3 Tips for encouraging a positive work environment.

Human Resources is a broad subject, but one of the key components of human resources is maintaining an informed and solid employee pool.  You can hire people who appear motivated and capable however, keeping an employee this way is a different story.  Following are 3 tips to aid any company in producing a positive work environment.

1.  The Paycheck

The core of a positive work environment will always be the paycheck. Paying someone above their worth is not the answer. Paying employees appropriately is. Time and time again you see disgruntled employees who are not paid as they believe they deserve and in turn companies endure high turnover rates.  High turnover rates do not help your business. With a high turnover rate, you get a long list of money wasting situations.

Training a new person consistently means you are going to experience a learning curve. No one is perfect and new people make mistakes. Mistakes cost money and customers.  Customers appreciate working with companies that know them.  Building relationships with your customers is key to maintaining a strong customer base. Your employees are your biggest ally when it comes to building those relationships. The customer relationship suffers when there is a lack of stability in your staff. That relationship is left unattended and it is very easy for another company to swoop in and solidify a relationship with your customer even if your pricing is lower. People would rather pay more for peace of mind. The service your competitors offer very well can make or break you.  Based on those two situations alone you need to ask yourself two important questions.  Is it worth the few dollars you save in hourly pay and will paying your employees a little more eliminate a high turnover rate?

Offering benefits and steady fair pay is a good way to encourage people to take their jobs seriously.  It is easy to decide to leave one company for another when you have minimal payoff for the work you produce. Sure you will always be able to find someone desperate for work however, as soon as something better comes along you lose.

You have to sell your company to employees just like you do your customers. You have to give them a reason to commit to you. This does not mean offering high starting wages, but offering a well thought out incentive program that includes frequent reviews and pay raises, future benefits, and paid time off is a good way to achieve commitment from an employee.  People who are working towards a goal and who have put in time and effort to achieve that goal will be more apt to think long and hard before taking a different job even if it offers more money initially.  All of the benefits and perks will always be taken into consideration when making these types of decisions.

2.  Work Environment

Once you have the pay and benefits figured out, providing quality management will only make the deal sweeter for your employees. You must have strong, trustworthy, and positive management. These people will lead your employees every day. If your management consists of crabby, negative, or even overworked management you will breed the same in your base employee pool.  People, in general, thrive off of encouragement, mutual respect, and positive vibes.

Keep an eye on your management.  Watch the interaction between your management and the people they manage.  Ask questions, be involved, and if something appears uncomfortable find out why.  Teach your management teams to lead by example. Make it as easy as possible for an employee to report someone of management for bad behavior without fear of retaliation. Be sure to take action for each claim and get to the bottom of it. Always revisit the situation at a later date to ensure resolution. This is not only good for maintaining a happy workplace but it also protects your company from a wide variety of potential issues in the future.

3.  One Bad Apple

Identify negativity in the workplace and handle it fast. You will always have that one employee who is negative with a list of complaints. Letting this employee fester is a very bad idea. If you have a negative employee who is complaining and/or just overall unhappy, you must address this immediately. One negative person can poison your employee pool very quickly.

Remember employees tend to stick together. Even the strongest employee will quickly cave at the first sign of unfair treatment or potential future issues.  Many times employees will believe a coworker with no questions asked, even if outside of the company in a similar situation the same employee would normally be skeptical. There is a type of united identification employees experience with each other in the workplace.

Being proactive is key.  If someone is unhappy, for whatever reason, you need to address it immediately. Allowing issues to fester is the worst move you can make. Many situations are easily resolved with a calm discussion.  Address your employees concerns and acknowledge that they are relevant.

Sometimes nothing will make your disgruntled employee happy.  Explain to them that you have done everything in your power to appease them. Make them aware that the behavior they are displaying is not conducive to the work environment you wish to provide, not only to them, but also to others.  Inform them of your intentions and explain to them that you are not willing to accept their behavior any longer.

Remember, you can quickly diffuse issues with simple respect and genuine kindness. Tone of voice is everything. The delivery of any message can change the results obtained. Management consists of being two different people at the same time. You must show you are firm but friendly. You must demand respect and give respect. You must exhibit confidence but not be condescending. It requires a very special person to manage employees.

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