Happy workers come from a happy workplace; their second home
Most of us spend more time at work than with our family and our work colleagues become our second family. Like your real family, not everyone gets along all the time, but your family is your family and they always come first. That type of loyalty and comradery should be cultivated in the workplace. It has to come from the top, just like parents setting an example, and there needs to be constant re-enforcement, just like parents with their children.
Think about family dinners (before technology) when everyone sat around the table and talked. You learned so much and got caught up on the day’s activities. Ask for volunteers to form a committee of employees to arrange monthly themed luncheons for everyone. Food is a great convener and something to bond over. It is an easy and fun way to stop, take time and talk to your team members. Make it a point to get sit with people you do not know well. Break down barriers, both perceived and as a result of organizational hierarchy.
Within a family, everyone has a different personality. Same as an organization. You must take the time to get to know your team. The little things make a difference. Ask employees what they care about and they will in turn care about your business. Treat each person as the unique person that they are. Remember details. Depending on the size of your organization, you may want to come up with a system so no one is left out. Post a calendar for birthdays and special events. Acknowledge their special day in some way. Personalize it with a hand written note and a small thank you. It is not about the monetary value (if any). It is about taking the time out of your day and being thoughtful.
Think about how much siblings fight at times. As much as they may pretend to not like each other, they are always there to protect each other; they always have each other’s back. The “right” workplace is where you and senior management act as the watch dog for your employees. Establish teams with the goal of respect and encourage conversation which allows everyone to express their views, even if they are differences of opinion. Once established, everyone must work to protect the essence of a respectful workplace. Just as you, as the leader, must lead, your employees also have a responsibility to cultivate the right environment. They need to participate in the perks you offer, get involved, establish a baseline of trust within the team and build their own relationships. If you treat everyone with respect, each member of your team will sense that. In turn, treat each other the same way. Forging and reinforcing a true bond with your employees will result in a safe place when they want to come to work. It is ok to laugh, argue, discuss and share knowledge when it is done as a team.
Treat your employees as individual people with individual minds and let your company become more than a workplace for them. Let it become a career and not a job, a community and not a solitary workplace; a real second home. A place where they feel they belong and will look forward to coming back to every day. Do it right and you have happy employees.
Home is where you feel you belong.