Employment is one of those things that when it works- it works, and when it does not- it does not. There is often no middle ground.

Finding good employees can be tricky but so is creating an environment where employees thrive and are happy.

Most of the time: happy employee = productive employee.

Although you cannot keep everyone happy, company culture must be built around the people there. I’ve found over the years that companies who look after their employees, naturally look after their suppliers and customers better. You often see that often companies who do not look after employees, have high staff-turnover rates and very little loyalty.

Don’t be a pushover and make sure that there are work-relationship boundaries, happy employees do not mean that the boss has to be subservient to them or give in to every request. It means that there is a mutual respect in the work environment with a common goal where both employee and company are able to succeed.

Our tips for keeping employees happy and balancing company culture:

Employees must understand their role, what is expected of them and who they are answerable to

This sounds simple but there are often times when employees’ roles are not well defined and it results in under-performance in key areas.

Communication, Communication and Communication

One of the biggest downfalls to company culture is when communication between management and employees is uneasy. Employees should be able to communicate ideas and issues alike.

Parameters

Employees must be free enough to do their job independently (even if supervised) but also have parameters of what is acceptable in the workplace. There must be clear and fair procedures for dealing with issues. One must not cloud the fact that the company thrives when both parties are content and working together. This often takes sacrifice from all concerned.

Respecting downtime

It is imperative that employees have downtime and are able to use it properly. This does not mean that it is forbidden to call after hours if necessary but there must be a definitive understanding as to when this is acceptable and necessary.

Fairness and uniformity

Apply rules equally, but take into account each employee individually. There is nothing wrong with discipline if it is applied correctly and reasonably.

Give a dog a bone

Employees deserve rewards for hard work, whether it be an incentive scheme or a token of appreciation. I remember the firm I worked for back in the day had a cracker month and threw a party for staff to say thanks- not only was it fun but it also boosted morale and camaraderie. A good incentive scheme can work wonders.

There can be a flip-side: take for example a flowerpot manufacturing business, employees were given targets whereby they could go home as they reached their daily quota. They landed up reducing their work day by 3 hours. The result was substandard pots and the incentive deal lasted only 2 weeks.

Negative energy

Employees who bring negative energy often create a matching environment.

Gossip

Office gossip is destructive to both company and employee, it must be kept to a minimum and not encouraged.