How Supportive is Your Work Environment?

How Supportive is Your Work EnvironmentEmployee retention is a crucial part of a healthy work environment. Employee satisfaction surveys regularly indicate that a key to quality satisfaction and productivity is your company’s ability to show support to your employees.

Even though we’re in a very individual focused employment environment, most employees want to be a part of a company that succeeds, and they want to see themselves as a part of that success. When an employee works hard and doesn’t feel that their contributions were appreciated, it’s going to:

  • Effect their desire to perform.
  • Effect their morale.
  • Effect their interactions with others.

An unsupportive work environment gets less production, less satisfaction, and of course – less loyalty. Since turnover can be extremely costly and replacing a new employee is often easier said than done, it’s up to companies to make sure that they’re acknowledging employee contributions and showing support for what they do.

How to Support Your Employees

Supporting your employees can be very easy for some, and difficult for others. You probably already support a few people in your company that have contributed very well, but others that may have also contributed may not have seen the same level of support. Consider the following tips to improve employee support and potentially contribute to more loyalty and less turnover:

  • Train Managers to Be Supportive/Provide Verbal Acknowledgement

When we talk about employee support, we are often talking about support from management. Employees look to supervisors for support, and your supervisors should know how to give it and be aware of their interactions with all employees. Even the least productive employee deserves praise and support for their ideas, because if they are upbeat and positive about the workplace, they’ll perform better than if they are negative and upset.

  • Financial Rewards

Employees that have shown loyalty to your company, even if they aren’t necessarily the “best of the best,” may still be deserving financial rewards, such as raises, title changes, etc. Every employee contributes in their own way, and unless you’re willing to lose that contribution you should consider whether or not the employee deserves a “thanks” for their hard work and loyalty based on their contributions to the company. Remember, turnover can be extremely expensive. The costs of financially rewarding an employee are often minimal.

If you cannot afford financial rewards, you can reward with extra vacation days, time off, the ability to work from home, or greater flexibility. Not all “financial rewards” need to be financial.

  • Support Employees as a Whole

Your employees do not necessarily need individual attention. Often what you do for employees shows your support for them. There is a technology company based in New York that gives all employees every Friday off during summer (so they can spend more time outdoors), regular bonuses, and regular “employee idea” surveys, which vary anywhere from naming a new meeting room to deciding on the future of the business. And unlike many companies, they enact most of the ideas that the employees provide.

That’s inherent support. Every employee feels that they are a part of the team and every employee can tell that the employer wants them there. The profit of the company helps them do this, as they are a very successful company, but their turnover rate is very low for a reason.

  • Giving Access to Tools for Mental and Physical Health

The workplace can often be stressful. If your employees also have tools to help them cope with that stress, they’ll be far more likely to feel supported. For example, creating a wellness center or making sure your insurance liberally covers mental health care can all be very strong contributory factors to employee satisfaction.

  • Rethink the Critical Progress Report

One of the most stressful times for an employee is a 6-month or annual progress report. It’s not uncommon for employers to use it as an opportunity to critique the employee thoroughly. Yet the harsher you are, the more likely you’ll make the employee feel unappreciated. See if there are other ways you can address employee issues, and use the “progress report” mostly to thank the employee for their hard work.

  • Being Open and Honest

Finally, make sure that you, as a company, are also open and honest with your employees. Companies are not infallible. If you’re transparent with how you run your company, you’ll be able to develop trust with your employees that will create further support.

Creating a Great Company/Employee Relationship

Every employee in your company is expected to make a contribution. But their contributions are as much affected by how you run your company as they are by the employee’s own ability. Companies that do not support their employees get less production out of them and are more likely to lose those employees in the future, both of which cost you thousands of dollars.

Prove to your employees that they are valued, and show support whenever possible, and your employees will thank you for it in production and longevity.

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