One of the most rewarding experiences for me as a manager has been my employees’ satisfaction and contentment. Seeing my treatment of a coworker bring a positive change in his or her attitude and motivation has been one of my favorite aspects of management. I’ve had employees go from fire-worthy to being indispensable to the company.
Vast amounts of research and countless articles have been written about the correlation between employee happiness and productivity, yet so many people are unhappy in their jobs. A successful manager needs to be focusing as much on employee relations as he does on operations.
I like to keep things simple. The simpler they are, the easier they are to remember and the more likely they are to be accomplished. I’ve boiled my thoughts on employee satisfaction down to two points: compassion and support.
Employees are people. They have lives outside of work. In their lives they experiences joys and pains. People want to know that they matter as individuals. Getting to know your employee on a personal level builds rapport and trust. If they know you genuinely care for and are interested in them, channels of communication and relationship will be opened up. They will feel freer to share with you their frustrations with the job and how they could enjoy a more positive work experience. You may be surprised what you uncover.
Employees need to know that you support them. They need their manager to trust them and advocate for them. If they are getting blamed for a mistake, they need to be given the benefit of the doubt. Standing up for your employee when they get “thrown under the bus” allows them to feel safe and secure in their position and job. Mistakes do happen. A manager needs to create an environment where it is safe to make mistakes. Allowing employees to make mistakes reduces stress in the workplace and allows for problems to be remedied more quickly.
It is much easier to change systems, procedures and policies to affect change in a workplace than change the culture. Creating a positive working atmosphere is a challenge because it involves changing peoples’ attitudes and motivations. For a manager, achieving employee satisfaction makes management fun and fulfilling.