Employees are everything within a business – they are the people who build the product, carry out the service, interact with customers, and maintain the company culture. One article from Entrepreneur.com found that unhappy employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion a year in the form of lost productivity.
Plus, nobody enjoys interacting with an employee who is unhappy, snappy, or overworked. So when you ensure that your employees are happy, you’re also taking steps to ensure your clients are satisfied.
Making sure every employee knows exactly what their job is and how to do it will go a long way. Add in some solid recognition and growth opportunities and you have a recipe for success.
1. Hire The Right Employees To Begin With
As you work to assemble or grow your staff, be sure to take steps to hire employees that will fit in with your company’s mission.
In order to do that, you’ll need to start by defining your company’s mission and culture. What is your vision for your company and your team? How do you want your team to interact with each other and with clients? What messages do you want to portray?
Once you’ve determined the answers to those questions you can go about hiring team members that fit in with your vision and mission for your company. Starting by knowing what you want your company’s team to look like will help you avoid hiring people that don’t align with your company’s mission.
Hire for personality knowing you always train for skills.
2. Make Responsibilities Clear Before You Hire
Another step to improve employee experience is to make job responsibilities crystal clear during the interview process. This is especially important as you get to second and third interviews.
So many times employees are unhappy because they feel the job wasn’t what they thought it was going to be. This problem can be avoided when you ensure that full job responsibilities are outlined during the interview process.
As you or your HR rep are explaining job duties to potential employees, be sure to ask them how they feel about each duty and if they’re familiar with how to perform it as well. If both the interviewer and the interviewee are clear and honest during the interview process, you’ll avoid potential misunderstandings that could cause problems later on.
3. Balance The Company Workload Evenly
Both employees that don’t have enough to do and those who have too much to do are at risk of leaving your company because they’re unhappy. Employees that have too much to do can feel overwhelmed and incapable.
Employees that don’t have enough to do can feel inadequate and unnecessary. If you’re looking to improve employee satisfaction, continually monitor your team members’ workloads and make transfers of responsibility when necessary.
Side Note: Before transferring employee responsibilities, check in with both the person you’re transferring from and the one you’re transferring to. Explain that you’re not unhappy with the performances of the employees but that you’re trying to balance the workload. That way you can avoid any potential for hurt feelings between team members.
4. Seek Out And Value Employee Opinion
If you’re hiring the right team members, chances are they’ll have great ideas about how to make your business more successful. For that reason, it’s important to seek out ideas and opinions from your team members.
Ask team members what their opinion is when you’re kicking around ideas for products, services, or expansions. Encourage them to be on the lookout for creative ideas. Reward employees for coming up with new ideas that help improve your company.
One way to do this might include giving employees some time each week or month to work on their own ideas for improving the company. Google is famous for its “20% time,” where employees are allowed to dedicate one day a week to any project of their choosing.
This practice has led to some incredible projects like Gmail and AdSense. However, the most significant advantage of the practice may be the fact that it gives employees a sense of ownership in the company. Also, it gives them an outlet for “outside the box” thinking.
Lastly, encourage employees to work together on potential ideas. As Henry Ford once said:
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
You most likely hired the team members you have because you saw something in them that would add value to your company. Work to draw out their creative ideas by encouraging them to be a part of a vision that sees your company improving continually.
5. Review And Check In Regularly
Another part of improving the employee experience is to check in with employees and review performance regularly. A good team member wants to know how they’re doing at their job.
When company owners and managers check in regularly, they’re giving employees the chance to address any potential concerns before those concerns become serious problems. And when you conduct regular reviews, you’re helping ensure team members know whether their performance is in line with expectations.
And as you’re sharing feedback, be sure that feedback is given in a constructive manner. That doesn’t mean you should sugarcoat serious issues; it just means you should work to approach issues in a way that says “How can we do better?”
Bonus: Regular reviews, when done thoroughly, give employees and managers an opportunity to talk about growth and promotion within the company, thereby using the review as an opportunity to increase employee satisfaction. More on that in a bit.
When your team members know via regular check-ins that you are thinking about them and care about how their job is going, you’re showing them that they are more than just a number to you and your company.
Related Article: How To Train Employees Effectively
6. Offer Attractive Pay And Benefits
As the old saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding.” When it comes to improving employee experience, it’s important that you as a manager or owner put your money where your mouth is. In other words, show me the money.
The fact of the matter is that pay and benefits really do matter to employees. This 2015 survey showed that participants ranked compensation as the second-highest contributor to job satisfaction, second only to respectful treatment of employees.
It also affects how you treat them. If you know they are underpaid you’ll expect less and let things slide that you shouldn’t because you know in your heart you aren’t compensating them fully. Paying employees fairly allows you to expect the best from them.
