By Debra W. Gould, MS
I work for a company that is doing good things for people. I have a contract opportunity with a good balance of independence and teamwork. I’m working on projects that help to move the business forward. Then it hit me. I was happy in my business endeavor, and I wasn’t used to that feeling.
There are three important ways to keep employees happy in their jobs:
1. Recognize even routine jobs.
Employees are motivated when they can see the impact of their work. It can be as simple as email recognition to the team member who is always the first to the office or even the employee who cleaned out the coffee pot in the break room. People like to be recognized and feel valued.
2. Reward outstanding work.
Recognize those employees who do a great job or go above and beyond the call of duty. The employee will feel value and will set an example for coworkers to follow. So give kudos to the team member who went the extra mile to get an important RFP out the door. Please exercise caution against overemphasizing one employee though, as that can breed resentment, so be sure the spread the recognition around.
3. Understand what really matters to your employees.
Make sure those little feel-good perks actually hit home. Use surveys, focus groups and interviews to get information about the rewards that matter. For some employees, it's about money. Others are delighted by an evening out on the boss’s dime, or when they're treated to lunch. Earning a half-day off or the ability to have some flexibility in work time, when possible, can also be powerful ways to keep employees motivated to perform.
No work environment is perfect, but being happy at work isn’t so hard. It just takes some mental fine-tuning.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
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