As the economy continues to recover, people are more and more confident about the job market — which means that today’s employees are looking towards job satisfaction more than they have in recent times.
Today, the team here at Corporate Essentials is aiming to ease your effort of giving employees better access to a satisfying work experience. With our almost twenty years of experience, we have noticed the qualities that help businesses in New Jersey and New York thrive. We’ve sifted through scores of studies, online polls and tips our teams have picked up along the way to bring you this list of 50 practical things you can do to bolster job satisfaction for your employees, starting today.
1. Have consistent values
Establishing a set of core corporate values is a great idea. Core values give employees something to strive for, and a measure by which to evaluate new ideas and plans, “how does project X promote our value of Y”.
This sows seeds that contribute to a rich corporate culture over time, providing workers with a point of pride and focus. However, conflicting values, or values that run contrary to the overall mission of the firm, can prove confusing. So, aim to have values that are clear, concise and above all else, consistent.
2. Maintain long-term focus
Particularly in the face of adversity, keeping your eyes on a future target is a key strategy for successful people. Your staff and company are no different. Having something people can pull their collective attention back toward during a crisis can be a great motivator. The hard work and dedication will pay off in the long run; the disappointment and setbacks are only temporary.
3. Show strong local leadership
Good leaders cultivate job satisfaction for staff. However, as your company continues to grow it can be easy to overlook the importance of strong leaders in local environments.
Where people are charged with a responsibility to guide others through a project that person needs to be an accomplished leader regardless of the “level” at which the project happens. This means using the same care to choose the leadership in your satellite offices as you take in choosing leaders at your flagship campus.
4. Continuously communicate
One of the most important things you can do is communicate with your employees. People feel more at ease when they know what is going on in the office, what future plans may be and how any changes will impact them.
But to really use communication to boost job satisfaction, you need to provide a two-way communications scheme. Encourage staff to share information among themselves, as well as with you.
5. Hold regular meetings to keep employees informed
Brief-but-meaningful, regular meetings are a great way to disseminate information to teams and keep job satisfaction high. Encourage remote workers to dial in and listen or watch these meetings, and incentivize staff for participating by holding door prize drawings or other giveaways that only attendees are eligible to win. And be sure you give people who aren’t physically there but went to the trouble of dialing in a chance to win as well!
As the old axiom says: many hands make light work. So let people pitch in. Encourage them to share their ideas about how to best handle situations, projects or office logistics. Every single employee has their own lens through which they view the procedures, policies and processes of your workplace.
Asking for their opinions and help can bring fresh insight that improves the overall experience for everyone. It is helpful to create an environment where people are encouraged to work together, even if their departments aren’t typically collaborative.
One of the best places to encourage that kind of cross-departmental working is your break room. By providing a wealth of healthy snacks, delicious coffee options and other treats, you are giving staff, who may not otherwise ever meet, a place to come together and take a quick break. Those breaks quickly turn into collaborative exchanges that pay dividends in productivity and innovation.
7. Provide a positive working environment
It can be difficult for managers when faced with serious challenges, limited resources and tight deadlines, but it is vital to keep your focus on the good things in the name of job satisfaction. A few suggestions for building a workplace that bursts with positivity are:
- Tell the truth: do not be duplicitous or false in statements you give your teams, sooner or later the truth always comes out so lead with it.
- Practice open communication: meetings behind closed doors, walls between departments and whispered statements in the hallway rapidly create a hostile work environment.
- Praise around problems: rather than focusing on what a department or employee does wrong, highlight the things they are doing right. “Praise around” is a common tactic in successful schools, offering compliments for desired behavior to pupils nearby those who struggle sets the bar for others without highlighting something that is going “wrong”.
8. Provide a place to unwind
Next to your staff, the company break room is likely your most valuable asset. By providing coffee stations, gaming areas, quiet zones for downtime or other places where staff can take a few minutes out now and then encourages them to enjoy their workplace.
Having somewhere to go, away from their desk, gives employees a reason to get up and move, which is good for all sorts of reasons. What’s more, it leads to a higher level of employee satisfaction. Benefits to providing a break room range from less employee downtime due to running out to grab coffees before meetings, to fewer workplace absences thanks to a better health balance through easy access to healthy drinks and snacks.
9. Reward and recognize
Everyone enjoys being recognized for their efforts. While it is true that some people prefer not to be publicly praised, knowing that you have achieved a goal, set a new record or otherwise made an impression is a great motivator for people to strive further in the future.
Giving regular awards for outstanding customer service, employment milestones or achieving goals is a great way to encourage employees to come together and celebrate all the best things about your company. Plus, knowing someone noticed their effort is sure to bolster job satisfaction.
10. Increase employee engagement
Staff who feel involved in the company are more loyal to the firm and more satisfied with their jobs. Keys to boosting job satisfaction through employee engagement are:
- Events: host regular events to encourage employees to engage with one another both inside and outside the workplace. Again, start with something simple, like an office coffee cupping evening or a bulk-booking at the local movie theater for a premier.
- Encourage innovation: Encourage people to have ideas and speak up about them by fostering a culture where everyone is invited to the table to collaborate on new projects.
