We are products of our environments. Therefore, it is vital to lay strong foundations for a positive working atmosphere for staff to be able to flourish and succeed – particularly so considering that over two thirds of our adult life is spent at work.
An environment in which employees have mutual respect, feel appreciated and valued contributes strongly towards creating a happy workforce.
So what exactly are the key components to achieving a positive environment and mindset in the workplace?
A common misconception is that a pay rise is the most powerful force to motivate staff members. Whilst a pay increase might initially please the recipient, the reality is that it soon gets absorbed by daily living costs, meaning the positive result is short lived.
In fact, sometimes it’s the seemingly smaller gestures that give big (and lasting!) bang for their buck.
Recognition is simple, yet effective, and managers who help their staff to value one another will reap the benefits of this. A Globoforce 2011 study found that only 24% of employees are satisfied with their recognition at work and 78% revealed that being recognised motivated them in their job.
There are several ways to help to maintain morale. For example, when an employee has worked longer hours, or put in extra effort, it’s important to show appreciation. A simple thank you goes a long way to increasing engagement.
A recognition scheme implemented by a Siemens gave employees the opportunity to recognise and commend their peers personally – from sending a simple E card for helping out with a deadline to nominating someone who has really gone the extra mile via bi-monthly awards.
Since the launch of the scheme Siemens has seen an uplift of 168% in recognitions with 23,971 awards allocated, showing that employees can and will value and appreciate each other if encouraged to do so. Respect and courtesy are simple, yet important factors, and if achieved in the workplace can have a significant impact on the overall perception of work.
Feedback is fundamental in everyday employer-employee relations. Employees need to be aware of how they are doing and also what they can do to improve. Bersin 1011 stresses that managers need to provide a continual feedback process which focuses on and employees future performance and career path. The sense of growth and development is a primary driver of employee engagement and managers who are highly effective in coaching and supporting employees outperform their colleagues by a 2 to 1 ratio in productivity, retention and performance.
Organisations should encourage suggestions and input, showing staff that their opinions count. Many employees have invaluable ideas which could benefit the company, yet often remain unvoiced unless requested.
Also, linking employee objectives to the overall company goals ensures that staff can recognise their contributions to the company’s vision. Encouraging development through training shows employees that the business is willing to invest in them, as well as providing the employer with an engaged and skilled workforce. Find out what talents the team has and utilise these when delegating projects to ensure they are using their areas of expertise and redeveloping in relevant areas.
Reward good work. Have exciting or relevant incentives that are attainable. This gives employees something tangible to work towards. Also consider the frequency of incentives – regular rewards drive positive behaviour.
Of course, in today’s struggling economy rewards must be carefully administered. The impressive rewards offered in more fruitful days are unlikely to be feasible but, nevertheless, if an employer chooses to offer a token gesture of thanks it should make the employee feel valued. Rewards such as the Spree card, a pre-paid MasterCard® or gift cards are cost-effective, yet also have the power to give everyone the choice of what they want, leaving employees with a happy memory and a smile.
The Globoforce study also revealed that 84% of employees preferred a wide choice of gift cards as a primary reward mechanism, so be sure that you are offering rewards that will appeal.