The takeaway? If you want to improve employee experience be sure to treat your employees respectfully. However, don’t forget to compensate them well as a part of that process. A good employee experience is well-rounded in all areas pertaining to job satisfaction.
7. Create An Environment Of Respect, Encouragement, And Fun
How can you ensure your team members feel respected? You can start by creating a positive environment. Institute company policies that demand respect of fellow employees.
In addition, you can reward team members who encourage others with badges or similar awards. Make employee recognition a regular part of your team members’ duties. Have procedures in place for handing out both smaller, private pats on the back and larger, more public recognition awards.
Having a way for employees to recognize each other also allows for appreciation and recognition that you, yourself, don’t have to be involved in. Plus, it creates a culture where employees treat each other well too — not just the boss.
Last but not least, encourage fun within your company. Have monthly potlucks. Organize quarterly afternoons off where you and your team do a fun activity such as a picnic or escape room event. Work hard, but play hard too.
8. Show Employees You Value Their Life Outside Of Work
Every one of your team members has a life they value outside of the workplace; no matter how different each one’s personal life may be. As a manager or owner, you can go a long way in improving the employee experience by showing employees that you respect and value their personal life.
How can you do that? Here are some suggestions.
- Ask them how their families/pets/loved ones are doing
- Remember details they share and follow up with check-ins later on
- Get to know the names of their loved ones and pets
- Buy holiday gifts for employees that fit in with their personal life (i.e. include dog treats if they have a dog)
- Find ways to work overtime hours or extra responsibilities around how their home life runs
- Be open to flexible scheduling, remote work days, and other family-friendly work ideas
- Organize work fun events that include guests/family members
In short, be sure your team members know that you care for them and for their loved ones. And show that by your actions.
9. Reward “Above And Beyond” Work
When a team member really goes all out and does much more than what’s required of them, it helps to acknowledge and reward those types of efforts accordingly. The rewards you give for these types of “above and beyond” efforts can vary.
As an example, you can give the deserving team member a paid day off. Or get them a gift card to a favorite store or restaurant. Maybe you could allow them to incorporate a flexible scheduling idea or ask them to accompany you to an important business lunch.
And for employees who go above and beyond consistently, you can offer them larger rewards such as an unexpected pay raise or a promotion. Don’t hesitate to reward great behavior publicly either. Those earned rewards may just encourage other team members to follow suit.
Related Article: 20 Employee Appreciation Ideas For Small Businesses
10. Encourage Growth And Promotion
As you work to implement the ideas above, don’t forget to encourage growth and promotion within the workplace. Stagnancy has a way of taking the wind out of the sails for employees.
A great employee experience happens when team members are encouraged to try and do new things in a way that challenges them but doesn’t overwhelm them.
Keep an eye on each of your team members and look for their best traits. Is it possible that your bookkeeper would do better as a sales rep? Or vice versa? Is it time to promote a sales assistant to a sales representative position?
Is there an important task you can assign to a team member to test their moxie? Taking risks is a scary thing for many people, but doing so also builds confidence and improves creativity.
Look for opportunities for growth and promotion for team members and show them that you believe in them.
Use Ownership to Develop Autonomy
Another way to accomplish this goal is to help employees create a sense of autonomy. Allow them to own a process, or a result, on their own. By allowing someone to be single-handedly responsible for an important project or task, you provide an opportunity for an employee to take pride and ownership in their work.
The faster a team member’s competence accelerates, the more they will enjoy working. This is because gaining skill is both intrinsically rewarding (in the sense that they are improving at something), and extrinsically rewarding (in the sense that the employee becomes more valuable) at the same time.
Encouraging ownership of projects and ideas will encourage growth within your company as a whole.
11. Encourage Community-Building
Lastly, work to create a company culture that fosters connection, both in breadth and depth. Encourage team members to have lunch together. Plan inter-department events where people from different teams get to work or play together. Have inter-department discussion groups to toss around ideas to grow and improve your company.
Having employees feel connected to their work community helps them feel meaning and purpose in the work they do. As a bonus, the more people from different teams get to meet each other, the easier it is for ideas to spread within the company.
Giving employees repeated exposure to colleagues on different teams is an excellent way to help your company work as one well-oiled machine.
And don’t forget about encouraging community building outside of the workplace. Plan events where you and your employees can give back to the community you’re housed in. Get involved with charitable events. Work a meal at the local homeless shelter.
Take the old adage “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and use it to benefit your community and improve the employee experience.
Wrapping it Up: Improve Your Employee Experience
Improving employee experience takes planning, time, and patience. However, putting in the efforts to do so results in rewards that are well worth the efforts.