Leaders often build workplaces that are highly efficient and productive but where employees are an afterthought. It’s almost as if they’re following some leadership manual that says you should squeeze all you can out of people without worrying about trivial things like whether they like their work or have opportunities for growth.
You’ll see leaders like this shake their heads in disbelief when they experience the ongoing issues related to unhappy workplaces such as: lack of motivation, high turnover, lackluster performance, stagnant productivity, low morale and assorted other goodies. What they may not yet envision is that their workplaces don’t have to be this way and there are some practical things they can do to combine high productivity with a more enjoyable work environment. Here are five ways to get started:
- Praise employees. Praising makes people feel valued and increases the likelihood that they’ll want to do other tasks.
- Give people meaningful work. Find out what people enjoy doing and let them do it. Encourage employees to use their brains and come up with ideas on their own.
- Give people opportunities for advancement. Keeping someone stuck in one position in perpetuity neglects their other talents. Find ways to offer educational opportunities as well as using their talents to train others or take on more responsibility.
- Listen to your employees. You’ll gain important insights on what needs attention in your workplace and how to fix it when you listen to people instead of telling them what to do. You’ll also have access to new ideas.
- Give people benefits. From flex time to vacation and health coverage; employees work better when they feel like the company cares about their long-term well-being rather than what they can get out of them with the least investment.
These five concepts can help you create a workplace where people not only do a lot of work but also feel good about it. There’s no reason we have to create workplaces where people are treated like disposable objects but it’s up to leadership to set the example and consciously design a more honoring work environment. The payoff is that motivated, happy people do more and better work. What will you do to build a happier workplace?