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7 great ways to keep your employees motivated and happy

“No Company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it,’’ writes Jack Welch, the ex-chairman and CEO of General Electric whose tenure saw the company’s value rise by 4,000%.

As Jack Welch understood, the most important part of any workplace is of course its workers. Motivated and happy employees keep companies running smoothly and successfully; an understanding of employee retention strategies is therefore vital for any employer looking to take their company to new heights. Luckily, there are many fantastic and easy ways to do this, ranging from utilizing productivity software to creating an enhanced working environment.

Why is it important to retain employees?

It should go without saying that it is important to retain employees. But why? Simply put, employees are the backbone of a company; retaining good employees through development of employee retention strategies thus leads to a more efficient workplace. Customer and client service is enhanced through the development of relationships between employees and clients, employees become familiar with the companies policies, guidelines, and workloads after some time which leads to efficient and effective work, and it has been observed that employees staying with a company for a longer period of time are more loyal towards that company; a high turnover rate benefits nobody and means that time and money is wasted on continuous hiring and training. Overall, the cost of retaining employees is nothing compared to the benefits; productivity software that helps with a variety of objectives such as employee targets, time tracking and rate configuration can be a great start to retaining your employees, but there are also many other ways to keep them motivated and happy!

So how can you keep your employees motivated and happy?

1. Use time tracking to evaluate productivity

Time tracking is an underused and undervalued technique that has a proven record of keeping workplaces running smoothly and maximising potential for both individuals and teams. Utilization of employee time tracking software can be a fantastic way to increase employee productivity. Time tracking software includes a number of features that help increase the motivation of employees; it can help employees stay focused, introducing time blocking techniques and revealing distractions; reduces procrastination and allows employees to identify their varying strengths and weaknesses and subsequently work on them. One of the best time tracking apps available is MinuteDock, which allows employers to perform a variety of tasks easily as well as helping each individual employee achieve their best everyday.

2. Recognize their progress

65% of employees have reported that they haven’t received any form of recognition for their work over the past year; can you imagine how demotivating this would be? The silver lining to this then, is that even a small bit of recognition and praise every now and then goes a long way. This shows that you, as an employer, are paying attention to the work that they do and acknowledging their potential. This acknowledgement then translates to a more efficient and happy office, with employees motivated to continue to pour passion into their work, leading to continual progress and a variety of benefits for your company. So the next time an employee finishes an important document or task, make sure you meaningfully praise their work- it will go a long way!

3. Create a better work environment

Creating work environments that encourage efficiency and increase productivity goes a long way in retaining quality employees and builds a better company for all. Your work environment includes everything from the physical setup of your office, to the way your employees treat each other, to the communication techniques used between your office and your clients; a positive work environment draws on all of these and more to reinforce efficacious and progressive behaviour. The core of your environment is your team members; make sure there is plenty of positive reinforcement between your team and that everyone is happy with the tasks they are undertaking. A good attitude as a result of this happiness can turn into a positive feedback loop with every team member thriving off each others motivation. Positive work environments utilize physical environs to bolster this: a University of North Carolina study states that exposure to natural light improves mood, energy and productivity, whilst an enjoyable atmosphere with comfortable furniture, working equipment, and a few extra amenities can make everyone feel more at-home and ready to put their all into their work.

4. Keep things fresh

Everyone falls into routine eventually; it’s just human nature! But routine means that we lose our focus, find our work boring, and exponentially slow down. Keeping things fresh prevents employees (and yourself!) from falling into routine and developing unconscious competence- a fancy term for when we complete an action without thinking about it. Although the workload may remain the same, other elements of work can be kept fresh easily- try rearranging your surroundings, or starting each day differently, or introduce a new initiative to the team such as morning exercises. These simple changes help to keep things fresh and can serve as an effective employee retention strategy, preventing employees from falling into the trap of boredom and unconscious competence.

5. Provide incentives

Incentives can be difficult to handle; making incentives too easy to obtain may lead to entitled employees, whereas making them too difficult may lead to demotivation and an ignoring of those incentives altogether. However, if the right balance is struck, then incentives can be incredibly useful for increasing productivity. Types of incentives include monetary compensation such as raises, bonuses or profit sharing; recognition through awards, thank-you cards or praise; rewards including items such as gifts or monetary rewards; and appreciation shown through events such as company parties or awards nights. Workplace perks are often talked about by employees and can lead to a healthy view of the company overall, serving as an effective productivity tip that increases productivity and motivation and keeps employees happy, even if they are working on a project that they may not have initially wanted to. Incentives such as awards and appreciation additionally allow new employees to become quickly immersed and feel included in company culture; a range of ideas for workplace perks exist that can transform the office and make everyone feel happier and more motivated!

6. Set goals

Everyone wants to know that they are working for something meaningful; as cliche as it sounds, there is light at the end of every tunnel, and it is important for employees to see that light as their goal and to strive towards it. By setting goals, employers allow employees to know that each step of the work they complete is valued and that their role is important. Goal setting can work well with time tracking apps which allow employees to introduce time blocking to their days. Working towards a specific goal in each time block helps increase motivation and keeps various projects fresh in employees minds, helping to lead to a more productive and healthy workplace. Just make sure you recognise these goals!

7. Treat all staff fairly and evenly

It should go without saying that equality in the workplace should be strived for by every employer. However, even companies with the most stringent equality rules can see some employees fall through the cracks. An employee who feels that they are being treated unfairly will have their work adversely affected and may create a negative workplace that affects their co-workers just as much as it does them. Make sure you check on employees and ask about any issues they may have with management; by doing this regularly any grievances can be resolved quickly before they spiral out of control. We are predisposed to treat everyone, regardless of their background, with fairness in our personal lives- try and remember this in the office as well, and your employees will respect you all the more for it, leading to a more healthy and productive team.

How can you manage your remote employees?

Remote jobs can have their benefits and frustrations. Although remote employees need not worry about working environments or petty office grievances, they still expect that their employer treats them as a full member of the team. Managing remote employees need not be difficult though! Time tracking apps can be applied to remote employees so that they keep their motivation and productivity up, and regular emails with encouragement, support and recognition means that they will continue to supply you with a high standard of work. Finally, incentives mean that remote employees continue to feel included and maintain some physical links (through awards nights or certificates of appreciation) to the company. Motivation and happiness are two ideas that every human strives for; by applying these employee retention strategies to your workplace, your employees will increase their productivity as well as reaching levels of happiness that we all aim for.