Keeping employees happy goes beyond their paycheck. For many, the workplace is a second home, so making it supportive, nurturing and productive can help you retain your most talented people.
The alternative is expensive, because workplace stress has a price. The American Psychological Association says the U.S. economy loses $500 billion each year due to stress-related issues at work. Stress on the job is responsible for about 550 million workdays lost each year, and 80% of workplace accidents.
Now this doesn't mean that you have to install rock climbing walls, ping-pong tables and provide kegs of beer for afterhours merrymaking to reduce stress like some startups have done. There are simpler and, frankly, easier ways to be just as effective. Here are a few to consider:
Give them what they need. Cheap lighting hurts workers' eyes. Worn-out furniture is uncomfortable. Both increase physical stress. Invest in workplace ergonomics to make the time your workers spend in the office as comfortable as possible. That means providing a stocked office supply closet, ergonomic desks and chairs, standing workstations, shared spaces that are clean, good air quality and effective sound control.
Promote health and exercise. Sitting still for long stretches has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and premature death. At my firm, employees get discounts to fitness centers. The staff crowdsourced a healthy eating cookbook, available to all via our intranet. We've invited a nationally known massage therapist and Reiki practitioner to our office to give massages, and we host a "Rethink Your Drink" challenge that rewards employees for drinking more water.
Encouraging your staff to stay healthy will not only keep your health insurance costs down, it will create positive attitude and energy throughout the company, too.
Connect the dots to success. Even entry-level employees need to know that their contribution are important to your company. Give every employee a sense of purpose by explaining how their role makes a difference. This can help make employees happier, healthier and more productive--resulting in better performance and lower turnover.
Share good news. When good things happen, share the news timely. Besides the obvious morale boost, it will remind everyone that their good work produces results.
No company can be a long-term success without a positive workplace. Creating one costs little but pays lasting dividends.