How to create a desirable workplace

Keeping your employees happy can certainly feel like a tall order. Let’s be completely honest here: you’re never going to have a perfectly oiled machine. It’s impossible to completely eradicate the frustrations and sometimes resentment that come with a hierarchy. What you can do is to bring employees together and encourage camaraderie, to demonstrate respect for their lives outside of work, and to offer incentives and perks that create buzz and inspire loyalty.

People sitting at the banquet table

Encourage teamwork

Bringing your staff together, interns included, will inevitably boost morale in the office. Do it after hours or during the work day, but do it regularly.

  • Encourage happy hour outings or lunches out. If the budget allows, throw in for a round or a few appetizers. If your business is very small, by all means join in. If you’re at the top of bigger pyramid, bow out and give your staff a chance to hang out without you. They’ll appreciate your efforts with you outside of the office. Give them a chance to relax.
  • Fund team-building efforts. If that means a weekend of ropes courses and trust falls, perfect. For a smaller company, there’s no need to spend a fortune. Look into occasional brewery tours or potluck picnics in a local park complete with ice-breakers and spouses/partners.

Respecting lives outside of work

You know how busy you are, and how your work and family and interests and responsibilities pull you in a thousand directions at once, every day? The same holds true for every single one of your employees. Just knowing that they’re busy, stressed-out people isn’t quite enough. You need to show them that you understand how tough it is to juggle everything at once.

  • When you can, work around reasonable requests for flexibility in work schedule. The best practice is to talk openly about this. Don’t grant requests that you don’t think are important, but explain to your staff that you want to help and that you care about them. Most employers never bother. Set yourself apart.
  • Recognize achievements. This is an easy one, and it’s worth the effort. When somebody has a baby or gets engaged, send flowers. When your receptionist places 10th in the local 5k, send around an email congratulating her on her hard work. Make a quick calendar of birthdays and be sure that you offer something – even if it’s just an expensive latte delivered by the boss.

Create buzz

If you want to inspire people to work for you, give them something to talk about!

  • Get your organization, and your staff, involved in the local community. Service days, clothing or food drives, and fundraisers for local organizations are all easy ways to show you’re about more than just business.
  • If your team is big enough, start just that: a team. Check out local rec leagues – common offerings include dodgeball, softball, and kickball. If that’s no good for your group, how about a 5k walk/run for a local charity? Set up a practice schedule after work and make sure you participate, too!
  • Inspire loyalty by rewarding loyalty. If you have a top staff member, make sure everyone in the office sees that person’s value, and the reward for that value. Reward more than just sales – leadership, longevity, and innovation are all valuable contributions to your organization. Treat them as such, and make your accolades public.

There’s no deep secret to creating a desirable workplace. It’s all in the details, and it’s all possible.

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