A work environment is made up of a variety of different factors that contribute to the overall team atmosphere, including company culture, policies, management styles, flexibility, incentives, growth opportunities, and benefits. Employee satisfaction is referred to as “the degree to which employees feel personally fulfilled and content in their job roles.” Furthermore, employee turnover is the rate at which employees leave their employers, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Although all of these terms - work environment, team atmosphere, employee satisfaction, and employee turnover - are all influenced by various factors, they are all greatly intertwined. A work environment influences team atmosphere which influences employee satisfaction, which affects employee turnover rates.
Unfortunately, workplace dissatisfaction across North America has increased substantially over the past year. According to the latest State of the American Workplace Report, 70% of United States workers admit that they do not like their jobs. As you can imagine, when employees do not like their jobs, it creates a work environment where workers have low morale, high levels of stress, lack of creativity and motivation, and emotional disconnect. Most likely not a coincidence, experts also report a higher employee turnover rate over the past year, as most companies have experienced at least a 15% increase in their turnover rates during this time.
How to keep your employees satisfied:
It’s quite simple: happy and satisfied employees will perform better, not only because they enjoy their job, but also because they want to work for you. As a manager, it is your job to provide an atmosphere that inspires positivity, creativity, and productivity, in order to make sure that your employees feel happy and satisfied and want to continue working for you. With both workplace dissatisfaction and employee turnover on the rise, it is important to do all that you can to satisfy your employees and in turn, increase your employee retention. Here are some tips:
Company Culture. This includes elements such as the way conflicts are handled, the freedom for employees to try new things, the acceptance that they may fail without having to face consequences, various work policies, communication styles, and the like. While all company cultures are different from each other, it is important to keep in mind that your company culture should fit well with your employees in order to increase job satisfaction and employee retention. If employees are not satisfied with their company culture, they may look for employment elsewhere that better suits their personalities.
Some companies even have their own culture committee, designated to run “people operations” and overall culture in the workplace. They work to fund employees’ passions, help to make the office more fun, create ways for all employees to contribute and be a part of the company, and try to create an overall better workplace and company atmosphere everyday.
The best, most appropriate management style for any team of employees depends on the nature of the work and the needs and preferences of the employees. While no single management style is necessarily better than another, fitting the appropriate management style with the right situation and team of employees can certainly improve team atmosphere, increase employee satisfaction, and boost employee retention.
Flexibility. Unless your employees are coming face-to-face with clients or customers on a daily basis, it’s probably not that critical that you enforce a strict dress code within the office. For the most part, employees are able to be professional without necessarily dressing professionally. Also, most people are perfectly capable of dressing appropriately, without being forced to dress professionally. A strict dress code - dress and tights, or suit and tie - can be stifling to your office atmosphere, which may even have an adverse effect at times.
If at all possible, also consider allowing your employees to work flexible schedules. This does not mean you should allow your employees to come and go as they please, but if they have to come in an hour early to leave an hour early, that may not be the worse thing in the world. Consider those with small children, for example. If those employees are forced to work a strict 9-5 schedule, they may find it easier to just seek employment elsewhere with a more flexible work schedule.
Incentives. Incentives push people to go the extra mile a lot more than some might expect. If possible, try offering an extra day of paid leave or a cash bonus for reaching x-amount of sales. Or perhaps some friendly competition among staff might motivate your employees a bit more. Divide them into teams, outline rules and goals, and make the stakes exciting and enticing. You may even want to keep a leaderboard posted in order to maintain a level of positive peer pressure among contestants. Don’t underestimate the power of unexpected rewards either. When you notice someone going the extra mile - staying late, skipping a break, etc. - let them know that their extra work is being recognized and is greatly appreciated. Whether you offer a gift card or a simple “thank you” for their hard work, it is sure to make a difference.
Growth Opportunities. The degree to which companies offer their employees personal and professional growth opportunities plays a large role in the overall work environment. Believe it or not, employees actually care a lot about available opportunities to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities, achieve higher compensation, gain new positions, and reach personal goals. Each of these factors creates a sense of personal achievement for employees, which in turn, boosts employee satisfaction. Employees rarely prefer to remain static at their jobs for long periods of time, and when this is the case, they will most likely seek employment elsewhere with more opportunity for growth and movement.
Mental wellness is just as important as physical wellness. Consider setting a “cut-off” time when your employees should turn off their computers, cellphones, and any other electronic devices that they work from. Encourage vacation days as much as possible when they are available, and remind your employees to take their full lunch break everyday. Each of these things will help prevent burnout in the long run.