- Planning: when your firm is faced with a new challenge, a big pitch or an opportunity to innovate, give all staff an opportunity to contribute ideas toward the solution. This engages staff directly and gives you a chance to showcase fresh talent, which can be a boon to the pride of inexperienced staff.
- Practice random acts: a great way to engage staff across departments is by promoting the notion of just doing nice things for one another. Random acts of kindness can make a huge difference even for someone who is having a good day — and they can be quite contagious.
11. Provide developmental opportunities
Part of providing staff with a clear idea of where they are in the firm and how they can progress to the next level of their career is making good on those promises. If your annual review process provides a space for “training required” or “training requested” aim to meet those needs. It’s hardly fair to dock someone points on their review for not taking a course when you failed to offer it. If your New Jersey office is close to New York City, where a plethora of seminars and workshops are held, there is no excuse for your employees to not be exposed to these types of opportunities.
Additionally, make sure your managers and teams work collaboratively to create time in the schedule for all staff who need to attend. Choose training that aligns with your corporate values, support the goals of your departments and those individual staff may need to live up to their goals.
When you plan training activities that are relevant, work with engaging trainers and provide staff with the time and resources they need to fully participate in training. This allows them to focus on gaining the maximum skill boost from the training in question, which provides the maximum return on your investment in training them.
12. Provide competitive compensation
Insurance, paid holiday, flexible work hours, parking stipends and discounted public transportation are all relatively standard benefits these days. For a company to really stand out and attract top talent, there has to be more on the table. For example, instead of “insurance,” most people are going to be looking for exceptional insurance at a low rate. Consider:
- Unlimited vacation: two weeks of paid time off is still fairly standard, offering more time off makes you stand out in the crowd. Offering unlimited vacation will make your paid time off program exceptional.
- Flexible hours and locale: instead of just offering people the ability to commute outside the normal rush, provide a truly flexible approach to work and let them work from wherever they are.
- Compensation: salary is one thing, but piling on stock options, a solid pension match, vacation time and learning opportunities can push the real compensation figure higher. When you present offers, take all of these into account to help prospective staff evaluate your package fairly.
13. Show respect
Employees are chosen from a field of qualified applicants because they meet your criteria at a variety of levels. This makes them experts at being themselves, respect them for their experience. Even junior members of a team deserve to be treated with respect.
Another point for those interested in treating their employees with more respect is to consider the findings of a study over two decades in the making by Dr. Jack Wiley and Dr. Brenda Kowske. They analyzed hundreds of responses to a seemingly simple question: what do you want from your employer? The responses came to be known as RESPECT:
- Recognition: to be acknowledged for working well, being dedicated, achieving targets, etc.
- Exciting work: to have the right mix of challenges
- Security: to know that the workplace is stable
- Pay: to be compensated appropriately for the work and experience provided
- Education: opportunities to learn new skills and expand personal horizons
- Conditions: a good work environment
- Truth: simple, honest communication for day-to-day and long-term issues
14. Provide workers with responsibility and let them use it
One of the biggest problems people have as they progress through their career paths is that they are given responsibility but not the tools to properly achieve the objectives that responsibility carries. When you put people in charge of a project, you must give them the tools to succeed for them to find job satisfaction in your office.
15. Don’t micromanage
Further, allow your employees to plot their own course toward the goals. Not everyone will manage a project the same way, regardless of what the manual says. Finding your project management style is a process, encouraging your workers to find theirs is a unique benefit.
16. Recognize the whole person
People are not just the jobs they do for your company. They have interests, relationships and commitments outside your office and being willing to acknowledge and even encourage them in those pursuits is a great way to foster job satisfaction.
17. Realize that they are more than workers
Accept the fact that people have other things on their proverbial plate. For example, if you know the traffic from one area is horrendous, offer people who come from that area flexible start times.
18. Your employees have lives, interests, family, friends
The best way to cultivate job satisfaction is by providing people the support they need to manage their other life priorities. Dependents come in many shapes and sizes in our modern world, and it is great to offer employees the time or resources they may need to handle situations that arise.
Make it clear that you support your people by creating an atmosphere where people can communicate with managers about their needs without fear of punishment.
19. Let them take “me time”
Make a distinction between the time people take out for personal appointments and the time they take for others. People are far better at meeting the needs of others, and rising to workplace expectations if their own needs are being met.
20. Encourage work on personal endeavors
Part of being a “whole” person is having interests that are diverse. Offering staff an opportunity to take a sabbatical to pursue other interests, time to research special projects or other opportunities to learn new skills gives them a chance to exercise a different part of their brain than their run-of-the-mill work tasks might require. It also gives them a chance to see a new path for progress through regular work tasks.
21. Offer “free pursuit” time for personal projects
Declaring a specific amount of time that staff can dedicate to their own special projects is one thing. Making sure they have appropriate team support and flexible enough schedules to take that time out is another thing entirely. Creating a workplace where people feel that flexibility is available is a great way to boost job satisfaction.
