Over the last few days there has been much social media hype about the employee who emailed her employer to say that she was taking a few days off to focus on [her] mental health and the fantastic response from her Manager, not complaining or putting any kind of pressure on her, but instead thanking her for reminding him of the importance of using sick days for mental health.
This manager is of course completely correct and employers should all take a leaf out of his book. Employee welfare needs to be at the top of every employer’s agenda. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin famously said “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business”.
Research continually shows that happy, engaged employees are more productive, have less absenteeism and are more loyal to their employer. Of course employees’ main reason for working is financial remuneration, but in this difficult fiscal environment increasing salaries is not always possible.
So how do you keep your employees happy without increasing your costs?
- Engage with your employees. Create an atmosphere of openness within the workplace. Ensure your employees are aware that they can discuss any concerns or worries they have with their managers. While employers sometimes require to make difficult decisions, explain those decisions to your employees and give them the opportunity to offer feedback or discuss any concerns they may have with regard to those decisions. An “open door” policy for employees can create a much happier, contented workforce.
- Reward. While it might not be possible to provide salary increases across the board, rewarding good work in other ways promotes satisfaction in employees. A team lunch for a job well done for example demonstrates to employees that while the company cannot afford salary increases, they do appreciate the hard work put in by their employees. Employees who feel appreciated tend to work harder to earn that appreciation.
- Offer other benefits? Benefits over and above salaries can add to employee satisfaction and help retain loyalty. Benefits such as insurance cover, critical illness cover and even gym memberships are worth considering.
- Be appreciative. A simple ‘Thank you’ for a job well done goes a long way in promoting a healthy, happy working environment. Research has shown that a large percentage of employees leave their employment, not because of a lack of remuneration, but because they don’t like their boss. Ensuring line managers and supervisors are appreciative of hard work and show it is a simple way of creating a happy workforce.
These of course are just a few ways of keeping a happy, healthy workforce and employers must always be aware of their obligations to ensure the health and wellbeing of their employees under Health and Safety legislations. If you are worried about any of your employees health, physical or mental, it is important to address that, by creating an atmosphere where employees feel valued and are comfortable speaking with their managers in order to access and utilise any support you, as an employer can offer.
If you wish to discuss any concerns you may have with your workforce or a particular employee; or just want some other ideas on how to create and maintain a happy, healthy workforce please feel free to get in touch.
Telephone: 01383 721621