As someone running a business, making the extra effort to show your employees that they’re valuable is probably not the highest item on your list of priorities, with so many other things to worry about that are necessary to keep your company running without a hitch. It should, however, rank somewhere on that list because the happier your team is, the better they are going to perform.
It doesn’t take a whole lot to give your team members an occasional pat on the back and instill your confidence in them. Let’s look at a few ways that you can do this.
1. Regular Increase in Pay
If someone is doing an exceptional job for the company, the last thing you want to do is to forget to give them a periodic raise. It doesn’t have to be a large raise, unless you believe it appropriate to do that, but the problem that can arise is when someone could become secretly disgruntled but never say anything about it because most people don’t want to face the confrontation of asking for a raise, directly.
Money talks. It’s probably the most sure way to prove to an employee that you are happy with the work they’re doing, and that the person is an asset to the company. Even if it’s a small wage increase every 6 months, or a very small increase every 3 months, that says a lot to an employee.
2. Ask Them for Their Professional Opinion
If you have an employee who excels at what they do in even a somewhat specialized field, then that means they know what they’re doing at least within their given field of expertise. That person will be more than happy to assist you if they’re good at what they do.
Asking them for their professional opinion or assistance will help you, too, because they know certain areas better than you do, which is why you hired them in the first place. Most importantly, it makes them feel needed when you trust them for their advice. This is something that we all need.
To extend further trust to them, you can even consult with them on special projects or ask them to take it over entirely if you see that they’re enthusiastic about it and know that they can handle it. This creates a better rapport with them while relieving you of extra work at the same time.
3. Include Employees in Meetings
The idea here is to include all of your employees as often as you can, instead of excluding them because you choose to do everything yourself. Obviously, some meetings such as manager or special project meetings might need to be kept separate from others. If you hold a departmental meeting, though, you can include the whole department to make even lower-level employees feel part of the team.
Feeling left out is an emotion that can easily degrade relationships with your team. General staff meetings are an especially good opportunity to show everybody that they’re an important member of the team, as you can invite all employees without leaving anyone out.
4. Expect a Lot from Your Employees
With employees who perform very well, your instinct will probably be to not add any stress to them, but expecting great things from them is not a bad thing. Expecting a higher level of work from people shows trust, that you value them more highly and have confidence that they can handle more.
At the same time, don’t confuse this with the practice of overloading someone just because you know they’ll do it. That would clearly be taking advantage of a devoted employee, which is the opposite of what you want to be doing.
While taking care not to burn them out, give high-performing employees opportunities to take on more responsibility, eventually higher pay, and to prove their worth to you, which increases their job satisfaction and benefits your business.
5. Make Sure They Feel that They’re Part of the Team
So, as you’re taking these measures to improve job satisfaction and general morale of your employees, you’ll want to check in with each of them periodically, too, and make sure they feel connected.
Rely on employees to get everything done for which they are responsible—this is important. Take the risk of relying completely on employees to do what they’re supposed to do (which is a small risk) because if you hired them for something, then you should be able to trust them to do that job. Don’t micromanage people unless you absolutely have to do it.
If someone misses the mark or disappoints you in some way, then you should of course take disciplinary action; however, until then, it’s very good for morale when you trust them to do their job without any intervention.
6. Use Positive Reinforcement
Here’s on element that is frequently neglected in the workplace, and as the owner, you can ensure that it is never overlooked. While showing confidence in employees through wage increase is important, there is another key piece that you should pay attention to, as well.
There’s no need for a big, showy display, but giving employees a message directly or positive reinforcement can do wonders for their morale. From the time that we’re children, all of us want to be told that we’ve done a good job in some shape or form.
All you need to do is to send a quick note every once in a while, either thanking employees for their hard work, congratulating them when a tough project has been completed, or any other kind of reinforcing comment. People massively appreciate even the smallest compliment as a reward for their work.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t been using any of these practices. Chances are, you do greatly appreciate your team but never even think about taking any action to show them because you assume they know it already. They are, after all, getting paid. The thing is that most of us need a show of confidence and trust from our employer from time to time, even if it’s a very small gesture.
For the little energy and time that it takes to express these gestures, it is well worth it to keep employees happy because they will always give you that extra little something when they know they are valued.