22. Mark out a clear growth trajectory
No one likes to think they are stuck in a dead end job. Being able to envision where one might be in three, five or ten years time can be a valuable part of planning appropriate training and development in both the middle and immediate term.
Providing clear goalposts with rewards allows staff to plan where their career will take them. This also allows staff to see what is expected of them, and what supplemental support or training may be available along the way.
23. Give employees the autonomy
Another thing that people definitely do not like is feeling like their every move is being watched, monitored and double checked. Assuming your teams did the due diligence you expect them to, your staff are well qualified to do the jobs they are in place to do. So let them!
24. Remove bureaucracy
Eliminate red tape around simple office tasks. No one should have to fill in a triplicate form just to get staples. Look at the layers of bureaucracy your company has created over time, and evaluate which are truly necessary and which things are merely a byproduct of increasing the size of your firm.
Eliminating the hand-holding elements of your systems shows more respect for your staff and frees up their time for real work.
25. Give them the resources they need to strive
Great workplaces provide cutting-edge technology and keep staff in step with innovations relevant to their field. This helps your teams keep their skills sharp and focused on important developments as they occur.
Also, being sure to provide requisite training on new devices, software and concepts as they emerge is a great way to boost job satisfaction for your staff — they are able to learn something new that helps them achieve their goals, and that always helps people feel valued.
26. Never forget about company culture
While you have invested a great deal of time and effort in coming up with core values and a company culture concept that attracts great talent across the board, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of that culture in your day-to-day dealings with employees. Try to keep the corporate culture alive through your actions.
27. Feed people, feed culture
A great, well-stocked break room will lure people in from all corners of your firm. Providing a rotating array of locally crafted treats from nearby New Jersey locations will give people the chance to snack and interact with co-workers from different departments or outlying offices. This feeds into the goal of improving the workplace experience for everyone.
28. Get rid of the crazy dress code
Dress codes can cause a lot of stress for people. By allowing teams to work in what they are happier to wear, you eliminate a barrier to workplace comfort, as well as create an opportunity for people’s personalities to shine through.
29. Never pay staff late
There are plenty of things that make an employee dissatisfied with their job — but nothing will get their hackles up faster than not getting paid on time. While there can be computer glitches and issues with banks, careful scheduling in advance should make the process simple enough for today’s automated systems to keep smooth.
30. Never undermine staff in public
There is a time and a place for delivering constructive criticism, and that is not in the lobby of your client’s office after the big pitch. Think about how you speak to your teams, even at off-site events after hours, because you are still the boss and should treat people accordingly.
31. Identify and deal with “problem people”
While we all work to hire the right people for the right jobs, sometimes a new hire is not the best fit for the team they are brought on to assist. This is often more a personality clash issue than an actual personality problem with the new hire.
However, there are times when a person needs to completely embrace the company culture, and it is important for you to help them do that. The main objective here has to be protecting the morale of the team. If the “problem” employee is bringing people down through poor behavior, a bad attitude or whatever else, that person must be dealt with for the good of the group.
32. Identify and manage challenging employees differently
Communication can be a good way for you to keep tabs on how someone fits within the overall scheme of things. Whether the employee is a new member of staff or a long-standing employee who has had a recent change of circumstances, it is important to address and consider their personality and circumstances as unique and respond accordingly.
33. Change the environment
A change of scenery is a good thing. People who become too attached to their specific desk or view can become complacent, and complacency is the enemy of progress. Consider changing the décor, seating arrangements or even the lighting once a quarter to boost job satisfaction with a fresh perspective.
34. Give feedback
Constantly asking for information from your employees can start to seem like nagging if you are not giving them anything in return. Believe it or not, employees crave feedback, both positive and negative. But that is not to say you should blast their ideas with negative comments.
Instead, try offering ideas on how to refine concepts, how to make a bigger contribution next time or how a different piece of software could make their presentation easier to access. By giving ideas as well as criticism, you help employees feel valued and nurture their sense of belonging to the firm.
35. Above all else, listen
The most vital component of any strategy to boost employee job satisfaction is communication.
- Remove barriers: even when a “flat” organizational structure is not possible, providing staff access to key management is an important part of keeping their job satisfaction high.
- Pay attention: watch what goes on at work, listen to what people say, read feedback and acknowledge you have heard their concerns. If you passively observe their problems and do nothing, you need not have collected the surveys at all.
- Evaluate job satisfaction: on an ongoing basis, ask employees how things are, how things can be improved and what else would make your firm the best place for workers now and in the future.
- Ask employees: how they are really doing, what they need to brighten their day, which sports team they support…ask them anything! A huge component of job satisfaction is feeling like you are heard.
Contributing to your employees’ happiness and satisfaction will be a huge part of success for your business. Consider the different ways you can boost your teams’ job satisfaction — from simply providing quality coffee products to fueling your company’s culture.
If you find yourself stumped for new ideas or lingering over possible solutions, reach out to the team of experts at Corporate Essentials. We can help bring the best beverages and snacks into your New Jersey office. With close to 20 years in the office coffee business, our team has a plethora of insight as to what makes successful company cultures thrive, from stocking the breakroom to fueling an office full of staff.