By Ben Hargrove
Maybe you can’t give your employees a big raise, or any raise at all, and staffing cuts mean that everyone must work longer hours. But there are still things you can do to improve employee satisfaction.
Giver your employees the opportunity to grow
If your employees feel like they are in dead-end jobs, you are not likely to have satisfied employees. Your most motivated and talented employees are the ones more likely to go looking for greener pastures, leaving you with the ones who may be less ambitious and more complacent.
If raises and promotions are not feasible, employees can still be given the chance to build skills and experience through challenging new assignments, training programs and/or receiving mentoring.
Nontraditional work arrangements
Many jobs do not require people to be in the office Monday to Friday from 9 to 5. But that’s what everyone must do because that’s the way it’s always been done. In the computer age, however, employees with family obligations, long commutes or other scheduling concerns may prefer to do some of their work from home if possible or change their work schedule to something like four ten-hour days or Tuesday to Saturday.
Giving an employee special consideration regarding the work schedule where feasible may cost the company nothing and result in a happier, more dedicated employee who may even be more productive now that his or her schedule is more manageable.
Just because you are the manager does not mean you are obliged to be a micromanager. Most employees don’t want someone looking over their shoulders at all times and critiquing even the most trivial details of their work. If your employees spend more time answering emails and going to meetings than actually getting the work done, their frustration level is going to grow. You may need to sign off on the big decisions, but an employee is likely to feel increased satisfaction if he or she is entrusted with at least some of the day-to-day responsibilities.
Have open lines of communication
Fostering autonomy and limiting emails and meetings does not mean a complete hands-off policy. Employees want and need constructive feedback. They want to be kept in the loop regarding the big picture with the company. Employees should feel that they can always come to you with any questions or concerns.
Don’t be the boss who never thanks employees because they are just doing what they are paid to do. A simple “thank you” lets them know that they are not being taken for granted. Ordering a pizza if people have to work very late is an inexpensive way of telling your staff that you appreciate their extra effort.