As a business owner it is more important than you may think to foster a positive company culture and atmosphere. Appreciating your employees can, and often does help productivity. If your employees like you and their job, they are more likely to work harder and reach higher potential because they feel appreciated. It is important to take time to imagine yourself in their shoes and to reward, and acknowledge, not only great work, but a great attitude. So how do you show appreciation and foster this positive culture within your place of business?
- Create some sort of appreciation/incentive program – Of course verbalizing your appreciation for an employee’s hard work and/or making acknowledgment of an accomplishment is great, but you may want to think about actually giving them something for it. Providing an incentive program upfront can help to give an employee that extra push they need to go above and beyond. At The Brothers that just do Gutters, our installers are provided with a “Skills Ladder” up front, and in writing, spelling out exactly what they will need to do and accomplish in order to get promoted and receive more responsibility. This leaves the success in their own hands, shows a path to success, and lets them know that they will be acknowledged for the hard work they put in. A clear path to success is not often laid out for employees and they are often provided with open ended promises that they never actually see unfold, especially in the trades industry.
- Create a comfortable relationship with your employees – You may think that you are the boss and you need to show this in the way that you act, but often making your employees feel comfortable around you, and letting them know you can come to them with a number of things is more productive. To some extent, it is important for you as the boss to make it known that you are in fact the boss, but it is not necessary to scare your workers. As stated above, it is common, and human nature, for people to work hard for causes and people they like and believe in. If they want to see you and the company succeed they’ll work harder to make sure that happens. Creating this relationship with employees also helps to create a more positive everyday environment, as well as keep you in the loop with what’s going on in your office.
- Employee and company events/exercises – Try to have a few employee events a year (holiday dinners, summer BBQ’s, company business events). Having employees that get along and can also be with each other in other settings than the office, will again help to create this positive, happy environment at work. This also creates something for employees to talk about and look forward to – comradery. We do participate in, and host, a few yearly events as a company including a summer BBQ, and a holiday party. We also believe it is important to include team members in business events such as award dinners, Chamber of Commerce events, business dinners etc. This helps them again feel appreciated but also feel like they are really a part of something, and a part of the bigger picture.
- Genuinely care about the people who work for you – This may seem general and maybe even obvious, but you may not be being as genuine as you think. There is a difference between going through the motions and actually genuinely caring about what your employees think, are feeling, and about their success. When they come to you with a concern, you are actually then concerned yourself, and work to take steps to fix it. This again makes employees feel like coming to you, as the boss, is not only comfortable but also productive. They feel heard and at the same time, you are able to correct a potential problem. Also, don’t just care about the “bad stuff” but the good stuff too. Be excited for an employee when they reach new levels of success or just have good news to share. Be proud of the changes they make and you will continue to see more changes and growth. Investing in your employees is essentially investing in the growth of your business. Don’t forget just how important they are to your success as a business as a whole!
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy