Employees spend an average of 8 hours in their workplace. That means they spend a majority of their active hours at work, more than they do at home.
It only makes sense then that companies consider the environment their employees invest a lot of their time in. Employees have to thrive in their work environment. They need to feel a sense of stability, balance, growth, and happiness. Employees are not the only ones who stand to benefit. It has been said: a happy employee is a productive employee.
And when we say environment, we also mean the culture. People make the workplace, too. So how do you create an environment where high-performing employees thrive?
Here are 10 tips:
1. Pay fair compensation
An employee’s compensation speaks volumes. Properly compensating your employees shows that you value their contribution to your business. And when they feel valued, that boosts their morale and inspires them to “repay” you with hard work.
Competitive wages and benefits are highly motivating. You should also review your pay structure to check if your employees’ salaries and benefits package are competitive with the industry and market.
2. Keep employee career growth in mind
We’ve heard of good employees leaving because they don’t see any career growth in their current employment. This is a more than valid reason. Money is not the only driver for employees. They want to see themselves moving up the career ladder.
Prioritize internal promotion to encourage employees to step up and be recognized. Career growth gives employees the incentive to deliver high performance at work.
3. Promote learning
Any HR Officer will tell you that most job applicants, when stating their reasons for applying, would begin their statements with: “To develop…,” “To improve…,” “To expand…” What does that tell you? They want to learn in their job.
Increasing employee knowledge and expertise is a daily process. Coaching and training should be an everyday occurrence. Use every moment as an opportunity to teach the employee. Make time for group and one-on-one coaching. Always provide feedback and constructive criticism. (Keep it SMART.) Recommend learning outside the office too: enroll worthy employees in outside trainings, webinars, etc.
Encourage learning from collaborations as well. Employees can—and will—learn from each other when you build an environment where teamwork is paramount and everyone is encouraged to speak up and engage in honest, constructive conversations.
4. Promote kindness
It’s really simple: When everyone is kind to each other, everyone is happy. This is not to say that you gloss over bad behavior or work issues.
Treat people with respect and kindness. (That goes for the bosses, too.) Do not tolerate office politics, bullying, and power tripping. Egos should not hold court in the workplace.
5. Promote work-life balance
Work-life balance is a challenge these days, but it’s not impossible. Plus, it’s necessary. Even high-performing employees need to be able to balance work with family life, personal interests, and other aspects of their lives.
Employees take their cue from their bosses. So management must take charge of ensuring this healthy work-life equilibrium. This doesn’t mean you go easy on them. Just strike the perfect balance.
Monitor the workload of reps and teams and make sure they’re reasonable. Encourage employees to use their vacation leaves and use the time to recharge.
6. Allow for flexibility
Many companies offer flexible options for employees: work-from-home days, time offsetting, flexible time-in and time-out for as long as the mandatory work hours are fulfilled, and so on. This gives employees the opportunity to work when and where they feel they are most productive. Having this option also gives high employee satisfaction.
While not all companies can be as flexible as the others when it comes to work schedules, they can still be flexible in other ways. For example, one company we know hires temps when it gets really busy in the office. This prevents employees from having to absorb the extra (unpaid) work.
Allow for flexibility where and when it suits the company.
7. Employ efficient systems
Nothing hampers high performance more than inefficient work systems. It’s one of the things that hampers workplace productivity.
Have clear procedures that allow for efficient workflows, quality work output, and realistic deadlines (how many times have you rushed a report because you didn’t see the need coming?). Review your systems structure and remove ineffective and redundant processes. Make efficient use of employees’ work hours. For example: don’t conduct long and winding meetings; schedule them wisely.
8. Create an environment conducive to working
Employees can’t deliver high performance in an environment that doesn’t encourage it. Design your office for maximum productivity. Know the elements—proper lighting, noise reduction, among them—of an efficient office layout. Whether that means it’s open layout or with separate cubicles is up to you—there are factors to consider.
The people make it conducive for work, too. Heads and supervisors should be equipped with strategies for increasing work productivity. Always strive for good management to render it more effective—and to influence high performance.
9. Celebrate wins. Reward great work and behavior
Recognizing the wins—no matter how small—motivates employees. But you should not just celebrate the successful results, like closed deals. Great behavior needs to be equally celebrated. It shows employees that you value both talent and strong work ethic—the two things high performers possess.
10. Keep it fun
How do you foster happiness in the workplace? Keep it fun! Don’t make it all about work. Make time for team bonding, whether official (company team building) or not (drinks in the nearby bar). Enjoy your time with your employees, and make them enjoy their time with you too.
Photos from Unsplash. Main photo by CoWomen