As an employer, one of your top priorities should be employee morale. After all, if your employees aren’t happy, it’ll show in their work, which shows in your sales.

There are entire books on the topics of management, employee motivation, and how to convince employees to do their jobs. There is a prevailing sentiment that employees are somehow lazy and uncaring, and need to be convinced that they need to do more than just wait around to collect a paycheck.

Successful employers and managers have found, however, that if you treat your employees like human beings, you can often create impressive success that translates into higher employee morale. Here are 8 simple ways to do just that.

Care About Where Your Employees Are Headed

As a manager, when was the last time you sat down one on one with a team member and had a real conversation with them about where they saw themselves in five years? Maybe they envision themselves with the company, or maybe they have an entirely different goal in mind. If you know, and can feed them opportunities to use skills that build towards their goals, they’ll be more productive.

Link Employee Rewards And Company Performance

Are employee rewards for everyone, or just for those with corner offices? If your company truly believes in employee rewards being for every member of the company, then there needs to be a reasonable way for employees to perform at the expected level. Using rewards to try and achieve unrealistic goals is demotivating across the board.

Truly Care About Work-Life Balance

Do you have an employee who has a young child or elderly family member that they need to care for? Is there a hobby or club that they travel out of town for a few times a year? By offering flexible scheduling, to whatever degree is possible, you show your employees that you care not just about their productivity but their wellbeing. That, in turn, increases their productivity and benefits your business.

Listen To Your Employees

If your employee comes by your desk to vent about a troublesome client, listen to them. If they’re having a frustrating day, or they have a success that they want to share, be their supportive ear. Sure, there are lines that need to be drawn at times if they’re discussing inappropriate outside work activities, but with work related conversations, you should be a safe place for them to express themselves. The less employees take these stressors home, the less likely they are to fester, and create long term unhappiness with a job.

Reward Behaviors You Want To See

If you see an employee doing something great, reward them for it. Know their “currency” beforehand, and use it. Some employees like to be publicly thanked; some like having you drop by their desk and say “I saw that you really paid attention at the meeting and were much more precise with your reports labeling this month. Thank you for that.”

Anyone who has ever trained anyone will tell you that rewarding positive behaviors gets you much better results than punishing negative ones.

Communicate With Your Employees

If your employees never see you, how can they work with you? If you spend all of your time in your office or cubicle, sending out emails that can be misinterpreted and newsletters that no one reads, you aren’t managing a team.

Set up face-to-face conversations. Organize group meetings. Have open-door hours, where employees can come into your office and talk about their current projects, business ideas, client concerns, or anything else that they need to share in that moment.

Give yourself a face, so that they see you as a person.

Be An Example

If you want your team to follow the rules of the office, you need to not just follow them, you need to be picture-perfect. Some managers follow the axiom that team members will determine an office’s dress code by looking at their supervisor and then dressing down one notch. This is true of many employee behaviors. If your employees see you get away with a rule bending once, they will assume that they can get away with it as well.

If you’re putting rules in place, don’t break them. If they’re not reasonable rules for the office, don’t make them in the first place.

Empower Your Employees To Succeed

As an employee, nothing’s worse than being told to do better without being given any tools or strategies to actually achieve the goal of improvement. As a team manager, make sure that you know what tools your team needs, and that they are readily available.

Managing a team for success is absolutely possible – you just have to treat people like people, instead of like replaceable cogs. You will get back what you put in, so start with your highest effort.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.imgix.net

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