These days it has become more important than ever to know about motivating, inspiring, and building a network of productive employees. Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated. Employers benefit from lower turnover rates and a more pleasant work environment, as do employers and supervisors. These “incentives” don’t have to be costly, but a shift in company values or how employees are viewed is very valuable. If not for a company’s employees, there is no opportunity for success; motivated employees can drive a business to broader heights of success.

1. Offer flexible hours

Life is hectic and lives outside of work can quickly become difficult and unmanageable when work becomes all-consuming to an employee. Flexible hours in a very real sense are an acknowledgement by the employer that employees need time to conduct personal business outside of the workplace. This option also saves employees money and time through lower fuel and commute costs. For parents, additional savings are gained through reduced child care costs. One option is to provide an extra day off by having employees work ten hour shifts over four days. Another is to incorporate telecommute options into an employee schedule when possible.

Employers benefit in having happier, more productive employees. Employees return to work ready to work and tackle the tasks of the workplace. Surprisingly, employees with flexible schedules are less likely to be late or miss work hours, benefiting the employer in increased and more steady productivity.

2. Make Paid Time Off Banks Available

A paid time off bank allows an employee to combine paid sick, vacation, or personal days and to take a day without specifying a reason. Some employers allow employees to “donate” paid time off to other employees. Days build up throughout the year and are rolled over or disappear at the end of the year. The benefit here is that employees can take time as they need it, without needing to explain the reason behind taking the leave. For example, a sick day may be taken as a personal day for employees who rarely get sick; otherwise the day would be lost to the employee. This option is gaining popularity among employers, who benefit from not having to track different types of leave. The option relates to higher job satisfaction and retention.

Employers gain through having more motivated employees who are better able to use their paid time off as they see fit. Another advantage is that rather than a sudden sick day, paid time off may be scheduled.

3. Keep Work Meaningful and Interesting

No one enjoys a repetitive and boring workplace. Keep work interesting through clarifying work purpose and vision. Employees who share in the vision of the workplace are more likely to be involved, alert, and productive. Work in and of itself should, and does, have a purpose beyond the simple fear of not eating, lack of funds, or becoming homeless. In fact, this may be one of the leading factors among dissatisfaction for employees engaged in low level work. Simply working for a paycheck, in many cases, is very unsatisfying. Even the lowest-level employee should know that there contribution is important to company success. Employees stay committed and are driven toward meeting company goals.

Employers benefit through greater productivity, as employees grow in their sense of satisfaction in the workplace. Rather than being treated as only “cogs in a wheel,” employees gain a sense of personal satisfaction from being a part of something outside and beyond themselves.

4. Create a Sense of Belonging

Belonging drives the sense of purpose in meaningful work for employees. Often this sense of belonging begins in a company’s core value and mission statement. If a business or company does not have these, it is time to start putting these ideas to paper and incorporating them into the workplace. Avoid cliquish behaviors. Some ways to build cooperation are through team exercises or building a buddy or mentoring system. Get to know the person behind the work; no one is exclusively the work that they do. Learn to appreciate people for who they are, rather than what they do. Sharing the goals and objectives of the organization enhances everyone’s sense of belonging and purpose to the organization. Listen to the ideas and contributions of all employees to add to this sense of workplace belonging.

Employers benefit through a continuous cycle of listening to employees’ ideas and contributions to the workplace. In doing so, redundant processes may be eliminated or innovative methods of doing business may be explored and implemented.

5. Implement Safety in the Workplace

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Besides implementing federal guidelines for preventing death, accidents, and the like, safety rules add to a sense of worker belonging and purpose. When the employer sincerely enforces safety, the employee feels there is a real sense of caring that goes beyond simple policy. Sincere efforts to care about the health and welfare of employees, as well as their safety, have a tremendous impact. In come cases, local governments have had to implement regulations or force businesses to regard the safety and health of their workers. Businesses that are proactive in these areas increase workers’ belief that they are more than a means to an end. Implementation of health and safety policies increases workers’ job satisfaction, which in turn improves productivity.

Building an image of a safe and healthy environment benefits the company through increased sales and a more active role in the community, as a trustworthy organization. Staff morale is improved, while the company saves money on costly accidents that may shut down production.

6. Provide Company Perks

How great would it be to work for a company that regularly provides exclusive perks? Pretty darn, I’d say. Employees could be rewarded through receiving a company product or service or gift cards to local business. Hot Topic, for example, reimburses employees for concert tickets. In return, employees report on the fashions the band and fans were wearing along with merchandising ideas. Include family with a company picnics held annually, and give away business samples or low-cost merchandising items such as pens or notepads. Give tickets to local sports events, the movies, or other local events. Not only are these fun ways to share in the business, but such perks add to an employee sense of belonging.

Employers benefit from the workplace projecting a fun, caring, and involved image. This image will help attract better employees while encouraging company retention. A sense of teamwork and camaraderie leads to a greater sense of employee job satisfaction.

7. Open The Door to Greater Opportunities

One of the more common reasons for employee flight and turnover is reduced opportunities to learn and advance. When career stagnation sets in, employees get bored and look for better employment options. Teach new skills or enhance old ones through ongoing training opportunities. Training is also a kind of “day off” from the workaday grind. Both employees and employers benefit as employees grow in their potential. Make a point to promote from within first, rather than seeking talent from outside the company. Employees who have been with the company for some time have the opportunity to move upward, while new employees have more of a reason to remain with the company. Employees will come to appreciate and understand their intrinsic value to the company.

Employers benefit from hiring within by having an employee already familiar with company procedures and culture. Companies can also benefit from offering cash incentive to employees who bring in new business.

Featured photo credit: Closeup of a young shop assistant with customer in the backgroundvia Shutterstock

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