5 Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy (Without Breaking the Bank)
Happy employees make for profitable businesses.
When your team feels settled and fulfilled in their jobs:
- They take ownership of your company’s success and contribute in proactive ways.
- They inspire and support one another.
- They actively learn and grow in their roles.
- They stay.
I have no better example of this than Miri:
Miri started out as a secretary, but really she was a rockstar in the making. Miri was exactly what you want in an employee. She was self-motivated, disciplined, and had a clear vision. She was also offered better pay to work somewhere else. She stayed with us.
Because she found a home at 911 Restoration. My company has become what it is largely because of her. It’s why she’s our CEO now.
Here are five tactics that have served me (and my employees) well.
1. Establish a Clear Company Culture
Your company culture lays out the values and expected behaviors that define your workplace. It is absolutely crucial for team morale that you establish your company culture intentionally.
By clearly stating your workplace values, you give your team members a sense of security. They know what’s expected of them and they know what they can expect from one another. They also know that you’ll likely take them seriously if they raise concerns about problems related to culture, like a bully coworker.
Your statement of company culture is also an opportunity to highlight the benefits of being on your team. Your culture might include concepts such as:
- We value everyone’s role in the vision.
- Feedback is welcome and appreciated.
- We recognize that each person has a unique strength and encourage them to shine and lead in that area.
- Conflicts will be solved by listening and understanding before reacting emotionally.
- Failure is part of growth.
Think about the jobs you’ve had. If statements like these weren’t made explicitly, what did you assume about leadership’s attitude towards feedback? About the value of individual workers? About failure?
Most employees will go on the defensive, protecting themselves by assuming they’re not in an environment that encourages growth and support over perfection and competition. And guess what happens when team members anticipate values of perfection and competition?
They obsess over perfection and behave competitively. They sweep problems under the rug, throw each other under the bus, and dread Mondays.
Create a place of support and unity, and make sure your team knows about it.
2. Lay Out Expectations and Opportunities
Happy employees are set up for success. This means they know:
- How you define a job well done
- What opportunities lie ahead for them
We business owners tend to forget that we need to communicate these things. I’m guilty of that for sure.
In fact, that was one of the toughest lessons I learned in the early days of my business. I’d get frustrated with an employee for slacking off only to learn that in their mind, they were being proactive and fully committed.
The real problem was that I assumed they knew what I wanted, but they were looking at their own role through a completely different lens.
This is why I’m such a big fan of a well-written job description. It’s a blueprint for employee success. It’s a way of telling your team member exactly what it takes to thrive in your company and how they’ll be rewarded for their performance.
3. Give Your Team a Sense of Purpose
If you don’t have a mission statement, write one. Share it with your team. Make sure they understand how they’re improving the lives of others.
This leadership step is easy to miss. A lot of business owners even miss it for themselves. They tend to associate entrepreneurship so much with financial gain that they don’t realize how much their own career satisfaction depends on their ability to find a sense of purpose in their work.
But it does. Everybody needs to feel like what they do matters, and your employees are no different.
Share your company’s deeper mission with them and make sure they see how their individual efforts make a difference.
Forward that email you got from a relieved homeowner to all the team members who served her. Celebrate the office manager who went above and beyond to untangle a client’s tricky insurance coverage issue. Keep track not only of how much more revenue you brought in this year, but how many more property owners your team has helped.
When you see and celebrate their contributions, they’ll find more joy in what they do.
4. Respect Their Full Humanity
You might know that your employees are full human beings with lives beyond your office, but do you know it know it?
And even if you do, do they know that you know it know it?
One of the best things I ever did for my business was set up one-on-one meetings with every single team member. In these meetings, I asked about their professional goals, their personal goals, their passions and hobbies, the challenges of their job, and any unmet needs they had as my employee.
The better I got to know my team over the years, the better I became at making sure their needs were met.
This meant giving them more opportunities to take on leadership roles that brought them closer to their career goals. Or asking about their families, vacations, or hobbies. Or being flexible when they were going through an unexpected personal crisis or illness.
They responded with greater loyalty and a positive attitude.
One great example of this principle comes from 911 Restoration franchisee Ryan Strickland. Here’s how he encourages his team to let loose with a gator cookout:
When your employees know that it’s safe to be human on your team—that you don’t just see them as machines—they become more comfortable and feel more valued in your company.
5. Share Financial Success
When your employee’s hard work results in more revenue, share the wealth.
Give bonuses to the players who helped you bring in a new, high-value client. And periodically revisit the standards you set for wages and benefits. Are you making three times what you were five years ago but still compensating your staff like you’re a brand-new start-up?
When your staff sees that you recognize that they’re part of the reason you’re making more money, they’ll feel more valued. They’ll feel celebrated and seen.
They’ll stay. They’ll give you their best, help you grow a stronger company, and inspire you to be the best leader you can be.
And when you can make that happen, you don’t have to worry so much about the money.
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Tool: Job Description Generator
Free Video Course: Accelerating Business Growth