There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that happy employees are more productive employees. Just think back to those awful days spent slaving at a corporate job, wondering whether there was more to life than this. You really didn’t want to give more than the bare minimum, right?
Having a positive and inclusive workplace culture is vital to the success of small businesses, as you want your employees to contribute as much as they can to your venture. But it’s not as simple as it looks. Luckily, we’ve got your back with these simple tips on how you can spread positive vibes throughout your office.
Take the time to get to know your employees personally
I know what you’re thinking, who has the time these days to manage more than the occasional by-the-coffee-machine-chat. But getting to know your employees as individuals will not only make them feel like they’re an actual part of your team, rather than just another cog, but will also arm you with knowledge of what areas they might have a particular talent in. Something as simple as sitting down for an hour every once in a while to talk about your employees’ personal lives and hobbies can make a world of difference in the long run.
Work through problems together
Sure, you don’t want to end up babying your staff whenever a small bump in the road comes up, but working out solutions to major problems as a team is a great way to help reduce stress and anxiety in your office. There’s nothing worse than living in fear of being chewed out by your boss for a hiccup you just can’t figure out on your own. Take away those negative feelings by offering to work through problems together, even if it’s just to help set someone in the right direction so you can move onto your own work. It’ll take a bit of time to start with, but your employees will definitely thank you later.
Recognise when personal problems are impacting on the workplace and talk them through
In today’s world of constant connection it can be hard to leave your personal problems at the door and it’s important to recognize when something is weighing on the mind of one of your employees. Real-world problems can have a huge impact on the energy in your office, with everything from problems with personal relationships to missing their dog dramatically influencing whether your team will be working at optimal performance. If the problem is something you can fix or help out with, do it, but if not the least you can do is lend an ear to listen.
Be generous when rewarding merit but don’t give it out for everything
This isn’t primary school where you have to keep a sheet of gold star stickers on hand at all times, but taking the time to reward an employee who beat their monthly budget or did some other amazing thing in the name of your business is an important step in spreading positivity. Little things like flowers or a box of chocolates on their desk before they get in can turn a mediocre day into a pretty stellar one and will inspire that individual to keep working hard. Just remember not to hand out those chocolates for everything, you still want to make receiving them feel special enough that your employees will strive to get there.
Take the time to explain any changes you implement to avoid anxiety
It’s a given that things are going to change a lot in the process of implementing and strengthening your business plan. While this is sure to be stressful to you, spare a moment for how any changes can impact on your team’s frame of mind. Taking a few moments to call a team meeting and explain any changes that are going to take place – and how they will affect your employees – can save everyone a lot of grief. Just imagine if one of your key employees decides to move on because they thought they were going to be let go due to a miscommunication about upcoming changes.
Ultimately, communication is the secret key to a positive workplace.
Shannon Coward is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who spent her formative years surrounded by small business owners. In her free time she bumbles her way around the globe, which you can find evidence of on Instagram, @ofthosewhowander.