With all the anxiety in the marketplace, it's only natural that employees may feel concerned about issues on the home front as well as job security at the office. Yet, with many managers focused on making numbers and closing sales, it's often too easy to overlook their number one asset--the internal team.
While unfortunately we can't alleviate employee anxiety by controlling what Wall Street is doing, we can create a positive work environment that minimizes stress and promotes business success. In all the work that Insight has done to help organizations develop outstanding workplaces, there are several qualities that these companies all share: they are focused on mutual respect, teamwork, and other key core values, and they motivate employees to do their best for themselves, each other, and their clients.
So while now may not be the time you can give pay increases and big bonuses, there are ways you can create outstanding workplaces--ways to recognize your employees and show them that they are truly valued. Here are some of the programs that we implemented for ourselves and our clients over the years that have been very effective:
Creating a Special Recognition Award Establish an award or find another way to reward your office superstars. We ring a bell every time a new client comes on board and recognize work successes company wide. In addition to recognizing the achievements of top performers, consider giving them a token benefit that shows your appreciation, such as a dinner for two on the town.
Rewarding the Team If your team is like mine, everyone's giving 110%, and would enjoy an opportunity to spend time with their colleagues and let their hair down. One fun approach could be a games afternoon, where you bring out board games such as Pictionary, and let the fun begin.
Setting Aside Regular Times to Connect It may be Monday afternoon brown bag lunches when you supply dessert, Wednesday morning donuts, or Friday afternoon get togethers and weekly wrap-ups, but find a time you can all connect casually on a regular basis. Also, remember to celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, and other milestones.
Establishing a Mental Health Day Give employees one day off per month during the next few months to rejuvenate themselves and take care of personal business.
Incorporating Flexibility in the Workplace As long as it doesn't interfere with your business, consider implementing flexible, family-friendly policies. Telecommuting, for example, not only helps reduce stress and establish a more balanced work/life environment, but it can also promote productivity. Having a child home sick from school or a major snowstorm typically won't disrupt getting work done.
Hosting a Health Program Consider hosting a fun afternoon to promote healthy practices and reduce stress. Invite local vendors to provide free massages, exercise classes, stress reduction workshops, and other activities. Bring in healthy refreshments.
Now more than ever, it's important to bring your team together, inject some fun and find ways to let off steam.
Have you created an innovative, cost-effective way to boost morale and bring your team together? I'd love to hear about them. Please send in your comments and share your ideas.
Nancy R. Mobley, is president and CEO of Insight Performance, Inc.
Last updated: Apr 3, 2009
NANCY MOBLEY is founder and CEO of Insight Performance, a human resource consulting firm focused on emerging and mid-market companies. Clients include biotech, medical device, manufacturing, banks and technology companies. @InsightPerf