In a recent article, Forbes reports that employers are cutting back on costly workplace benefits. Many workplaces are balancing the books by pulling or shrinking elite perks like family fertility support, education stipends, and charitable gift matching. Forbes tells us that this is a source of stress for human resources and leadership, because they fear that cutting these benefits will make employees unhappy. This is a concern we at Amazing Workplace often hear from new clients, "how can I make employees happy? We don't have a lot of extra money to spend."
That's where the secret of an amazing workplace comes in. Making a workplace great does not cost a lot of money. It's a simple process that can be put into five steps.
- Ask employees how they feel, and what they need and want.
- Understand and acknowledge the feedback they give.
- Act on the feedback with targeted, low-cost, high-reward solutions.
- Tell employees what was done to improve.
Allow us to explain a little bit about each one.
1. Ask employees how they feel, and what they need and want.
There are plenty of ways to find out how employees feel. Workplaces can use 1-on-1 meetings with managers, instant messaging channels, or take comments at group workplace meetings. The best method — by far — is having a third party conduct an employee survey with anonymous results. Many employees will not feel safe to express their most important feedback when their identity is known or when the survey is run by their own leaders. Importantly, the survey must be thorough, built to obtain actionable results, and still fast and easy to complete.
Amazing Workplace is the only provider of the Employee Happiness Survey, a survey designed from the ground up to determine what employees need to be happy at work. It's detailed, but still fun and easy to do,
2. Understand and acknowledge the feedback they give.
Survey results can be daunting to understand. Thousands or even millions of individual responses go into workplace surveys, so leaders rely on having tools to clearly understand the feedback. It's critical that the workplace identify the issues that are most important to employees, and even more critical that they acknowledge to employees that they were heard. But don't stop there, employees expect workplaces to back the survey up with action.
3. Act on the feedback with targeted, low-cost, high-reward solutions.
Leaders sometimes fear that the only way to respond to survey results is spending money on pay raises, expanded benefits, or better equipment. In reality, it's not necessary to do these things to improve happiness. Employees most commonly raise issues that can be answered with improved communication, providing targeted training to leaders, or improving company policies and processes.
For example, in Amazing Workplace Employee Happiness Survey results, we frequently see lower happiness around workplaces' pay raise processes. Most times, this lower score is simply due to employees not knowing what the pay raise process is, or due to the workplace not having a fully-established raise process. Our platform helps leaders respond to these scores by creating a more complete, understandable pay raise process. Once that process is communicated, employees feel better about raises because they have clear expectations and know what's needed to get a raise.
4. Tell employees what was done to improve.
Once workplaces have taken action on employee wants and needs, they communicate exactly what they've done. They tie the action back to the survey results. When communications announce policy changes, new resources, or new training, they state clearly that these changes were made in response to employees' feedback in the survey. Then this news is repeated and shared in team meetings and in multiple communication channels. Make sure that nobody misses out, so everyone knows that the workplace cared enough to make things better for everyone.
Don't stop surveying. Once employees see how effective the survey process is, they'll be hooked. They'll expect the opportunity at least once a year to speak up about what's great, and what's needed.
Amazing Workplace provides an Employee Happiness Platform — which includes the Happiness Survey and hundreds of other workplace surveys. You can get started on your workplace's happiness journey today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and say hi!