There are some terrific benefits of the digital age, including easy access to information and tremendous work flexibility. However, as employees move away from needing to work in a brick and mortar office, it's hard to build camaraderie and a true sense of trust in workplace teams. Relationships are key to building long-term happiness in the workplace, and happy employees are more likely to stay.
Having a 'best friend' at work is a key factor in keeping employees happy and employed long-term. Employers can contribute to these friendships by building socialization opportunities into the day. Set up a break room or lounging area so people can get away from their desks. Allow and encourage walking breaks, long lunches when possible, and opportunities to share information.
Build on-boarding programs for new employees so they can engage with their new co-workers as people, not just as workers. First impressions matter and your new hires are eager (and perhaps a little anxious) to start off on the right foot. Organizations need to make these first few days as smooth as possible.
Before The First Day: Once the offer has been made and accepted, treat this person as the valued employee you hope they become. Send out applications and other paperwork early so your new hire isn't under the gun frantically filling out forms on their first day. Send out parking instructions and any identification needs with the forms.
On The First Day: If you can't send out a name tag or a security badge before your new hire arrives, meet them at the door with the necessary identification. When your valuable new hire gets blocked by security because they don't have the badge they need to get to their new job to pick up the badge that gets them past security, you just got off to a bad start. You may have also received a miserable review on Glass Door.
Offer the new hire a 'work buddy' to guide them through the basics, such as copiers, faxes, supplies, and candy machines.
Do Lunch: Set up multiple lunches with different team members for the first week. If possible, don't send out four introverts for a quiet, awkward lunch experience. Include one extrovert in each lunch group.
Once your new hire is on-boarded, you want to reward exemplary work. When establishing employee appreciation ideas, it's critically important to find out what your employee holds dear. For example, many employees may be thrilled to be publicly thanked in front of a large crowd. For others, this is extreme punishment, coupled with the guilt of knowing that others would love this sort of treatment.
Simple surveys to determine the preferences of your employees can give you a wealth of information. Everything from a travel bucket list for large gifts to gift card ideas for their favorite breakfast place can be stored in a single drive for ease of access. While it's important for you to appreciate your employees, keep in mind that they would love to treat you, too!
It's easy to discredit the 'everybody gets a trophy' concept, but keep in mind that anyone raised in that mindset is big on teams. As the next generation moves into the workplace, putting factors in place for group work and group happiness are critical.
Your employees are your biggest investment and your biggest asset. By giving them a positive on-boarding, offering them the chance to build friendships, and providing them with meaningful appreciation, you can build a durable, hard-working team.