Silicon Valley is well known for lavish employee perks—free gourmet lunches, expanded maternity and paternity leave, on-site massages and even rock climbing walls.
But being a good employer means more than just offering free food, 401Ks, and competitive salaries. It means creating a culture where employees feel valued and invested in helping your business succeed. When you strive to be a good employer, you reduce employee stress and improve your business, as well as its long term profitability.
Here are 6 characteristics of good employers:
1. They're open and honest communicators.
Great employers let their employees know what's going on with the business. They explain the business's mission and its short and long term goals. And they regularly let employees know how the business is doing. This makes employees feel trusted and secure and helps them identify with the company's mission and values.
2. They're flexible.
Lay down a bunch of hard and fast rules with no explanations and you won't win any points with your employees, who are more likely than ever to want to work from home or keep hours that aren't strictly 9 to 5. Many are seeking some kind of work-life balance as they juggle careers and families. In fact, 20 percent of employees say that juggling work with personal lives is the most stressful part of their job.
A good employer is open to alternative arrangements, such as working at home part time, so long as the employee gets his or her job done. This sends a message that you want your employees to lead well-rounded lives and that you trust them to do their work, even when you're not watching.
3. They're dedicated team builders.
An employer who cares deeply about the company and its mission can inspire employees to feel the same way, making the workplace more pleasant for everyone. Beyond that, great employers view their employees as important team members who must all work together to help the company thrive. They create a culture in which employees are proud of the company and want it to succeed.
4. They give feedback.
Younger employees, in particular, want their employer to give them feedback so they can do their job better and grow professionally. A good employer tells employees when they're doing a good job, but also regularly gives them advice on how they can improve. And advice is framed in a positive way, not as a criticism.
5. They know how to listen.
Great employers know they don't have all the answers, so they welcome ideas and insights from employees about how to make the company even better. They listen to employee complaints and offer well thought out, empathetic and genuine responses. Listening and responding to feedback is one of the top ways that employers can make their workers feel empowered.
6. They foster a great employee experience.
Google has free gourmet cafes and sleep pods for its employees. You don't have to go that far to be a good employer, but you do need to provide employees with the right tools and environment. That could mean anything from an espresso machine in the break room to a special mentorship program to more ergonomic desk chairs. Find out what your employees want and need and do your best to offer it.
Being a good employer takes work, but it pays off in the form of higher morale, lower turnover and increased productivity. And instead of ordinary employees, you'll have dedicated team members who will go above and beyond to help your business succeed.