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How to Treat Your Employees: The Ultimate Guide

How to Treat Your Employees: The Ultimate Guide

A prosperous business relies on contented employees. It’s that simple.

Consider this: if your team is unhappy and lacks motivation, how can you anticipate excellent work or satisfied clients? Conversely, when people feel valued and respected at work, they will do extra for the company, be retained longer, always give their best effort, and serve customers excellently.

Therefore, ensuring you treat your staff well should become priority number one if you aim to establish a kick-ass firm. This kind of investment yields increased productivity, leading to higher revenues through low turnover rates among employees driven by appreciation from their employers. 

Isn’t it amazing? Now, let us look at some tips on how to treat employees to make them feel appreciated and motivated to succeed individually and collectively with the organisation’s goals.

Foster a Positive Culture

Strong Company Culture

The foundation of a business is its culture — it determines how people feel when they come to work every day. Do they walk into an office buzzing with energy and camaraderie? Or does it resemble Eeyore’s gloomy meadow?

Encourage Open Communication

What kind of vibe are you trying to create? Ideally, one where feedback is freely given and constructively received. Operate an open-door policy and take on board — listen to — your team’s ideas, worries and suggestions; people thrive when they feel heard.

Acknowledge Achievements

We humans love feeling appreciated! So put a system that recognises successes, whether an employee of the month award, public shout-outs or little perks like gift cards. It doesn’t have to be much – a heartfelt “well done” can make someone’s day.

Support Work-Life Balance

Nobody wants to turn into a burnt-out robot. Allow flexibility whenever possible with remote working options and generous PTO allowances; the laundry can wait, but recharging is essential for peak performance.

Foster Rapport

See your staff as human beings rather than worker bees. Find out about their hobbies, swap anecdotes, celebrate birthdays and milestones; strong relationships built on mutual respect grease the wheels of any collaboration.

Enjoy Yourself!

Who says it has to be all work and no play? Throw office parties, go on team outings, crack jokes during meetings – whatever it takes for everyone to enjoy being there; having fun at work keeps people motivated and creative.

Invest in Growth

Feeling stagnant is the pits. Give your top performers a path to advancement by prioritising employee development.

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Training Opportunities

Offer continued training, whether bringing in experts, paying for courses/certifications, or sending employees to conferences. Learning new skills re-energises people and primes them for more prominent roles.

Set Clear Expectations

Spell out responsibilities and goals so everyone's on the same page. Provide regular feedback and coaching. With well-defined expectations, employees know how to improve and advance.

Promote From Within

There's nothing more motivating than seeing growth potential at your company. Rather than always looking outside, give current staff first dibs on new positions or promotions when qualified.

Offer Mentoring

Pairing seasoned pros with junior team members facilitates knowledge sharing. Mentors get leadership experience while mentees gain career guidance – win-win!

Compensate Fairly

Money may not buy happiness, but getting appropriately paid sure helps! Stay competitive by researching salary ranges for each role.

Benchmark Compensation

Talk to recruiters, check pay studies, and survey competitors so you know the going rates for talent in your field and area. Adjust compensation accordingly so you're not underpaying.

Tie Pay to Performance

Base salaries on job duties, experience levels, and, most importantly – consistent job performance. Top contributors deserve higher pay in line with the value they bring.

Offer Bonuses and Profit Sharing

These incentives motivate hustle! Tie bonuses to specific goals and metrics. If employees help grow profits or revenue, shower them with a slice of that sweet pie.

Provide Awesome Benefits

Sure, salary is crucial. But excellent benefits sweeten the deal:

  • Competitive health/dental/vision insurance
  • Retirement savings plans
  • Ample paid time off
  • Wellness perks like gym memberships
  • Professional development funds

The bottom line? Pay your people what they're worth through total compensation packages. Pinching pennies leads to high turnover and weak talent.

Design an Exceptional Workplace

Mandatory Office Meetings

Where people spend most of their waking hours hugely impacts morale and productivity. Make your office a place employees genuinely want to be.

Prioritise Functionality

The basics like ample workspace, ergonomic furniture, proper lighting and climate control seem minor, but they count. Don't let your team suffer in cramped, freezing, or dimly lit misery.

