Friday, April 17, 2015

4 Small Things You Can Do to Make Your Employees' Lives Better

We live in an era when companies boast of providing their employees with organic cafeterias, in-office massages and free access to rooftop fitness centers. Other companies take a pragmatic approach with on-site daycare and large sunlit spaces that promote health and productivity. These perks can help employees feel appreciated, focus on their work, and develop loyalty to the company—but as a veteran business leader, Alexander Bouri knows that these things are not always practical. Many companies simply cannot afford extravagant perks, but that doesn't mean you can't make your employees' lives a little better. Here are four of Bouri's easy, low- or no-cost ways to do so:

1.  Open policy on Facebook – It's baffling how many companies forbid staff from looking at social media or, worse, install software that blocks it. This is essentially paying money to give your staff a morale problem, without actually solving the underlying issue (staff members with a poor work ethic will goof off with or without Facebook, and offline slacking is a lot harder to track or prove). Staff given a small measure of trust will by and large show that that trust is well placed, and turning a blind eye to fifteen minutes a day of Twitter is going to pay off in terms of creating a happy work environment and staff who want to stick around. Unblock the site and move on.

2.  Be flexible for family – It's one thing to say that your company values family, but it's another to make that principle a reality. Let staff know that you want them to put their families first, and then provide flexibility so they can do so. This could involve more flexible hours, allowing staff to switch shifts easily, and being liberal in allowing the use of sick time to cover family emergencies. Few offices offer this kind of attitude, and staff members will appreciate it.

3.  Provide healthy snacks – Every office has snacks at meetings at least some of the time, but they're almost always donuts or sweets. Add in the inevitable candy dishes on every desk and you've got a lack of healthy grazing options. Try putting out big jars of raw or roasted almonds (without taking away people's sweets) and add a veggie tray at the next staff meeting.

4.  Create a telecommuting policy – It's long past time to allow your staff to work from home, at least for positions where it's appropriate. Take the time to come up with a trial telecommuting policy and see how it goes. Ask for staff feedback and evaluate the policy after six months, making sure it meets company needs.

These are all small things, but they have a huge impact. How do you show your staff you care?

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