Forum : Keeping your Employees Happy: 3 Tips for a Tough Business Trade
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need giant Googleplexes with free meals, massages, and on-site medical care, or basketball court touting headquarters like Facebook’s to keep your employees content.  Sure, maybe these things don’t hurt an employee’s general morale, and having some nice tall office chairs for the former basketball players you employ is certainly important, but having outlandish and expensive perks aren’t the norm, nor need they be.

In fact, when asked in employee interviews conducted by Google last year, what about their jobs had them most content, none of the many crazy perks or large salaries made the top of the list at all.  Instead, employees chalked their happiness up to “even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.”

So generally, it seems that keeping an employee’s smiling loyalty comes down to a much more basic and human approach to running a business.  The following are three ways that you as a small business owner can ensure your employees happiness without taking drastic, costly, and often-absurd measures.

- Promote and Support Learning

For most employees, the biggest motivational factor is the ability to learn on the job.  People want to be enriched both mentally and monetarily in a work environment, so providing solid, knowledge-based training and continuous modes for onsite learning is a huge factor in keeping employees happy.  Making sure employees know and see the value in their work is a huge benefit as well; employees don’t just want to work for a paycheck – they want to effect change of some sort, learning and working with a team in the process.

- Make Time for 1 on 1 Weekly Meetings

Meeting with employees once a week may at first seem like a dry, unnecessary measure.  However, as you get more comfortable with each other, employees and bosses will be able to easily flesh out concerns or potential problems before they fester into more serious issues, as well as find some common ground leading to a better understanding of one another and ideally a mutual respect.

Google found that the worst managers were those who spent all their time meeting only with the top employee performers, or the worst.  Maintaining weekly meetings with all employees equally then, is a good way to keep everyone happy and properly motivated.

- Acknowledge Good Work, Publicly

While acknowledging good work with monetary rewards can certainly be a nice perk and motivator for an employee, you’d be surprised just how far a public pat on the back and word of appreciation will go for your workers frame of mind.  In letting them know you recognize their hard work, and letting others in the company know as well, you promote an atmosphere of appreciation throughout your firm, and a much greater sense of belonging and team unity.

Despite a harsh economy, keeping employees on board with your company is still a necessary consideration for any employer.  You’ve taken the time and resources to collect a bright, hardworking group of individuals, so making sure they’re happy and supported should be a serious priority.  Keep them around by simply promoting a caring, supportive, human environment for all at your company.
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