At some point in recent history, workplaces began to understand the value of culture in the workplace. Not just the perks an employee receives while working there, but the way the environment makes them feel.
There’s a long story of how the relationship between employer and employee came to be. As the smoke began to clear about a decade ago (literally, in some industries), there were just humans. Humans who started their businesses out of a passion and the humans who work for them and share that passion.
There are a ton of ideas you can float to treat your staff better but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about a fact too often forgot.
Bogged down with policies and procedures, we often forget that on both sides of the table are just human beings. We have quirks, can be nerdy about weird topics, and life tends to get in the way of everything, not just the work day.
There are big ways that your business can be more in tune with the human experience. It’s not all about the rules you write. It’s about the way your business treats people, both your customers and employees. We’ve all heard people discussing why your employees are the key to success and sometimes it’s challenging to bring that idea to action.
Here are a few ideas for you to include the human element in your everyday employee experience.
Give your staff guidelines they can relate to
Have you ever read an employee handbook? Not glanced at a page or two, but read your company’s handbook front to back? Unless you wrote it, the answer is likely to be a no. More often than not employee handbooks read like legal documents and are filled with all of the things your staff is not allowed to do.
Focus your employee guidelines on the actions and responsibilities you want them to take on instead of what they are not allowed to do. This not only moves your staff in the right direction, it also provides your employees a roadmap of success.
Instead of policies that explain what not to wear, craft a policy that asks your staff to dress accordingly and that lends itself to a professional environment.
Include write-ups about positive workplace experiences and culture that you’ve built and are proud of. If there are holiday parties every year, include that in the employee handbook. Do you offer career planning for each employee? Give them a sample of it in the handbook, and direct them to the person they should speak to to set up their best career year yet.
By showcasing the good that your business provides as well as the policies in a handbook, you’re likely to get more engagement overall.
Show your staff appreciation
This one might sound like a broken record. But this bears repeating as often as you could hear it, treat your staff better by showing them appreciation.
We’re not talking about expressions of gratitude, though saying “thank you” plays an important role. Treat your staff better by building appreciation into your policies.
Have you had a salaried employee come back from lunch a few minutes late, need to leave the office early, or suddenly becomes unavailable without a proper amount of notice? Unless it’s a trend that is causing issue within the workplace, let it go. Remember, we’ve all been a minute or two late. If it’s a rarity, it’s not something to bring up.
If an employee has a last-minute appointment, instead of being rigid, look for ways to have the shift or meeting moved, covered, or eliminated altogether. Again, if this is becoming a problem, it’s one thing. But for a tenured employee who has earned their time with you and does excellent work, being flexible will mean far more than many other perks do.
Your staff not only spins the gears that make your company move, they also make you look good. If you forget how to treat your staff like humans, they are less likely to be motivated to work the long hours during a tough project.
Treat your staff like humans
Everybody gets it wrong sometimes. Employees make bad decisions, and so does everyone else. Be sure to align your feedback to employees with their history at the company. If there’s never been serious issues and this is a minor mistake, use it as a teaching opportunity versus a harsh criticism.
Of course, stealing, lying or cheating should never be allowed.
What if this policy is not good for your company, have you gotten feedback? Implemented changes according to feedback? Are you certain you would consider it fair if you were the employee?
A great way to make sure your policies are fair and balanced is to instate a task force. Recruit 3-5 of your employees who have sincere passion and dedication to making the workplace better. Work with them to create policies that make sense for your team. You’ll find the gathering of several opinions and thoughts will develop well-rounded policies that could even help you attract high-quality talent in the future.
Remembering your staff is human can sound easy and prove to be a challenge. But you already knew this, because just like your staff, you’re human.
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