How to Make Your Employees Happy

Read more from Michael Alter here and in the Dollars and Sense archive.

There's been a lot written and studied recently about what Americans want at work. How do you keep morale high while also achieving high levels of productivity? We could argue all day about flexible work schedules, open office environments, and whether nap rooms or bring your pet to work day are good ideas. But the point is that these perks are treating symptoms rather than getting at the root of the issue.

Sometimes we forget to focus on the more core issue of confidence and trust between employer and employee. After all, what good is a benefit like working from home, if you have to worry your boss doesn't believe you're getting anything done?

In a recent survey from Forum Corp., 91 percent of employees said it's highly important to have a boss they can trust. Only 48 percent of bosses, though, said it was highly important. And only 8 percent of workers said they trusted their managers to a "very great extent." Those with that high level of trust happened to be the most engaged, according to the study.  

Too often, business owners, in an attempt to maintain control, keep their employees on the edges of their seats, wondering if their jobs are safe or their skills are valued. As a result, employees become afraid to take appropriate risks, or merely do whatever they think will please the boss, as opposed to what's best for the business.

Instilling confidence in your employees that you have full faith in their ability to get the job done and improve your business is really at the core of your employees' satisfaction and engagement in their roles. Without it, what's keeping them from always keeping an eye out, looking for something more secure?

That's why it's really important to show your confidence often and publicly. Your employees and your clients should be able to see it. This is how you build a culture of change, engagement, and ownership.

It's only natural for someone to want to do a better job when they know they have your trust. It's a valuable thing.

About the author:
Michael Alter, president of SurePayroll, is a payroll expert and a nationally recognized spokesperson providing thought-leadership and sensible advice to help accounting and payroll professionals build deeper more profitable relationships with clients.

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