Keeping your employees happy is always going to be one of the most important things you can focus on in your business. No matter what your business is or what it does, if you don’t have happy employees then you cannot be sure that you are doing things right - nor that you are going to have a bright future for your business, either. A big part of ensuring that you keep your employees happy is knowing how to deal with their complaints - and there are always going to be some complaints, no matter what you do, so you need to be prepared for them. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most common employee complaints that every manager is likely to hear at some point, and what you can do about each one specifically.
Everyone wants to be paid fairly, and if someone feels that they are not getting the proper remuneration for their work, then they are not going to be happy with their employer. The trouble here is that you and they might have differing ideas about what counts as fair, and they might even have asked for more a few times in quick succession. If you are keen to keep them happy, but you still want to look after the finances in your business, then you need to find a good balance here.
It’s good to first ensure that you are paying your employees a fair amount as a starting salary. Then you should of course ensure that you give them a raise each year, at least in line with the rise in inflation. If you don’t, you are effectively not giving them a raise at all, which is hardly fair if they have been working for you all that time. Beyond that, you should deal with each case as it comes. If someone is truly an asset to your company, you should want to keep them on board and approve their request for a raise, as long as it is not extortionate. It’s all about finding a balance that you can both be happy with.
The nature of a workplace is that there are always going to be a range of personality types all working together, and inevitably that means you are going to find some upset when it comes to the relationships between people. No matter what you do, this is something that is going to crop up every now and then, and you just have to try and be prepared for it as well as you can. The best thing you can do is to ensure you have a decent HR team on board, including a counsellor or mediator, or at least someone who is capable of taking on that role as fully as possible when the need arises. That way, these interpersonal challenges are always going to be met in the right way, and you can ensure that you are keeping your employees happy in each other’s presence.
Most people want to know that they have a chance of getting further in their career if they stay working in their current company. You need to therefore ensure that you are providing all of your employees with the opportunities they need to grow in this way, and you should make it clear that if you work hard, you are more likely to be able to get ahead. If there are no opportunities for advancement in your business, then you are going to find that people are much less likely to put as much effort into their work day by day. This is actually one of the most important things of all. You can’t constantly be promoting people, of course, as that would require that you have endless high-up positions to promote people to, but you can ensure that those who do well are the first to be approached when such a position opens up.
Over time, people will see that this really is the kind of company where hard work pays off. That will suit you down to the ground too, as it means that you are going to have a much more dedicated workforce, and that you are going to get a lot more done. You will also have a happier, more motivated employee base, which makes everyone a lot happier in their job day by day.
You also need to think about the conditions that you are asking your employees to work in. many of the most common complaints have to do with this, and whether or not the workplace is a suitable or even salubrious place to work. One of the most common complaints of this kind is that the lighting is poor. With poor lighting, you are going to find that your employees are more likely to suffer with headaches, eye problems, and difficulty concentrating. The level of stress will increase, and everyone will find it harder to work as they should to their highest capacity. It is also a distinct immediate health and safety risk, as the visibility will be low, especially for anyone working in the evenings in the winter, for example.
If you notice that you have started receiving regular complaints about the lighting, make sure that you get it checked out as soon as possible. Leaving it alone could cause accidents or lead to a severely disgruntled workforce. One of the first steps is to have a professional lighting team come and do a survey of your lighting, so that you can discover where the potential problem areas are. You can learn more about having a lighting survey carried out in your office beforehand, so you know what to expect. After that, you should be able to see what needs changing, and you will be able to make those changes and thereby improve the working conditions greatly for your employees.
Most people would agree that it is important to have a good deal of personal workspace to be working with. Without a good amount of workspace, it is so much easier to get stressed, and so much more difficult to work in the way that you would find to be useful and conducive. This is something that is generally quite hard to get right, as you are going to want to make use of the space that you have in your office, but you also want to ensure that your employees do not feel like they are all caged together in a pen. Of course, at the moment, with social distancing rules in place in most areas, this is something that most employers are being forced to do anyway, and it looks perfectly possible that this might continue on for a number of years. For that reason, it is something that you might want to think about in terms of prioritising and privileging space for each person, rather than trying to get as many people in there as possible. It will certainly mean a higher morale for all of your workforce.
Most workplaces are not going to be at their best when they are too noisy. There are differences, of course, and some are inevitably noisy. But to take the example of a standard, average office, you don’t really want there to be any noise at all if you can help it, beside a little chit-chat here and there and the hum of the machines. But if it becomes too noisy, you will hear about it: people will be sure to complain to you that they are unable to concentrate. In dealing with this particular problem, it might be enough to simply have a rule in place about keeping the volume down as much as possible, or you might need to make a point repeatedly. It could merely be that people are being noisy because they feel socially isolated in the workplace, which means that you need to work on providing a better break area and allowing more conversation between people in general. There is no point in trying to stop people socializing at work - it’s important, healthy, and it makes work more enjoyable for everyone, yourself included. But find the balance.
Of the complaints that employees are likely to make about you, their manager, this is one of the most common that you will come across. Many people feel as though their managers are not communicative enough, or that they are left in the dark and don’t really know what is expected of them. If this happens, it means that nobody knows what they are doing, and the whole operation runs the risk of falling apart. You need to ensure that you are engaging with your staff regularly, clearly and in a human-to-human manner. That way, you can get so much more out of them, while also ensuring that you are keeping them happy as individuals too.