to make it easier for your employees, you can often find a yoga instructor to come on-site for a minimal fee so employees can exercise before or after work.
3. Encourage employees to take a vacation
This idea seems scarier and harder to manage than it really is and it can really help build your small business. Adobe shuts down its offices for 2 months every year to ensure their people take their vacation time. While you probably can’t afford to do that, it is very much worthwhile to ensure proper vacation time is taken. And if you have a “use it or lose it” vacation policy, employees won’t be happy to know that they have a benefit they can’t really use because you can’t figure out how to make it work.
Many employees become absorbed in their work, which is amazing. But it often leads to burnout. A burned-out employee can very quickly turn into a former employee or at the very least, one who isn’t performing at their peak.
The next time you see your one of your best employees burning the midnight oil take a moment to assess their work calendar and check to see when they last took some time off. Talk to them about the workload to see if some of the work can be eliminated, streamlined or redistributed to others on the team if it turns out that it is more than one employee can handle in a normal workday.
If it’s been over a year since their last vacation then it would be a good idea to sit down with them and schedule time off for the balance of the year. They’ll appreciate the effort and you won’t lose a valuable member of your team.
4. Offer discounts for employees
Depending on your business this may be a simple one or quite tricky. Your business offers something whether it’s a service or a product. Offer that service or product to employees at a discount.
Whether it’s half off the next batch or a 30% discount on your company’s services your employees will not only become more loyal through brand loyalty but also learn more about the business they work in by becoming customers themselves.
There are also lots of large companies who offer small businesses with discount pricing such as amusement & water parks, telephone services, resorts, etc. In one company I worked with, the employees would pool their orders together for See’s Candies at Christmas. In return for the volume order, See’s provided bulk pricing and free 1-lb boxes of their candy that we would distribute throughout the offices for all employees to enjoy. Many of the large telephone companies offer discount codes to companies so that they can pass on the benefit to their employees for their personal use.
5. Take it outside
One of the benefits of hiring a business consultant is I see your employees with fresh eyes and a common solution for employee fatigue is a change of scenery.
Off site meetings can be a great way to build company morale. Taking the whole team somewhere nice for the annual performance review takes the anxiety out and makes it a fun experience.
Whether you hit a local spot, sit around a private reserved table at the eatery downstairs, or you just walk behind the office to get some sun during the meeting; the break from the norm will put a smile on your employee’s faces.
The bottom line is, to make your employees work life more fun you have toget creative and mix it up periodically. These types of perks have shown to be a key factor in keeping your best people for a long time because they know that you care about them too.
The big perks are not within everyone’s grasp but the point is to try for what is within yours.
If you need help then please contact me for a free strategy session to work on what you can do to make your workplace more enjoyable for your employees so you can reduce your employee turnover rate and improve your company’s profits as you scale your business.