Why do people like to work for themselves? Why are there so many professionals in the world that want to get away from the drudgery of service and move into the glamour of entrepreneurship? The reason is quite simply that most business owners don’t know how to ensure employee satisfaction or happiness levels in their respective businesses. What’s even more interesting is that business owners that obsess about employee satisfaction levels actually don’t keep their businesses for long.
There’s no empirical evidence supporting this premise. After all, how could there be? How does one measure success businesses and survival of businesses before correlating either of them to employee satisfaction? Empirically it may be difficult to prove but logically it is fairly fool proof.
The Relevance of Employee Satisfaction in Your Office
Employee satisfaction is treated in one of two ways by most business owners. The first is to not pay it enough heed and the second is to pay it too much heed. Both methods can end up being problematic for businesses for different reasons.
Firstly, when you give too much attention to employee satisfaction levels and start focusing on keeping your employees happy above every other concern pertaining to your business, then you start compromising on your business’s productivity, efficiency, and financial health.
Your business’s productivity, efficiency, and financial health suffers even when you don’t give employee satisfaction levels too much importance. When employees’ satisfaction is not taken care off by an organisation, it can result in general disillusionment which can quickly translate into professional apathy. In such situations, employees stop caring about the performance of the business in question knowing fully well that if the business folds, they will simply move on to work for another organisation.
So, the big questions is how can you go about ensuring that employee satisfaction levels in your business remain healthy without compromising on other objectives of your business? The following are some suggestions.
The Relationship between the Business Owner and the Employee Is Like a Marriage
It is really true. Whether you are an employee or a boss of an organisation, you will realise that communication is an important component of your relationship. If you can communicate well with your boss, then you have a much more convenient professional life. Moreover, greater communication between you and your boss also means that your boss is more receptive to your comfort and ideas.
On the other hand, have you never heard of business owners cribbing about their employees not doing enough work? Some businesses even have high workforce attrition rates which they attribute simply to the difficulty of work. However, the reasons in both these situation for an employee to not do enough work or leave is actually the business owner not communicating well enough.
Here’s another situation where the relationship between a business owner and an employee is like a marriage. In most formal situations where outsiders like clients and suppliers are involved, the business owner doesn’t like to be proven wrong while the employee doesn’t like to be rebuked. If this happens enough then the business owner either ends up firing the employee or the employee quits himself.
Therefore, one of the secrets of ensuring employee satisfaction levels is to communicate with them. This is the main reason that large corporations have specialised Human Resources department. Have you ever wondered what the purpose of these HR professionals is? While they may handle firing and hiring, their primary objective is to keep the workforce satisfied with their lot.
Earn Their Respect either As a Person or As a Professional
Respect is extremely important in leadership. A leader needs to have the respect of his team, if he is to lead them well and achieve their combined objectives. Business owners are also leaders of their workforce. Thus, it can be said that it is important for them to earn the respect of their workforce if employee satisfaction is a criterion they value.
There are two types of business owners that employees respect. The first is the kind that has earned their respect as a person. This is an individual who is considerate in how he deals with his employees. He doesn’t see his employees as labour or tools to be used and instead views them as full human beings with their own needs, requirements, strengths, weaknesses, and potentials.
The second is the kind that has earned their respect as professional. This is an individual who is an expert in his field. He understands every nuance and aspect of his field and can neither be beaten with respect to knowledge, skills, or experience.
You as a business owner or even manager need to earn the respect of your employees either in one way or another. The really successful entrepreneurs and managers actually earn the respect of their employees in both terms.
Learn the Difference between Being Friendly and Being Friends
Everything cannot be formal all the time. Round the clock formality makes the environment stressful and not enjoyable. People truly excel at what they are doing only when they’re enjoying themselves. Hence, creating an informal environment can be very beneficial for a business trying to ensure high employee satisfaction levels.
This environment almost always stems from the business owner. It is the business owner who decides where the boundaries lie at work. The problem is that it is a balance. A business owner cannot turn his business into one huge party but he can neither turn it into a war zone. He needs a balance.
Being friendly is how a business owner can create this environment. However, knowing the difference between being friendly and being friends is equally important. The reason for this is that becoming best buddies with an employee will affect the individual’s authority unless the employee is experience enough to draw boundaries himself.
Understand That Work Culture Applies To You Too
Every workplace has its own work culture that employees are expected to adhere to. This work culture is both explicit and implicit. It can be set as part of company rules or just information behavioural requirements. Businesses often walk employees through the work culture in the form of rules and norms during their induction processes.
The thing with work culture, however, is that it depends on the business owner. If the set time for employees to show up at work is 9 AM but the boss shows up at 12 PM, then slowly employees will start arriving late till about 11 AM becomes the effective time of reporting.
What this shows is that the company culture a business owner expects his employees to follow has to be followed by him as well. Again, a business owner is a leader of a team of employees. So, he has to lead by example, rather than keeping dual standards. Maintaining standards with regard to work standards can create employee satisfaction because it shows the integrity of the business owner.
Appraise Employees But Ask For Appraisal As Well
Most businesses have appraisals for employees at regular intervals. During these appraisals, employees are told what they did right in the relevant period and then advised on what they can do to improve their performance in the upcoming period. Appraisals often lead to promotions and salary increments but that is beside the point here.
The point here is that a business owner needs to have an appraisal of his own where he devises a way for employees to tell him what he can do to improve as a boss or what the company can do to improve as a place to work. This will make the employees feel like they are a part of the organisation and improve the overall employee satisfaction levels.