Today, there’s a blur between our personal and work lives. Your job is important and your employees deserve a lot from you, but where do you draw the line? To support workplace satisfaction, what can your employees rightfully expect from you and what is going ‘over and above’.
6 indicators of workplace satisfaction
3 things you owe your employees
Respect for your employees is essential to their motivation, but treating others as you’d like to be treated can become muddled in job titles and role expectations. In the PR book How to Win Friends and Influence People, businessman and public speaker, Dale Carnegie states “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.” Instead of speaking to your employee armed with demands, consider what they will gain from their contribution and make them feel the significance of their role. By respecting your employees you acknowledge that they have rights, opinions, wishes, experience and competence.
- Time ‘off’
In a 2015 survey of job satisfaction among Australians, respondents rated work-life balance as the most important factor (32%), while salary was least the least significant factor at 14%¹. Instead of trying to squeeze the most time out of an employee through out of hours digital communication, reward hard work through breaks outside working hours, ensuring that your employees know what time they start and finish and encouraging them to ‘turn off’. You will find your workers return to work more inspired and driven to succeed.
- Learn about and care about their personal lives
21st Century leaders know that the personal lives of employees have a direct impact on their work and therefore productivity. Simon Sinek says, “When a leader embraces their responsibility to care for people instead of caring for numbers, then people will follow, solve problems and see to it that that leader’s vision comes to life the right way, a stable way and not the expedient way”². Your employees are people—they have good days, bad days, dreams and emotions. Show you care about them by asking questions and learning about their lives outside the office and you will see the benefits.
3 things you don’t owe your employees
- Your personal life & privacy
You want your employees to see you as a friendly, approachable human being and to do so you will need to share certain elements of your private life with them. But you also want to present yourself as a professional and ultimately authoritative figure. If a work-life balance is so integral to workplace satisfaction, then so too are boundaries used to divide them. While it is necessary to relate to your team and create a comfortable dialog, it won’t assert your status as a leader when you add them on Facebook and divulge too much information. Know your boundaries and allow your team to follow suit.
- 360º transparency
Transparency in the workplace is necessary for employee understanding, satisfaction and engagement, but a line is drawn when you divulge too much information. It’s often unnecessary to burden your team with information that is irrelevant to their role and it may also be counter-productive. A study of Australia’s best companies to work for last year rated Atlassian as the nation’s best place to work³. The company’s first and foremost principle is openness with both clients and employees, but it must be approached through using “part brains (what to say), thoughtfulness (when to say it), and caring (how it’s said)”.
- A Promotion
It seems that nowadays, promotions are expected on an annual basis. Professional staffing service Addison Group found that of all the Millennials currently employed, 40% expect a promotion every year or every second year⁵. While it’s essential to recognise this as a current and future trend among workers, a promotion is simply not always possible. Professional recognition and growth can be illustrated in a variety of ways to increase productivity without establishing a new job title annually, such as salary increases for proven successes, ‘employee of the month’ programs or small tokens of appreciation through awards or celebrations.