Your team members are often interacting with your customers, and their own satisfaction and passion for their work always shows through. So keeping your team members happy is just as important as delivering on your promise to your customers.
At Ontraport, for example, our Operations and Leadership teams view each employee as one of their customers. Whether team members are relatively new to the company or have called Ontraport home for a long time, we’re always thinking about how we can keep them happy and engaged, challenged but not overworked, and equipped with everything they need to succeed. Just like customers, we’ve found that happy employees will usually stick around for a long time, stay engaged in their work, and be more likely to refer us to their friends.
Sara Hetyonk, Ontraport’s VP of People Operations, says, “Good employers care about their team members as people. They realize employees represent the company’s mission and provide them with the tools they need to be successful in their role.”
There are several ways businesses of any size can address their employees’ needs and let them know how valuable they are to their operation. Here are four simple ways to increase employee satisfaction in your own business:
1. Providing employee benefits
Salary isn’t the only thing employees are looking at when they’re considering job offers. In fact, many employees are just as interested in the benefits offered, the company’s culture, and opportunities for career growth. In one study, participants reported they’re twice as likely to value those factors over a hefty salary when choosing a job. Three out of five employees even said they’d take a 50% pay cut for a role they really love.
Regardless of the size of a business, there are a lot of creative ways to make employees feel appreciated that cost companies nothing yet make a big difference for their employees.
“Providing an amazing benefits package costs a lot of money,” Sara says. “One of the concerns business owners may face is not having the resources to dedicate to covering health insurance or providing meals. Before being discouraged about what you can’t provide, it is important to consider what you can provide. And small gestures go a long way.”
Here are some examples of unique benefits Ontraport offers that you can consider applying in your business to increase employee happiness:
Flexible PTO: Taking time off is essential for team members to take care of their mental health, enjoy their hobbies and relationships, handle personal responsibilities and more so they can come back feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to hit the ground running again. Since we don’t limit the number of PTO days available, employees don’t feel pressured to avoid taking days off and actually end up being more responsible about how many days they miss.
Volunteer days: If there’s a cause that one of our employees is passionate about, we care about it, too. Everyone on the Ontraport team gets two paid volunteer days per year that they can use to give back to the community.
Focus days: Another simple perk companies can offer is a work-from-home day. Since adjusting to the pandemic, working remotely is already the norm for so many of us; however, setting aside one day every so often for employees to unplug from work chats and meetings to focus on a specific project can help reinvigorate their passion and avoid burnout.
Tuition reimbursement: Investing in your team members’ personal and professional development pays dividends in their work. At Ontraport, we provide $1,500 in tuition reimbursement per year that employees can use for classes, books, workshops and more, whether related to their job or not.
Catered meal program: The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach…right? Whether that’s true or not, we ensure our employees are well-nourished through our on-site cafe, which provides breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. While it might not be realistic for every company to offer this perk, offering catered lunch to employees once a month or celebrating team members’ work anniversaries with a paid meal can make them feel appreciated.
Pet insurance: Consider offering employees who have furry members in their families the opportunity to sign up for pet insurance through your company. While Ontraport employees still pay out of pocket for pet insurance, they are eligible for a group discount, which helps them save money.
Fitness discounts: When our employees feel good physically and mentally, they’re better positioned to be rock stars at their jobs. Reach out to a local gym or studio and you’ll likely find that they’re willing to offer a group discount that you can extend to your employees, which they’re sure to appreciate.
Half-day Fridays: This is a free benefit that can encourage your employees to strike a better work-life balance. At Ontraport, we work an hour longer each day Monday through Thursday so we can leave the office by early afternoon every Friday. We end up working the typical 40-hour work week, but we spread it out differently.
Health and wellness reimbursements: Everyone has their own way of managing their physical and mental health. To give each employee the resources they need, we offer flexible reimbursements for their health-related purchases. Everyone on the Ontraport team gets an annual stipend to put toward home office equipment, mental health support, family planning costs, and even wellness purchases like camping fees and workout gear. Even if you have limited resources, a little bit of support can go a long way in encouraging work-life balance.
2. Following a set of shared values
As our business grew, our leaders Landon Ray and Lena Requist wanted to ensure Ontraport didn’t lose sight of all the principles that our one-of-a-kind company culture was built on. Over time, they found that there were nine main values that contributed to making each Ontraport employee a good fit with the company.
To keep these values top of mind, we regularly acknowledge team members during our weekly company-wide meetings if they’ve been an outstanding example of one or more of our values. We also hold an annual awards event to recognize those who have exemplified each of the company values through their work, attitude and contributions to Ontraport. Our aim is for our employees to be inspired by their colleagues and see that the work they do truly matters.
To come up with your own set of company values, consider what characteristics are most important to you when hiring employees and what qualities you’ve found in successful employees. Then simply document them and work them into your hiring and recognition processes.
3. Keeping the team connected
Some companies take pride in being a tight-knit group — it’s often what makes their employees stay around for years.
Maintaining a warm and friendly company culture has always been a priority at Ontraport, and we believe this plays a key role in why our team meshes so well. Our Operations team supports our culture through fun and engaging events. With morale-boosting team-building days, annual summer soirees and holiday parties, virtual baby showers, birthday and work anniversary celebrations, we are often celebrating and getting the team together.
Keeping the close-knit vibe can be tough in the midst of all the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and remote work. But even if miles separate you and your employees, it’s important to make sure your team is well cared for. To keep our employees engaged (even virtually), our teams have Zoom happy hours, participate in virtual yoga classes, and regularly share in Slack channels about recipes to try, music recommendations, photos of pets and more.
As our office reopens and our team shifts to a new hybrid work environment, we’ve also kicked off biannual week-long company retreats at our Santa Barbara headquarters. With the whole team on-site for a week, we’re able to touch base on company goals, meet remote teammates in person, catch up over happy hours and more.
“Feeling connected and engaged is essential in making sure employees feel fulfilled,” Sara says.
4. Holding each other accountable
One of the most important things business leaders can do to increase employee happiness is create a space for open communication and feedback. The office is not simply a place where work gets done; employees should know that they’re supported and cared for. When people know that their employers have their back, they’re more likely to thrive and be engaged in the workplace.
By giving team members the opportunity to share any issues or roadblocks they may be facing, making leadership accessible, and being receptive to feedback (as well as being willing to make changes based on said feedback), companies make it clear that they prioritize what their employees need to be successful. With a survey automation tool, you can touch base with your team without adding to your workload. It’s well worth your while to make sure they’re getting what they need.
Even through the ups and downs of the pandemic, our company’s commitment to transparency and accountability hasn’t changed. Everyone at Ontraport is asked to participate in regular reviews and weekly check-ins with managers, fill out weekly surveys about their work experiences and send questions and comments (anonymously, if desired) to our CEO, Landon Ray, to address in our all-hands meetings.
“Sending a survey with benefit options or even a survey to find out what is going well or not well in an employee’s role can illuminate needs you might not have thought of,” Sara adds. “Listen if someone is having a tough time, and ask what you can do.”
Overall, engaged, motivated, happy employees will usually work to prove they want to be there and want to see the company excel. This enthusiasm, in turn, will often reflect in their customer interactions and contributions to the company.