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How can employers create a healthy workplace environment?

As your employees spend a significant part of their life at work, creating a healthy workplace environment is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. With strong market competition and higher staff turnover, workplaces need to implement strategies that will improve employee job satisfaction to remain competitive. There is no longer a clear delineation between the employee experience and the customer experience, which makes focusing on your employees more important than ever. So, what practices can employers put in place to create a healthy workplace environment?

Focus on improving your employee relationships

According to Safe Work Australia, harassment and bullying cases have nearly doubled in Australia over the last decade. It is important in any workplace to create positive relationships between co-workers to reduce mistreatment and isolation. Employees are more likely to feel happier coming into work every day if they have a supportive network around them. If an employee is just starting out at an organisation, give them a buddy who can show them the ropes and be that friendly face around the workplace. Negative relationships don’t just affect an individual, but also a business, often leading to increased absenteeism, high staff turnover and added training and development costs.

Furthermore, it’s important to involve both employers and employees in business interactions and decisions within the workplace. Providing leadership training, for example, ensures a shared feeling of empowerment. Giving employees more of a say in decisions, not only actively involves them in the success of the business and increases their engagement, but improves decision making. By encouraging participation, organisations can create more productive peer relationships, as well as retain high performers. Not only is offering leadership training an effective strategy, but employers must ensure this is also reciprocated. 89% of employees are satisfied when their companies deliver great leaders. Having employers who are effective leaders and offer constructive feedback and positive recognition, will help to retain talent as well.

Celebrate achievements and show appreciation

Employees react positively, and are likely to be more driven, when they are recognised for their hard work. Obviously rewards such as pay rises, bonuses or other financial incentives can be great ways to recognise performance and motivate individuals, yet research suggests this is one of many.

A recent survey revealed that 83% of employees think it’s better to give someone praise than a gift. Verbal appreciation, such as letting them know why you’re grateful for the work they do, can be just as meaningful, especially if its sincere and timely. You may also want to recognise certain milestones, hitting specific goals or financial targets, or even personal achievements. Celebrating hard work but also those small victories, means employees will not only continue to improve, but will feel appreciated by their employer.  

Develop career learning and pathways

Opportunities for career development and progression at a company go a long way in making employees feel valued. This could be through continuing education, tuition, university course compensation or training. However, external training is not the only way to develop an employee, and providing internal means is often a greater source of job satisfaction.

Getting employees to make time for learning’ is the number one challenge facing talent development, yet 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development, according to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report. Creating a development plan that focuses on understanding an employees’ individual needs, shows you are interested in their learning and development. Employees should be given the opportunity to develop new skills and take on additional responsibilities wherever possible. Therefore, it is important for employers to always expand and increase variety in their role, so employees feel like they are working with a purpose and are continuing to grow.

Boost employee health

Focusing on employee health is another way to increase employee job satisfaction, as 42% of Australian workers see employee well-being programs as very or somewhat important when job searching. Showing you value your employee’s health may be as simple as encouraging regular breaks or taking short walks during lunchtime. Whether or not you sit at a desk or work outside, stepping away from what you’re doing, even for a moment, can help staff feel refreshed and less fatigued.

Having a greater focus on and implementing health and wellness initiatives can also improve employee satisfaction and productivity. If you, as an employer, do not have the resources to set up some of these practices however, an arrangement such as flexible working hours or allowing employees to take a specified number of sick days as wellbeing days are ideas that could be implemented. Providing permanent flexibility will help to prevent employee burnout and create a greater work-life-balance, adding to increased job satisfaction.  Whatever you choose, it is important that you either provide a range of options or keep options general, so as to be inclusive.

Developing a healthy workplace culture and implementing some of these practices may take time, however, the benefits for both employees and the company are endless. For more useful tips and advice on employee management, visit our Employer Resources Page or get in touch with Bayside Group today