Studies show that contentment at work leads to greater productivity (by as much as 20%) and increased retention over the long term. No matter what the industry, from general temp staff labor, janitorial, remote workers, to programmers and CEOs, if the employee isn’t happy they aren’t engaged. If they aren’t engaged, their work suffers and the likelihood that they will leave your organization increases. It is critical that your company makes every effort to unlock the secrets to make your employees happy.
If your organization is doing any of the following 3 things, stop it. It makes your employees cranky!
1. Not communicating the end from the means.
Yes, work is work. Not all work is glamorous and it’s hard to enjoy every job. But every job can be fulfilling if the worker feels like they are part of a greater purpose. Effective leaders successfully communicate the vision of the company. Good supervisors command respect by explaining how every single employee’s role is important to fulfill that vision. If an employee knows their work matters, this understanding will translate to greater performance.
2. No self-direction allowed!
There is good data that show employees that feel some autonomy in directing their work perform at a much higher level. In fact, most employees value autonomy more than they do money. One great example of this is Starbucks. Did you know Starbucks gives their managers freedom to organize the store the way they feel is best to serve their customers? They also let employees have some personal choices in what to wear. It is no coincidence that they call their employees “partners”. Look for opportunities in your company to give workers personal freedom. Where possible, foster an environment of accountability while at the same time allowing creativity for your employees to solve their day to day challenges using their own methods. You may find that your people working the front lines have some of the best and most effective ideas to improve your business and solve the problems they and your customers encounter every day.
3. Unfair time tracking policies.
Are you upset when an employee leaves at 4:45pm, but marks down 5:00pm on their timecard? How about when they are 20 minutes late and have their buddy punch them in? Just like you don’t like employees rounding or stealing time from you, this goes both ways. Some companies will round in their favor for each punch. If an employee shows up 6 minutes early to work, they will round up to the hour. If they stay 7 minutes late, they round down to the hour. Other times they will require an employee to begin work 10 minutes before they are able to use the time clock to punch in. Betrayal is one of the strongest human emotions and expecting your people to track their time accurately to the minute and not returning the favor makes for grumpy workers (not to mention, this rounding practice and requiring employees to work before punching is illegal in the USA and many other countries). In short, the best policy is transparency. Find a time system that is easy for your people to use and doesn’t compromise accuracy. Just get the correct time in the first place and there are no arguments or feelings of hypocrisy.