Four Ways to Delight Your Employees

job satisfactionEmployee Satisfaction: 4 Ways to Delight Your Employees

Most of the business owners and managers I work with genuinely want their employees to be happy at work, to have a high level of satisfaction. Why wouldn’t they? (For one thing, happy employees are always far more productive than unhappy employees!). What many business owners and managers don’t know is how to help their employees to be happy – how to ‘delight’ them. Here are four proven, practical ways to delight your employees.

Employee Satisfaction Tip 1. Get clear on your expectations

‘Knowing what’s expected of them’ consistently ranks highly on employee satisfaction surveys. Employees want to know what their manager wants from them – what they have to do in order for their manager to consider then to be a good performer. One way to delight your employee is to have a focused, ‘adult to adult’ conversation in which you both explore and agree what effective performance looks like for their job. Research also tells us that having clear objectives with effective measures can improve performance by over 30% so if you agree your expectations as performance objectives you can expect not only improved satisfaction from your employees but also improved performance.

Employee Satisfaction Tip 2. Help your employees connect their efforts to the mission and purpose of your business

We know from research that employees want to ‘connect their efforts to the mission and purpose of your business’. In short, I guess, they want an answer to the question – ‘why am I doing this?’ A way to delight your employee is to spend time with them exploring the ‘Why’ of their job – why what they do is so important to the business. A simple approach is to take each of the performance objectives you a have agreed and explore how achievement of that objective contributes to your businesses success (or how failing to meet the objective would have a negative consequence to the business). See Helping Employees to Understand the Bigger Picture for on tips on how to do this.

Employee Satisfaction Tip 3. Give feedback and recognition

I guess you won’t be surprised to know that research shows that ‘appreciation for a job well done’ consistently ranks highly as a motivator in employee surveys. You might be more surprised to know that research also shows that most people don’t feel they get enough praise. Putting aside the fact that it’s likely that some survey participants feel they should be praised for turning up every morning, there are probably ways to delight your employees simply by paying closer attention to their performance so that you can find opportunities to praise them. It’s about bringing some focused attention to catching your employees doing things right.

Employee Satisfaction Tip 4. Show care, interest and concern for your employees

We know that showing a high level of interest and concern for our employee results in higher levels of motivation and performance. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to have a conversation specifically about how to maintain or improve their current level of job satisfaction. After all, who wouldn’t feel motivated by having a boss who cares about our satisfaction at work and who is happy to spend the time talking to us about this subject which is so close to our hearts? Having conversations with your employee specifically about their job satisfaction may feel like just one more thing on your ever expanding ‘to do list’. The benefits, though, of spending some good quality, focused time on this issue can be enormous in terms of both employee motivation and in building your relationship with that employee. And here’s the great part. Even if you and the employee cannot come up with a whole range of actions to maintain or improve their job satisfaction, most employees find that the very fact that their boss is interested in their satisfaction and prepared to spend time discussing this with them is highly motivational in itself. It’s a ‘no lose’ situation My post “4 Steps to Improving Employee Satisfaction” outlines this perfectly.

Employee Satisfaction Summary

‘Delighting employees’ doesn’t have to be about salary, bonuses or fast cars (though I’m not saying these don’t help!) Research tells us again and again that what employees want – what delights them – is to be well managed. What much of ‘well managed’ means is clarity, connection, feedback and interest.

Would you like to learn – in just 10 minutes – some new strategies how to improve employee job satisfaction?

job satisfactionThen why not take a look at my Kindle book ‘A step-by-step guide to improving your employee’s job satisfaction (without using salary increases, bonuses or any money at all!’

I highly rate this book. Given its ‘in just 10 minutes’ title I was expecting an aide memoire of stuff I already knew; a stripped down framework against which to check, test and reassess my own approach. It was that to an extent, but the concept of an employee satisfaction criteria exercise (and how to go about one in practical terms) in an environment where money or benefits are not increasing, was new to me after nearly 40 years in big management roles! The book was well worth the cash just for that fresh angle.

You can check it out on Amazon (and try a sample) HERE

12 Responses to Four Ways to Delight Your Employees

  1. […] recently read a great blog entry by UK performance coach Joan Henshaw called 4 Ways to Delight Your Employees where she […]

  2. Peter Prevos says:

    Hi Joan,

    Like to see you use the word ‘delight’, that is thrown around a lot in contemporary marketing discourse, in a staff context. There is a clear causal link between happy staff and happy customers, so making your staff happy is good for the bottom line:

  3. joanhenshaw says:

    Hi Peter
    Thanks! Totally agree and think your blog post is excellent
    Best wishes

  4. […] people effectively they are happier at work     We could use more happiness at work read more […]

  5. Valerie Iravani says:

    Hello Peter,

    It is interesting to me as an employee that few managers know how to manage their direct reports effectively – especially creative and smart ones. We, as people, have so much experience, education and interests, that we are usually far more valuable to an employer than they might realize.

