An Open Letter to Managers on Employee Culture
To borrow a bit from the romantic comedy Notting Hill, I am simply an employee, standing in front of her manager, asking for them to appreciate me. Since coming to BTR, I have been amazed at how employees are thriving under strong leadership – our managers truly make us feel valued each and everyday. So when March began with Employee Appreciation Day, I felt it was only fitting to carry on that sentiment all month long. As a wrap-up, I wanted to express my opinions on what makes a strong employee culture – from an employee who has been through the ups and downs of different workplaces throughout the years.
In order to feel valued as an employee, the most important piece of that equation is a strong manager who truly sees you. We can all tell our sob stories of a boss who “just didn’t get us” – and it may sound like just happy hour talk or dinner table venting to our spouse, but at the root of all of those stories is an employee who felt they were locked in a position, with no guidance, no recognition, and no exit. A strong manager will work to provide stability to their employees, and here are just a few ways to accomplish that:
1. Employees Are People Too
Managers who recognize that employees are more than just employees will have teams who produce stronger results. Simply building personal or mental health days into your Employee Handbook is a good start – this allows employees to know that when the going gets tough, they can take a break to get back to normal. Managers can establish an open line of communication between them and employees, or a designated HR staff member, for instances when an employee needs to discuss their stressful situation, or be candid about what they’re going through. Even with the limitations of confidentiality between employer and employee, this can be accomplished and can create a more healthy workplace.
2. Perk Up Morale With Office Perks
Creating a less stressful work environment can also allow for better culture. Events sprinkled throughout the year that are not task-focused really helps bring employees together. Office Olympics, virtual or physical happy hours, catered lunches or office pools for sporting events. These are minor, cost effective activities that allow employees to let their hair down and enjoy each other – and it doesn’t take away from productivity too much. Small office perks like these also show employees that they are valued by the company – even if these events happen sporadically throughout the year.
3. Appreciate Your Employees Year Round
Finally, recognizing an employee’s hard work is vital to keeping employees long-term, and maintaining high morale. Most importantly, recognizing the hard work without a huge accomplishment – the nitty gritty of the job. As an employee, being told that a task I do everyday is being done correctly makes me feel seen, and not just as a cog in the machine. A little bit goes a long way, and feeling as though you matter to the greater good is what makes employees stay longer – which creates a stronger company. Establish a rewards system, or implement a recognition platform for employees and managers to recognize each other. Engage employees in the process and reward them regularly – not just on big projects or in annual reviews.
Take these opinions from an everyday employee how you like – but there is no escaping the need for a strong employee culture. If you’re unsure of how to establish this correctly, do this one, easy thing: ASK your employees. They will tell you what they need in order to succeed – they are simply waiting to be asked.
Emily Fleming is an HR Technology Analyst & on the BTR Project Box Team. She has been working for BTR for just under a year and has experience in Employee Benefits, HR Tech and customer service.