Think Creatively

Drab and soul-crushing? No thanks. Infuse personality into the design with incredible artwork, fun, collaborative areas, game rooms or outdoor spaces. A well-designed office boosts energy and creative flow.

Provide the Right Tools

Give your team whatever tech, software, and equipment they need to do their jobs efficiently. Few things kill motivation, like outdated, glitchy tools that slow productivity to a crawl.

Location Matters

Is your office easily accessible with parking or public transit? If not, consider relocating or allowing remote/hybrid options. Killer commutes suck the life out of employees before they even arrive.

Stay Clean and Safe

Construct a space that's well-maintained and secure. Filth, clutter, and safety hazards simply can't be tolerated if you want people to feel comfortable and focused at work.

Encourage Wellness

Investing in your employees' well-being pays dividends through increased engagement, reduced burnout and healthcare costs.

Promote Work-Life Balance

Overworked, stressed employees get sick, make mistakes, and eventually burn out. Encourage using vacation time, unplugging after hours, and letting people leave early for kid activities.

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Offer Health Programs

Give incentives like gym discounts, wearable fitness trackers, healthy office snacks and beverages. Even hosting group exercise, nutrition seminars or mindfulness sessions helps cultivate healthy habits.

Prioritise Mental Health

Make sure your insurance covers solid mental healthcare. Provide an employee assistance program with counselling resources—Normalise discussions around emotional well-being to reduce stigma.

Prevent Burnout

Watch for excessive overtime and high-stress scenarios that lead to disengagement and turnover. Regularly check in with employees and adjust as needed to ensure sustainable workloads.

Be Flexible

Accommodate personal needs like time off for family emergencies, appointments, or simply recharging when folks feel overloaded. Humans have lives outside these walls!

Be an Awesome Leader

Traits Of Collaborative Leadership

It begins at the peak. The culture and norms of the whole organisation are influenced by what you do and want.

Practice What You Preach

Do not just talk about taking breaks or valuing personal time; show it through your actions. Midnight emails would be considered normal if that is all that you send so frequently. Be a role model for others by leading with positive behaviour.

Articulate the Vision

Elaborate on the company’s mission, values, and vision so employees understand why they must grind daily. Work becomes more motivational when it is purposeful and matches peoples’ beliefs.

Persons not Resources

Your workers don’t consist of mere cogs in a machine, nor do they appear as lines on budget sheets. They are complete human beings with emotions and live within contexts different from one another’s. Understand who these people are and what motivates them individually.

Delegate Authority

Nobody wishes to be micromanaged like some child. Hire skilled individuals; provide necessary training or tools required; define expectations clearly… After doing all this, step aside and allow for independent thinking as long as those targets are met creatively.

Seek Input

Never make decisions affecting your employees singlehandedly without consulting them first. Good leaders understand that successful strategies must be formed by working with people closest to where such actions will occur.

Celebrate Successes

Work can't just be a daily grind. It would be best to take a breather, look back at what's been accomplished, and thoroughly enjoy those wins as a team.

Have Fun With It

Sure, crushing revenue targets or shipping a massive project deserves a rager of an office party! But also find little reasons to celebrate each week – first client meeting, new hire joining, finishing a tedious task.

Shout it From the Rooftops.

Don't just give kudos behind closed doors. Ring all the bells and shout those success stories from the rooftops! Public recognition amplifies that feel-good energy, whether it's a company-wide email, social media post, or meeting shout-out.

Give Kudos to the Team

While highlighting individual stars, praise the collective team effort, too. It reinforces that every role matters in achieving those big wins.

Mark the Milestones

Are you launching a new product? Are you hitting insane sales targets? Landing that whale client? Go all out with parties, awards ceremonies, swag or whatever gets your team jazzed up. Those are huge milestones worth commemorating.

Show Gratitude

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A simple “thank you” goes an incredibly long way. Get in the habit of expressing sincere gratitude when employees go above and beyond. Those two words can genuinely make someone's day.

Get Employee Input

Employee Feedback Suggestion Box

The old-school top-down management approach is dead. Modern leaders know to seek out employee perspectives for a couple of big reasons actively:

  1. Your frontline staff often spots issues and opportunities long before leadership.
  2. People are way more bought into decisions when they have a voice.

Conduct Surveys

Regularly poll your workforce through anonymous surveys on everything from job satisfaction to policy feedback to ideas for improvement. Just make sure actually to review and take action on those insights!

