Are your employees dragging their feet? Giving you less than you know they have got?

If you think your employees are caught in a motivational slump, it is your job as their manager to inspire your employees, keep them happy and fuelled to be the best they can be in their job.

Take a look at these five tips on how to help your employees feel happier at work.

1. Show Your Appreciation

Don’t automatically assume that more money or holiday bonuses can motivate employees; very often small, more thoughtful perks can go a long way in boosting morale.

Consider the following to show your appreciation to your employees and to make them feel valued in the workplace:

• Offer flexible working hours, where employees can work from home one day a week

• Casual Fridays

• Catered lunches or order pizza for late work nights

On a simpler level, find out your employee’s favourite restaurant and treat them to lunch.

2. Set Clear Expectations

Clarity is the pathway to solid results and your employees should understand:

• What they are expected to do

• How they are expected to do it

• How they will be judged

Without goals or expectations, employees will naturally feel aimless. Outlining clear expectations with employees is one of the basic fundamentals of management, and communicating overall company goals makes employees feel that they are an important part of the team.

3. Reward Achievements

Never underestimate the power of recognition, provided it is used in moderation and at the right time. By rewarding employees and recognising their achievements, you show them that they matter to your company.

If you are worried about saving on costs, or perhaps you don’t have the budget for raises or bonuses, there are quite a few ways that you can reward employees without adding to your overheads. Consider the following when trying to make your employees feel recognised:

• Reward employees who go above and beyond with a day off or if is not an option, perhaps ley your employees choose between arriving a couple of hours late, or leaving a couple of hours early.

• Free food can be a great incentive for a job well done. Either take your employee out for lunch to celebrate their achievement, or if it is the whole team, a pizza lunch party will make everyone feel appreciated.

• Rotational spot prizes are also a great way to recognise employee achievements. Consider gift cards, scratch cards or dress-down days; combine these rewards with an announcement of that employee’s achievement during a team meeting or via email and you will have one happy member of staff.

4. Make Meetings Actionable

Meetings, meetings and more meetings. Often an employee’s day can be filled with endless meetings about meetings, which can leave them feeling annoyed and frustrated.

Instead of having meetings for the sake of meetings, try organising one structured get together a week. Employees will then be able to think more thoroughly about what to contribute to the conversation. In addition, ensure attendees leave with actionable tasks; this will add practical value to your meetings.

5. Create Socialising Opportunities

The majority of people choose to separate their personal and professional lives, however, this does not mean that your employees shouldn’t be able to converse and get along with each other outside a normal work environment.

These can be simple gatherings such as group lunches, which encourage people to let their hair down and casually talk to each other. These small socialising opportunities help build bonds among employees and will make work seem less robotic and more like an organic team effort.

As spring approaches, people’s minds turn to planning their summer holidays. Managing holiday requests can be challenging for a business, especially if employees request the same week off. How do you plan ahead so that business is not disrupted?

Here are some tips to help you to manage your staff leave and avoid common employee holiday related issues.

1. Develop a Holiday/Annual Leave Policy

In order to effectively manage staff holidays, the first port of call would be to develop an Annual Leave Policy which employees can refer to when they are seeking approval for time off.

The parameters set in such policies typically include:

  • Primarily how approval is based, i.e. first come, first serve basis
  • Key periods of time when the business is busy and holidays cannot be booked
  • A set length to which holidays are limited to, unless exceptional circumstances deem otherwise
  • Whether or not holidays can be carried over, and if so is there a limit to how many

2. Share Staff Schedules

If there is a set holiday schedule that everyone in the company has access to, then employees will be able to make an informed decision when booking their annual leave.

A shared staff schedule will empower employees to take responsibility for avoiding any holiday clashes with colleagues and can plan their leave accordingly.

3. Rotate Popular Holidays

For major holiday periods such as Christmas and New Year, the first come first served method might not be the fairest way to allocate employees time off.

To combat periods when it is likely that all employees would like to be off, consider rotating who gets to be off each year.

If there is a conflict and your employees work shifts, why not think about offering one employee to work the morning and the other work the afternoon shift.