    The only way to truly engage an employee is to TALK to them and ask them about their expectations and interests, and then to ask again at regular intervals. Then provide them feedback on their performance in relation to the manager’s expectations and interests.

    The biggest problem I, and my best direct reports, have is boredom. We quickly learn our tasks, then do them long enough to become experts and perform well, only to hit the ‘wall’ of ‘what now?’ If that wall is not recognized by both employee and manager, that’s when the trouble starts – lack of interest, lower performance, dissatisfaction.

    Only when a manager believes that employees are valuable enough take their time in non-judgmental curiosity and observation will he/she be aware of the ‘wall’. This awareness enables the manager to take action with the employee prior to performance issues occurring.

    So managers repeat after me:
    I am intensely interested in my team’s and my own success.
    I value each individual who reports to me for their experience, education and interests.
    I can suspend judgment when holding regular, scheduled, face-to-face meeting with each team member to give and receive honest and open feedback.
    I will not be afraid to let each employee know if I believe they can provide more value to the success of the team and the company.
    If an employee is no longer a ‘fit’ for either the position or company culture, I will assist that employee to make the decision to find new opportunities in a respectful and supportive manner.
    I will search out the support I need from my own manager, HR representative or peers to be an ever more effective manager.

    My challenge to you – go be a great manager who can create very effective, and relatively satisfied teams, and role model the behaviors for other managers!

  6. joanhenshaw says:

    Hello Valerie
    Thank you for your contribution. You make some excellent points. I specifically like the ‘managers repeat after me’ list where you provide some invaluable insights to what you, as an employee, want and expect from a manager.
    I do think many managers meet your criteria e.g they are intensely interested…, they do value each individual etc but sometimes the challenge is for them to clearly demonstrate that interest and value etc which is what most of my articles on this blog are about!
    Again, many thanks
    Best wishes

  7. […] bigger’   It’s not so difficult for managers to meet these needs. In my blog ‘Four ways to delight your employees’  I talk about; the importance of clarity of expectations, helping employees connect their […]

  8. joanhenshaw says:

    Hi Neville,
    Many thanks for your comments. I totally agree with your points about the challenges managers face and the ‘cultural piece’. My view is a good place to start the ‘best practice’ is to get clear with managers on what’s expected of them with regard to managing and motivating staff. In my ‘performance objecitves now’ blog I’ve written a posting ‘5 Performance Objectives for Managers’ -you can see it here . My (albeit simple!) thinking is, if we agree these types of performance objectives with managers and, of course, then manage their performance against these objectives, then we’re more than half way there on bringing a ‘motivating people culture’
    What do you think?

    Best wishes

  9. Hi Joan,

    4 excellent tips here for motivating employees. The word delight is a little strong for me, but even so, if through these 4 steps you can get employees to feel good about themselves and their work then you’ve done a great job. From my experience, managers knowing this is one thing, the big challenge is them being able to do it. Manager’s own competence levels, the challenges that higher management pose and the pressures of the workplace often get in the way of managers effectively motivating their people. This is where training, coaching and even consultancy can help out. Organisations which foster a culture which cares and looks after its people is key, and building that culture can often require strategy and intervention. This article has some great tips which may need supporting by a larger cultural piece of work to embed this best practice in to an organisation.

    -Neville Beardsmore

  10. Hi Joan! LOVED this post. It’s so hard managing employees, isn’t it? Well with all of us being so different. I’m so happy that conversations like this are taking place though, and that people are concerned with.. people!

    These are great steps – step 3 particularly resonates with me. I work with a company called WorkSimple. They’ve created a social platform for feedback and recognition at work. It really eases the pain of all of this. Workers interact much in the same way as Facebook – with the ability to see what each other are working on and giving feedback on a daily basis. It’s really helping to build a culture of recognition where employees are noticed for everything they do!

    But you are SO right – the modern worker does not need a huge salary and crazy amazing benefits. They are more interested in making an impact and changing the world and they can’t do that without these “basic” things in place – feedback, recognition, satisfaction.

  11. joanhenshaw says:

    Hi Jocelyn

    Thanks for the comments. I’m all for any system that helps employees gain more feedback, recognition and satisfaction!

    Best wishes


  12. […] see my blog posts ‘Employees don’t actually like being managed, do they?’ and ‘Four ways to delight your employees’)  […]

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