When your staffs have been working hard, time and pressure can take its toll and they can begin to feel weary. As an employer, you don’t want to take your staff for granted – by doing so, you could be dealing with more sickness cover and hiring/firing meetings than you’d like! We have all been there – overworked and feeling underpaid, underappreciated or simply just under the weather. So when it comes to your staff, put yourself in their shoes. You need to boost morale and loyalty to your business by making the right decisions and showing support.
In fact, People Management have said that in the NHS alone, one in eight paramedics and healthcare assistants were off ill with stress or anxiety last year, forcing them to take more than 80,000 sick days collectively. In two of the surveyed NHS trusts, almost a quarter of frontline staff were off sick with stress. A separate study by Kronos revealed that 85 per cent of emergency service workers were worried about burnout, with nearly three quarters reporting that they had already suffered from workplace fatigue.
It’s not just the healthcare sector that this ‘burnout’ and ‘underappreciation’ can happen to.
Gavin England, industry and customer insights manager at Kronos, said that “Proper support from managers was essential to making sure employees’ mental and physical health is looked after…Having proper breaks between shifts and a culture that encourages staff to take the time needed to rest and recuperate will help prevent burnout and allow them to be ready to carry out these incredibly difficult and life-saving roles that we often take for granted.”
So, with this in mind, what can you do to help your staff from feeling undervalued? Here are 5 tips for ensuring your employees don’t feel taken for granted:
Tip #1 – Keep in contact
As a business manager or owner of a company, you can often feel busy and bogged down by duties. But it is important that you show your face, keep in contact and show your staff you are around. It’s a good idea to share your diary with them, so they know where you’ll be, and also schedule some time in the office to touch base with employees.
Tip #2 – Encourage an open door policy
It’s easy to shut ourselves away in our offices, burrowed by the computer without having any contact with anyone all day. But this is not healthy and doesn’t encourage good staff ethics. Keep your office door open, step outside for your coffee break and chat to people in and around the company. Be open – ask about how work is going, but also ask about their home lives (“how’s your daughter?” “Have you got a holiday planned?” “When is the big house move?”) This can all help to humanise the ‘boss’ stereotype and give your staff the chance to get to know you, too.
Tip #3 – Treat your staff – however big or small
If your employees have just reached a milestone, celebrate! Have a ‘dress down’ day as a casual treat for staff, or put on a big event like a gala or charity night– depending on how much money you have to spend and how big your business is. Some employers simply have food brought into the office for staff, which is a great way to show employees you value them. Fresh fruit, for example, can help to aid productivity while giving staff a little mid-morning boost. In a survey by Fruitful Office, an office fruit delivery company, 11% agreed that their workplace “enabled them to work more productively” following the introduction of fruit to the workplace, and 79% of staff said the fruit made them feel more valued as an employee. 81% of staff thought having fresh fruit available at their desk had “improved their quality of life at work.” This doesn’t have to be a one-off treat, but a constant on-going perk of the job.
Tip # 4 – Show compassion
Life can be difficult for some people, so if your staff member has a death in the family to deal with, is going through a divorce or has childcare issues, show compassion and give them time off to help them sort things out. A little understanding can go a long way and in many cases staff will feel gratitude towards you and remember this for the future.
Tip #5 – Say thanks!
Remember to actually say thanks to staff for specific work completed. Offer bonuses where you can, or at least praise specifically. A thank-you goes a long way, so try not to send round-robin emails, e.g. ‘Thanks everyone for your work this year’ – instead, personalise responses, e.g. a Christmas card with a specific message to the staff member. That way, staff know that you personally are thankful and would more than likely do the same again for the company.