10 Simple things to try today
As well as advising on how to ‘stay legal’ and avoid Employment Tribunal claims we also strive to improve the world of work for all and in particular we help our business clients to be better employers and provide a great work environment for their staff.
It was with this in mind that we were considering the SIMPLE ways that Employers can improve the work environment and be better than their competition. We have therefore produced this simple list of 10 things you can do today, at no additional cost.
1. Be flexible
Many people are looking for a work-life balance and have families. Good employers are open to alternative arrangements, such as working from home or part-time. This shows employees that you trust them and want them to live well-rounded lives.
2. Be Enthusiastic
Try not to appear negative or disinterested – you need to lead from the top. Your behavior has a huge impact on the work environment so regardless of how you may be feeling that day endeavor to leave your troubles out of the work place. Consider practicing the ‘last 100 metres’ – i.e. take a deep breath as you approach the last 100 metres into your work place and mentally park your troubles at the door.
An enthusiastic workplace environment will ensure customers and clients are treated respectfully and any conflict will be resolved more effectively. This will also encourage productivity.
3. Keep employees informed about the direction of the business
It is good to keep employees informed about what is going on with your business, the mission and long-term goals. This will make employees feel trusted and helps them identify with your goals and feel driven to help you succeed.
If you think that your message is already clear to all staff, try asking a random selection to summarise the business goals and see what they say.
In a successful business all employees should be able to communicate the goals and vision of the business in a couple of sentences.
4. Say Thank-you
People need acknowledgement, appreciation and gratitude to be motivated. Genuine compliments, or certificates of achievement for example are a good way to thank employees with no cost.
5. Smile & be positive
A positive outlook is important in life, and this is no different in the workplace. A smile costs nothing and promotes positivity. Have fun and try not to take things so seriously all of the time.
6. Run a business to be proud of!
If you run a business which genuinely gives something to the world. If your product or service adds value then employees will take a sense of meaning from their work and feel good about the company they work for, and what they do.
7. Acknowledge achievements publicly
A good employer acknowledges staff achievements publicly, within the workplace, but gives criticism in private.
8. Say hello and good morning/afternoon
No matter what your position in the business or how busy you are, you should always say hello and good morning to employees. This may sound like a fairly obvious thing, but it is surprising the amount of times that employee clients will say to us “and you know what the boss never even said hello when we passed in the corridor”.
Whilst it may seem like a small thing it is something that will stick with employees and cause bad will. I remember that at my previous employer many years ago the MD would ignore people in the corridor and whilst I doubt it was a deliberate act it had a massive impact on what her employees thought of her and how they behaved at work accordingly. Never underestimate the importance of saying hello.
9. Use employee names
If you have read ‘How to win friends and influence people’ by Dale Carnegie you will know that there is no more important word to a person than their own name (if you have not read it I would highly recommend you do). There are plenty of examples out there of amazingly successful business owners with huge companies who would deliberately take the time to learn and remember employee’s names. If you are not doing this already then give it a try and see what a difference it makes.
10. Open & Honest Communication
If you have read any of my previous blog posts or listened to the podcast you will know that I am always banging on about communication in the workplace and the fact that it is the number 1 key to a happy workforce and to preventing problems from arising/or escalating.
If you take one thing from this list, it is to consider how well you communicate with your employees. Wherever possible respond quickly to any concerns from your employees and inform them of any changes so that they can plan for and prepare for the change.
Don’t forget getting advice from a Solicitor does not have to be complicated or costly!
This article was written in collaboration between Alison Colley, Solicitor and Abigail Stiles, Business Administration Apprentice