When you think about your employees spending a third of their life at work, it’s easy to see that the work that they do and the people they do it for are vital components in their mental health. Not only might the workplace serve as a contributor to mental health, but it also may contribute to the results of good (or bad) mental health.
It comes down to three things:
When we focus on the work part of work-life satisfaction, it boils down to three things an employee needs to feel happy and secure in their jobs. The top three factors contributing to job satisfaction are:
financial stability of the company
If you can achieve these, you are well on your way to increased productivity and success that other businesses receive from their happy and healthy employees.
When employees think about job security, they want to know that their jobs matter to the organization, they do their job well, and that they are appreciated.
Show them where they fit in
This description is a great time to provide a look at the big picture, and best done as a part of a new employee’s orientation. It’s crucial for employees to have an idea of the big picture, and which gear they move in the entire operation. Take some time to explain the different teams in the organization and their function. Explain next how your team serves the other functions of the company, then take it down to the job level and the value of that one job, how it benefits the team which serves the entire organization.
Open communication and feedback
Feedback is especially vital as Millennials are gaining a foothold in the workplace. Feedback is critical to them in just about everything they do, so it is an expectation from their employer. These young adults are full of fresh ideas and dying to bounce them off of someone, so invite them to collaborate openly, individually as well as within a group. They have a lot to offer and just as much to learn.
If something is not meeting expectations, give immediate feedback to encourage correction right away. Instead of judging the misdeeds of employees, judge their willingness and ability to change course, and maintain a state of constant improvement. Your frequent feedback and opportunity for correction will negate the majority of performance issues before they become a “problem.”
Another puzzle piece of communication is to openly encourage your employees to provide their supervisors and managers feedback on their performance. This feedback helps your managers and supervisors to grow professionally and help them to become better leaders and stewards to their team members. Feedback could be anonymous if there are concerns for retaliation. Ideally, the team members should eventually feel comfortable with these open exchanges.
Show that they are appreciated
It’s also important to always point out when things are going exceptionally well. Appreciation and recognition are two highly under-utilized forms of feedback. This type of feedback is powerful enough to change the culture of your team or the entire organization. Done correctly, it’s like a rocket on your employee’s back! Make good feedback a motivator for the whole team, even when directed to a single person. Also, encourage them to recognize each other for going above and beyond to benefit a colleague or the organization. As they catch on, you’ll start to notice an increasingly positive vibe develop throughout the group.
Work2Live is one such recognition program through the Lifestyle Savings Account. This account enables managers to gauge monetary awards to the accomplishments of their employees. The employees can then use those funds towards a myriad of meaningful experiences.
Engaged employees know that they have plenty of opportunities for growth and development in their careers with the company. To promote the idea of opportunity in the workplace, there are a few pieces to put into place within the organization.
Defined career paths
For each position, there should be a “recipe” that makes up the perfect candidate. This recipe is a combination of education and experiences. Some education required for outside candidates may be substituted for work experience and the associated specific business acumen for inside candidates when considered for promotion. Having these paths documented will help employees develop professional goals to build themselves into promotable candidates for their desired position.
Stretch opportunities to expand experience and expertise
Within their own team, supervisors and managers can provide new stretch opportunities and projects for their employees to promote unique experiences that might develop them for their next role. Employees engaging in new skills have a heightened level of engagement, knowing that their management is looking out for their best interests.
Financial stability of the company
If you have mastered all of the skills mentioned already, your company stands a 20% chance of being more successful than your competition. This is good news for your employees and worthy of sharing.
That being said, sometimes there are circumstances beyond your control that might affect the financial stability of the company. There is no reason to hide this fact.
When times aren’t as good, employees want to know that you are seeking alternatives to keep the company afloat. Keep them abreast of what changes are coming to accommodate the difference in the market.
Seek their collaboration
When the company needs to be lean, engage the front-line employees to help identify sources of waste, and collaborate ways to reduce or eliminate that waste. They know opportunities to change better than anyone at their level, and what ideas are most likely to be successful.
Celebrate wins along the way
Even during a decline, celebrate every victory, even if it’s on a small scale. During times of uncertainty, celebrating achievement is even more important, for it encourages motivation and more collaboration.
Employee satisfaction carries an organization through the best and worst of times.
When it comes to work-life satisfaction, we have less control over the life-part, however, through wellness programs and resources, we can be a supportive employer. Work satisfaction can carry a company through all of its ebbs and flows along the way, and an engaged workforce has the strength to see it through.