5 ways to keep employees happy
Priya Wadhwa

5 ways to keep employees happy

Money is always a great reward at work, however, it doesn’t get the top rank when it comes to the happiness and satisfaction of employees.

Plus, as a startup in a tight economy, higher pay isn’t always a possibility. Fortunately, there are other perks and benefits you can give to your team, that will increase their respect and loyalty for you, along with keeping them content at work.

Rewards and benefits are necessary to keep employees feeling valued and appreciated. They go a long way in keeping your teams happy, which reduces the turnover rate and shows better bottom line results. With most of the workforce today comprising of millennials, especially in the startup ecosystem, it’s time to change the age-old thinking about rewards from being only in the form of money, insurance and housing perks, to what is valued more.

As a startup, you have a few advantages on your side, such as a smaller, more passionate team. While a bonus will never go unnoticed or under-appreciated, there are a lot more ways in which you can show your appreciation for their work with perks they may not be able to get in a larger corporate office. Moreover, they need not be rewards at all, but simply a better work environment and future prospects.

In fact, if you’re thinking of retaining employees and the only way you think they’ll stay is a pay hike, then you may need to re-evaluate your work culture and make some changes. The young, passionate team you’ve got in your office cares about a lot more things than just their bank balance. To many it’s the work-life balance that is more important, along with flexible hours, understanding and trusting managers and supportive team. So if you’re thinking about ways to improve your work culture and keep your team happier, here is a list of 5 ways in which you can do so:

Emphasise on a healthy work-life balance

People today have many passions, hobbies, and extracurriculars that they care about. It may be taking music classes, learning to code in their spare time, or even just cooking. If they spend a lot many hours at your office, soon they’ll start seeing it as not worth the sacrifices they’re making in life to spend most of their time working or the salary for that matter.

Moreover, they might be able to spend the same amount of hours in corporates with more benefits. So make work-life balance a priority, and encourage your team to explore their interests outside of work to live a more fulfilling life. It can make a world of difference to how much they value you.

Trust your employees

Hiding information only fosters suspicion. Whether it is about your plans for the future of the company, your weaknesses, potential clients and stakeholders you want to get on board, or connections you might have, it is great to share information with your team. It makes them feel valued because you trust them with this information, which also makes them feel more responsible and faithful towards you.

Be honest and transparent

We live in an increasingly digitised world where transparency is everything. Being honest and open about your company, potential roles, how you see them progressing is very important and highly appreciated.

Even if you hire an intern and know that you will not be taking him full-time, being transparent about it, along with giving the true and justified reason, will work out better for you in the long run; as they won’t feel cheated, nor led on in hopes of a job. In fact, if they still want to take up the internship, you’ll value their passion and dedication towards your company a lot more. Plus, it’s a great foundation to build a relationship upon.

Customise your rewards for the team

Every team is not the same, you may have an outgoing team or one that prefers quieter celebrations. Understand what makes them tick and reward them with what they appreciate more.

For example if you have a team who likes to play sports, get them tickets to the next game; or if your team member has done really well and is a foodie, buy him dinner at a great restaurant. If you engage with your team and understand them well, it’s very easy to know what they like. Reward them accordingly, they’ll value it more — they’ll even appreciate you more because you pay attention to who they are outside work hours.

Promote a happier, friendlier work environment

Happy employees make a happy company. There is nothing worse than watching the hours go by until you can leave work — nor see an employee who does that. Take steps to promote friendliness and fun at work and you’ll feel the difference in employee morale.

As the boss, also try to let go of superiority and imbibe humility. It’ll go a long way in easing the relationship your employees have with you, and make them feel more comfortable as well as respected. A thank you and please go a long way in promoting happier emotions at work.

There are many other ways to help your team be happier at work. The single most important thing is to realise they are humans too, with passions and responsibilities outside work. Sometimes they may need to work from home to take care of their child, or take a few hours off in the morning to get some urgent paperwork done at the bank. Be accommodating and understanding to their needs and they’ll go above and beyond to ensure you succeed. It may be a professional relationship you share, but empathy, support and respect will help you develop a more faithful team who work as hard as you to make visions, a reality.