Host Listening Sessions

Bring small groups together for casual chat sessions where you can hear candid thoughts and discuss solutions in an open forum. Or go desk to desk for informal check-ins.

Diversify Your Perspectives

Don't just listen to the usual voices – seek out differing viewpoints across levels, demographics, tenures, etc. A variety of perspectives leads to more robust ideas.

Close the Loop

Whenever you gather employee feedback, share what you heard and explain how you address those issues or implement suggestions. People want to see their input matters.

Handling Conflicts & Tough Situations

Even in the healthiest workplaces, conflicts and challenges occasionally crop up. How you navigate them as a leader is pivotal for preserving trust and team cohesion.

Consistent Policies

Have clearly defined processes for misconduct allegations, grievances, promotions, terminations, etc. Applying policies consistently and ethically avoids the perception of unfair treatment.

Investigate Thoroughly

When complaints or disputes arise, don't take things at face value. Look at the evidence, get both sides of the story, and check your biases. A thorough investigation protects everyone's rights.

Maintain Confidentiality

Showing discretion and protecting privacy is critical when sensitive employee matters arise. Gossip and rumour-spreading erode trust rapidly.

Focus on Resolution

Your goal should be understanding the root issue and mediating an amenable resolution – not taking sides or doling out punishments. Open communication prevents small fires from raging out of control.

Retain Compassion

Even when employees mess up, approach things with empathy. Unless there's irredeemable negligence or malice, consider mitigating factors and focus on learning experiences over harsh consequences.

Appreciate This Moment

As a leader, how you treat your employees today builds their perception – and your company's reputation – for years to come. Keep that in mind with every decision impacting your workforce.

Have patience, listen intently, and recognise that creating an exceptional employee experience is a constant process. It takes sincerity, open-mindedness and vigilance to foster a culture where people feel genuinely valued.

But when you get it, right? You'll inspire deep loyalty, contagious motivation, and well-developed creativity that propels your business to incredible heights. Those are investments worth making in your biggest asset – your people.

How to Treat Your Employees FAQs

How can I motivate employees without raising salaries?

While fair compensation matters, there are plenty of affordable ways to motivate beyond pay:
Recognise achievements publicly
Offer growth opportunities like training
Design a fun, functional workspace
Prioritise work-life balance and flexibility
Communicate the company vision clearly

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How do you build trust with employees?

Trust is built through consistent words and actions. Always follow through on your commitments, apply policies fairly, maintain confidentiality when warranted, and be transparent about company decisions impacting employees.

What's more critical – results or employee happiness?

The two aren't mutually exclusive – valued employees produce better results. Foster an environment of respect, work-life balance, growth opportunities, and engagement and output soar.

How can I prevent conflicts between employees?

Establish clear policies and communication channels. Encourage open dialogue to hash out disagreements early. Lead by example in treating others with professionalism and empathy. And take all complaints seriously to resolve issues swiftly.

Do I need to be friends with my employees?

Not at all! That can complicate matters. Strive for mutual understanding and respect, but preserve boundaries around your leadership role. Being too friendly can undermine your authority.

What if there are underperformers I need to let go?

Even terminations should be handled with compassion and care. Thoroughly document all efforts to improve performance through coaching and progressive discipline. When termination is warranted, explain it clearly while allowing the person dignity.

Is micromanaging ever acceptable?

Generally, no one resents being micromanaged, which hinders autonomy. Some exceptions include onboarding new hires or supervising high-risk activities closely for compliance reasons. But default to providing guidance, not directives.

How important is employee development?

Incredibly important! People want to grow, not feel stagnant. Investing in career pathing, training and promoting from within shows you're committed to employees' long-term success. It's a powerful retention tool.

What's the ideal employee-to-manager ratio?

There's no universal ideal, as it depends on the work, employees' experience levels, management philosophies, etc. Generally, 6-10 direct reports per manager allow for sufficient mentorship. But adjust as needed for your situation.

How can I make the workplace more inclusive?

Foster psychological safety by modelling respectful behaviour, calling out biases, and ensuring all voices are heard. Offer training, celebrate diversity, and examine policies/norms that could negatively impact specific groups. True inclusion empowers everyone to be themselves proudly.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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