In stark contrast to workers from a few generations ago, most people in the working world today are looking for more than just a paycheck and the guarantee that they will have a job tomorrow. They want to enjoy their work and be happy about what they do.
These are the new realities facing CEO’s and business leaders today. Innovative companies such as Google, Apple and even Groupon have changed the climate by converting the office from a simple work space to an entire corporate culture that employees can embrace and feel as if they are a part of something greater.
Companies that can figure out how to instill these values into their businesses can benefit from having workers who are more engaged, better motivated, and more likely to provide friendly, helpful service to your customers.
To succeed in this type of environment, CEO’s and other leaders have to abandon old-world views of the work place and embrace these new realities by finding ways to make their workers happier, more satisfied and better adjusted. The payoff will be a more productive workforce; more satisfied customers and, ultimately, increased profits.
Cultures Can’t Be Bought
Before you go off and spend a fortune on employee perks such as an ungraded employee dining room, extravagant break areas, or expensive performance bonuses, take a moment to consider what your employees are really wanting from your company.
While physical things like these are nice, they are worthless if your workers are still feeling unappreciated and unrecognized. That’s why the first step in improving your company’s culture is by taking a look at your current rewards and recognition programs.
Employees today want more than just a paycheck. They want to feel as if they are doing something important with their career, that their labor means something and, equally important, that somebody is paying attention. The worker who comes in, puts in his 40 hours, and goes home without ever being recognized is less likely to be satisfied in his work than somebody who is given the type of recognition they feel they deserve.
Reward and recognition programs don’t have to be costly. In fact, some of the most effective cost practically nothing. For example, you can require your managers to interact personally with every worker in their department and tell them what a great job they are doing and how much they appreciate their hard work.
Recognizing the Individual
The best way to make your team members feel as if they are more than just a cog in a machine is to learn something personal about them. This is possible even if you have hundreds or even thousands of employees if you take advantage of your management structure.
Directors have managers working for them. Managers have supervisors. And supervisors have line level employees. It would be very rare for any one of the members of your management team to have more than 20 or 30 direct report employees. Require every member of your management team to make a personal connection with each of their direct reports, and you can strengthen both the bond between supervisor and employee and also the bond between your workers and the corporate culture you are trying to instill.
People want to be proud of where they work, not just collect a paycheck. One of the easiest ways to instill this pride is by providing branded perks to your work force that they can wear with pride outside the work place.
You don’t have to spend a fortune. Simple bonus gifts such as branded hats or t-shirts can cost you pennies per unit but bring in a fortune in good will and improved employee morale.
Charge your human resources department with seeking out discounts at local businesses – such as gym or restaurants – that you can provide to your employees as a perk for working there. These types of special intangibles can go a long way toward instilling pride of place and reinforcing their place as a strong, productive member of your team.
While it’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to improving employee morale, even the smallest investment in time or money can reap enormous rewards when it comes to employee job satisfaction and creating a happier work environment.