The HR Blog
September can be a tough month for employees. The holiday season is coming to an end, many are juggling the challenge of enrolling their children into a new school year, whilst others may be dreading going back to work after returning from 2 weeks in Ibiza. This is all human nature and so I have had a look at a few simple but effective strategies to try and keep your colleagues motivated.
Keeping your colleagues happy at work is the most important thing you can do in HR. As we know people drive profit and so it makes sense that happy employees will be more productive and motivated. You want your employees to want to come into work every day, and there are a number of things you can do to help create this kind of environment.
1) Have Faith in Your Employees
Your employees need to know they are trusted – offer out responsibility, don’t just delegate it. Offering responsibility also creates friendly competition and will force your workers to step up. Encourage your employees to take on challenging jobs and roles to help them thrive. Setting minimum number targets is sometimes necessary- be it sales, the number of emails sent out etc – but can be bad form. This can stress your employees and you can’t expect them to be equally productive on every single shift. Worse still they will spend more time trying to work out ways to hit the numbers rather than focusing on the quality of what they are doing! I wonder how many people have left the recruitment industry prematurely, due to the archaic (and frankly lazy) management style of giving everyone a generic set of KPIs regardless of their individual circumstances and beating them up if not achieved.
2) Prioritise Employee Health and Self-care
Happy employees are more productive and take fewer sick days on average. HR needs to align with the bottom line and so this is a clear win. And don’t you want your employees to love working for you?
Start workplace initiatives to encourage a mentally healthy environment. A workplace running club could be a great way to build relationships amongst employees and improve the mental and physical health of your workers. Why not hold a walking meeting? Take your workers outside and hold a walk and talk! Encourage your workers to take breaks. Sometimes a few minutes in a different environment can refresh and re-engage. Promoting flexible working even if it is just a day a week at home or flexibility around start/finish times can really make a difference to people who are juggling a commute etc.
3) Connect with Your Employees Outside of Work
Arrange teambuilding exercises – but be careful to avoid tired clichés. Nobody wants a “which team can build the best x,y or z!” Do not force the fun.
Employees may prefer a group night out or a nature-based excursion. Ask around the office or offer a poll to let your workers decide what they would enjoy the most! Charity days are a great way of giving back to the community while allowing your workers to let their hair down. Think about integrating a monthly day outside of the office doing something enjoyable.
4) Praise Your Workers Often
A little bit of praise can go a long way. Letting somebody know they have done a great job could be the difference between a bad day and a great day and will also create mutual respect between you and your employee.
“Employee of the month” may be old school but can still be used to great effect – why not try awarding different categories for each month? This way, employees with different strengths can still prosper. Make sure the competition remains friendly and inclusive.
5) Understand Your Workers Are Human Beings
It is vital that you see your workers as people with their own goals, ambitions, and problems. They are not just cogs in your working machine. Be understanding with time-off requests. Take an interest in your workers outside lives and support them when you are able. It is pointless to lambast your workers for being 5 minutes late every now and then. Create an environment of understanding. Does an employee look stressed today? Ask them what’s up and see if you can help.
6) Provide Tools For Growth
Offer training programs for your workers in different aspects of the business. This allows them to pursue their own ambitions with the help of your company. The last thing you want an employee to think is that they are in a dead-end job. Make sure there is constant room for progression in your workspace. Have a suggestion box or similar to take your employees input in. What would they like to see in the workplace to help them? If you continually integrate worker’s suggestions, employees will feel they have the power to make changes.
7) Offer Perks That Fulfill Employee’s Needs
Take the time to ask your employees what kind of benefits they would like. Gym memberships, free lunch, funding a training program, paternity leave, etc. Adapt the benefits you offer to help your employees enjoy their lives outside of work. Emphasise the two-way relationship between the employer and employee. It is important also to recognize what is great for one employee may have no relevance for another and so a good selection or flexibility is important.
If your office has a strict dress code, why not have a day of the week where workers can wear whatever they like? Or relax the dress code altogether for employees that are not customer-facing. Using some or all of these human resources strategies will help you create a happier, more enjoyable workplace for your employees. You should strive to be the place that everybody wants to work at. Happy employees are productive and satisfied at work. Treat your workers like a big family and in return, they will treat your company in the same way!
It’s sometimes easy in HR to over complicate things, however often if you get the basics right it can make a huge difference to the culture of your business. Organisations are not much without their people and so it makes sense to treat them in a human way and not just see them as a cost on a spreadsheet.
These are a just a few things that I have picked up on from my time in the workplace and as always would be very interested to hear what has and what hasn’t worked for you when looking at motivation and engagement.
Paul is an experienced Recruiter with extensive exposure gained across a diverse range of industry sectors. Equally happy working at entry through to director level, he is well placed to advise on any recruitment or job search challenges that you may be currently facing.