In a world of sophisticated software and automated everything, it’s easy to see why concern for human resources has taken a backseat. This is especially the case with startups – where payroll is often a dirty word and every method of reducing expenses is exploited to the maximum. However, so long as human capital remains a critical component of operations (when no machine or software in the foreseeable future will be able to replicate the work), it’s imperative for enterprise big and small to take care of staff as best as possible.
Encouraging staff to be healthy and happy is not only ethical, these gestures lead to increased productivity. Even the shrewdest of startup leaders can agree it’s worth the investment, especially early on when the momentum counts the most.
Here are six ways to effectively keep staff healthy, happy, and ultimately productive:
Use an HCM tool
Business leader instincts only go so far, and nobody can be watching over everyone at once. Yet understanding where to adjust working conditions for staff starts with getting an overall grasp of existing productivity levels. Efficiently measuring productivity requires a human capital management platform like Asure Software, which serves a variety of other purposes as well. Coupled with observations, HCM allows startup leaders to connect the dots between work performance and the factors contributing to its fluctuation.
We like to think our employees are passionate about the company to the point of going the extra mile without incentive, but the honest truth is people will work harder if there are tangible rewards at stake. Hitting the right numbers leading to Friday lunch on the company dime, or similar perks relative to productivity are sure ways to motivate staff to work more diligently. Raises are of course the surefire way to motivate workers to go the extra mile, but rarely are startups capable of offering anything substantial, in which case the little things like lunch really make a big difference with relatively small expense.
Paint the walls
The work environment itself has a lot to do with affecting the mood levels and emotions of staff. Certain paint colors on the walls are associated with increased happiness levels, though why stop there? Proper lighting and the arrangement of furniture and work space are also likely to sway the happiness of staff one way or another. Ultimately this has an impact on productivity levels.
Perhaps more than visuals, smells in the workplace can have a sizable impact on staff. Simply put, a foul smelling work environment doesn’t encourage more than the bare minimum. While the knee-jerk reaction may be to spread air fresheners around the office, these supposedly pleasant aromas may themselves become undesirable with time. The goal ought to be a neutral smelling work environment to keep employees happy and therefore more likely to stay focused on the job.
Encourage nutritious eating and regular exercise
Many startup leaders feel like the diet and physical fitness of their employees is none of their business. To some degree, this is right – people don’t often respond well to others meddling in their bad habits – but it’s wrong to think the health of staff is a non-issue. Health is directly tied to productivity. Provide a lunch break long enough for employees to get a decent meal instead of settling for fast snacks. Get in touch with a nearby gym to arrange discounts for membership among staff. It may be just the thing to help workers stay healthy and therefore work better.
Back off after hours
Demanding staff to perform after hours on a regular basis while simultaneously offering low-cost gym memberships is a bit cruel. In short, respect the off hours of your workers. This allows them to both relax and recuperate from a day’s work, but grants them the opportunity to better their health if they so wish. Most experienced managers will agree: you get more out of a happy worker in eight hours than you ever could from an overworked employee in 12.
Startups need staff to do as much work as possible to maintain momentum. However, too often startup leaders decide to put staff health and happiness on the back burner. These two factors cannot coexist. In order to have productive employees, bosses have to help maintain a positive attitude and encourage good health. Otherwise, the source of reduced productivity is not staff, but upper management.