4. Plan Cover

If you have a business that operates during key holidays, or you are aware your employees will be away during a busy month, consider keeping a pool of part-time employees that you can avail of when you need the extra help.

Students offer a lot of benefits to employers as they can work during holidays; it is a good idea to keep in touch with these part-timers so you know their availability in advance.

Alternatively, if your business can not take on students, think about other employees within the team who would be able to cope if the workload was spread amongst them for a temporary period of time.

Also remember to meet with the member of staff going on holiday asking them to leave a detailed handover to you and the other employees responsible for completing their work.

The first day of any new job can be very overwhelming and it is important that as an employer you put your best foot forward for new employees.

Onboarding isn’t just about first impressions, it sets the foundations for your new hires and their ability to perform effectively in their new role.

Here are five ways you can make a new employee feel confident on their first day.

1. Have Everything Ready

Welcome a new employee to the team by ensuring everything is ready for them when they arrive on their first day.

You don’t need to pull out all the stops, but if you have the new employee’s work station prepared with all their necessary tools such as computer, phone, email they will feel appreciated and ready to go.

2. Give Them An Office Tour

There is nothing worse than starting your first day and not knowing where the bathroom is located.

New employees should be shown all the facilities and introduced to colleagues on their first day. Introductions to other work colleagues will allow a new employee to have confidence approaching that person again, and they will be able to understand the company culture better.

Even if your office space is small, by helping your new recruit familiarise themselves with their new surroundings, it will help them feel comfortable and more at ease on their first day.

3. Provide On-The-Job Training

In order for a new employee to feel confident about their role and contribution to the company, on-the-job training should be commence from day one.

It is ok to start small, ensuring you do not overwhelm your new employee, and then you can gradually disclose more information as time progresses.

On-the-job training ultimately ensures you have happier employees, who are more committed to your company and maintain a mind-set of “always learning.”

4. Set Small Tasks

Set your new employee small, manageable tasks when they first arrive to help them get their feet wet and see what type of work they will be doing.

In addition, a small assignment will give a new employee a sense of purpose on their first day; you don’t want them to become bored and lose their focus.

5. Get The Paperwork Done

Planning ahead is key part of the on-boarding process, and ensuring that all the paperwork is complete and out of the way will help new employees be more productive more quickly.

To avoid making a new employee spend the entire morning filling out forms, if you can, try to keep the process quick. Consider using a paperless solution or emailing the employee the forms before their first day so they can familiarise themselves with the paperwork.

Social media is still a relatively new area of culture that a business needs to consider, but there is a growing concern amongst employers about how employees’ social media communications impact the company brand.

With this in mind, take a look at three reasons why it is beneficial for your company to have a social media policy.

1. Protects Company Reputation

A social media policy is designed to protect company reputation; it is a company’s first defence in mitigating risk for both the employer and the employee.

A well-structured policy will help to clearly define what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for an employee to post about a company on their social media channels.

As a general rule, we would advise that employees should not post anything that they wouldn’t put on the front page of a newspaper. Your company’s social media guidelines should emphasise that employees should exhibit a level of professionalism when referring to work on their social channels.

In addition, consider the providing information and advice regarding the following areas:

  • Profile Photos – detail examples of an acceptable profile pictures employees should use on their social channels.
  • Journalist Requests – advise employees about how to respond if they are contacted by a journalist or a member of the press

2. Create Brand Advocates

All too often companies consider social media policies as a list of restrictions for employees. However, a social media policy is an opportunity to educate employees about the proper way to engage with others online and encourage them to use networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter to share company news, effectively boosting brand awareness.

Your social media policy should advise employees on how they should comment on the company’s social channels, blogs and how to drive traffic to the company website.

If done correctly, you can turn your employees into your biggest brand advocates, which will help drive your social media marketing forward and help you achieve key business goals.

3. No Confusion Over Legal Issues

Having a social media policy helps you clearly explain the consequences of deviating from the rules. If an employee does breach the policy, a company will be able to enforce any penalty stated in your guidelines.

This area of a social media policy can also serve as a reminder to employees that there is no guarantee that their privacy settings will keep all their posts private; people can copy and re-send information very easily.