The end of the year is upon us, and for business owners, this means finding a way to show your staff how much you appreciate all their hard work throughout the year.
Should you gift them with a bonus, throw a lavish holiday party or give them extra time off? Maybe all three? While those are all much appreciated, you have an opportunity here to build on those perks and engender long-term retention and employee happiness. But that might mean changing the way you do things.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
At TINYpulse, we’ve spent the past year collecting and analyzing more than 40,000 anonymous employee surveys from over 300 companies worldwide. From the questions we pulse on a weekly basis, we’ve uncovered the top factor that correlates with employee happiness.
It seems that if you want to give your employees a gift that makes them happier, you need to provide greater management transparency. The surveys show that the transparency of management correlates more highly with employee happiness (0.94 correlation coefficient) than any other factor in our surveys, including company culture, an employee's direct supervisor or relationships with co-workers.
Fortunately for business owners, management transparency is something that executives control, and it costs nothing except for the time and commitment from leadership to deliver, share and respond. For example, management transparency can include sharing financial and performance data—and explaining what it really means—or simply responding to anonymous suggestions in a thoughtful and timely manner.
At the end of the day, what employees really want is two-way communication between management and staff rather than just the annual employee survey or occasional team meetings. Executives need a constant pulse on how the team is doing. With this approach, leadership can identify blind spots before they become cancerous.
As Clear As ... Mud?
As you can imagine, most CEOs think they're much more transparent than what their employees think. For example, Ben Jesson, CEO of Conversion Rate Experts, a consulting firm that optimizes the profitability of online businesses, discovered through surveying his employees weekly that they didn’t think their organization was as transparent as he and other members of management thought it was.
Rather than fighting the feedback, however, Jesson embraced it. He followed up by sending an “Ask us anything” email to each of his employees and told them that he’d address each anonymous response, even if the questions were sensitive in nature. At the next company offsite meeting, Jesson read and responded to every single submission, even touchy ones related to compensation.
As a result, Jesson received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from his team about leadership’s commitment to transparency. Building on that momentum, Conversion Rate Experts took the rare step to publicly display its survey results. This served as further proof to the team about leadership’s dedication to transparency; it now serves as a great recruiting tool, too.
Rewarding your employees this holiday season doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant. Instead, begin providing them with real transparency and the opportunity to have genuine two-way communication with management, and you'll reap the rewards and benefits of happier employees year-round.
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