Are You Keeping Your Employees Happy?

According to a Gallup poll, 51 percent of workers say they’re actively looking for a new job. That’s not necessarily because they dislike their current job. Many workers are confident that a thriving job market may offer better, more engaging career opportunities.

So what can you do to avoid losing your employees? Focus on ways to increase employee engagement.

What Engagement Means

An employee can be relatively happy and satisfied with a job and still not feel engaged. Engagement is a higher degree of care – a sense of pride in one’s work and ownership of the company’s mission. So a good way to begin building engagement is with leadership. Owners and managers who don’t take pride in their work will never inspire employees to do the same.

Leaders who are passionate about their jobs, interested in their employees, and who embody the behavior and work ethic they expect from their workers are likely to have an engaged workforce.

Core Needs

Christine Porath, an associate professor of management at Georgetown University, and Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Product, surveyed 19,000 workers to determine what needs are most important for job satisfaction and productivity. They found these four needs mattered most to employees:

    • Renewal (Physical): Everyone needs rest, whether that means frequent breaks during the work day or an annual vacation. Employers that expect workers to be “on the clock” all the time – for example, responding to emails at all hours of the day and night – are going to see workers becoming burned out and disengaged.
    • Value (Emotional): Saying “thank you” goes a long way in making employees feel you value them. The occasional bonus, or free lunch for your team in appreciation of their hard work, further demonstrates that you value your employees. When workers feel they matter, they are more likely to care about their jobs.
    • Focus (Mental): People need time to actually do their jobs, but in a fast-paced environment where interruptions and distractions are common, workers may feel frazzled. Give workers the time or space they need to focus.
    • Purpose (Spiritual): Some jobs may be more personally rewarding than others, so depending on the type of business you own, you may have to put extra effort into conveying a sense of purpose. For example, in an assembly plant, the main purpose may be to produce X number of widgets a day. But the higher purpose could be focusing on quality, to ensure the safety of end-use products and protect the people using those products from harm. Purpose can also come from teambuilding activities and group volunteering.

Benefits Matter

On the most basic level, a job is something a person does to receive a paycheck. A paycheck alone is not going to make employees feel you care about them, and while an occasional pay raise may help retain workers, your overall benefits package may be more important in fostering engagement.

According to GlassDoor, 79 percent of employees would prefer extra benefits over a pay raise. Health insurance is the most important benefit for workers, and some other perks workers want include:

      • Tuition reimbursement
      • Flexible schedules (such as the ability to work remotely)
      • Paid time off
      • Gym memberships
      • Childcare benefits (such as stipends or on-site daycare)
      •  Commuter stipends/reimbursement
      •  Professional development training
      •  Retirement/investment plans and stock options.

Offering a comprehensive benefits package will cost you money, of course. But is it worth the investment, if it means you can hold onto your most talented employees? The cost of constant turnover and training new employees may be a greater drain on your resources.

Thienel & Lusk, LLC, specializes in helping business owners anticipate and prepare for growth, from the initial startup stage throughout the life of their business. Our experienced attorneys have provided legal counsel and representation to business owners in Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Washington County, and Anne Arundel County, and other jurisdictions in Maryland, Virginia, and DC. Please call us at 443-535-9715 or fill out our contact form if you need legal guidance for your business.

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