As a manager, you have a great deal of influence on your employees' level of satisfaction. Learn some simple ways you can make this satisfaction a priority, and remind your employees that it is important to you.
Much like the sweater vest-adorned parents who can't understand why their teenager no longer talks to them, you find yourself at a loss when your employees suddenly stop acting like the fresh-faced eager workers you thought you managed so well. "Where did it all go so wrong?" You ask yourself, wondering if your staff will ever recover from that oh-so-common workplace growing pain: low morale. You may tell yourself it's just a phase, but you can't shake that nagging voice in your head saying, "Did I cause this?"
Well... it's possible. As a manager, you may not realize how much influence you have on your employees' level of satisfaction. "If a person doesn't like who they work for, it's going to be very difficult to achieve full potential and build a career," says Pepsi Bottling Company CEO Eric Foss in an interview with USA Today.
Foss, now in his 25th year at the company, ought to know a thing or two about keeping employees motivated. The average tenure of the company's top executives spans nearly two decades, and its 1,800 field executives average 14 years. It can be assumed they don't stick around solely for the free soda.
When companies like Pepsi recognize that their success is due largely to their employees, they make employee satisfaction a priority. Google, which consistently ranks among the top of Fortune's annual "Best Places to Work," states their employment philosophy on their Web site: "Give the proper tools to a group of people that want to make a difference, and they will."
The key phrase here, however, is "want to make a difference." If your employees feel overworked and underappreciated, they're not going to want to make a difference. You may not be able to offer your employees free gourmet meals, laundry service or on-site volleyball courts, like Google famously does, but material perks are just one way to express employee appreciation. There are only so many "free donut Fridays" that will motivate a person to work to their potential in an otherwise insufferable environment. So, what are your options?
One caveat to following these steps: you have to be sincere. Dion McInnis, associate vice president for university advancement at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, does something he calls the "morning walk-around."
Almost every morning, he walks to his team's two areas to say hello or have a short chat with each employee, giving them a chance to discuss everything from accomplishments to concerns. "This time of connection and access reminds them that I genuinely care about who they are and what is happening in their worlds," McInnis says.
"It's Not Me, It's You," your disgruntled employee says, spinning on his heel and walking out the door. Before he exits, he casts you a final look of disappointment, leaving you with a sudden job vacancy and an empty space in your heart. Your situation may not be this much like a soap opera, but you may have storms brewing.
Although 43 percent of managers say they don't mind if their employees are late for work, late employees continue to give some very interesting excuses to justify their tardiness. This year's survey revealed a new whole new set of wacky excuses.