Become a great place to work: three tips for keeping your employees happy

February 8, 2016 Colette Wade


We’re proud to announce that  Cornerstone OnDemand has been named in Fortune’s 10 best large workplaces in tech list. To compile the list, 48,000 employees at 115 companies were surveyed by Great Place to Work, and were asked about career development opportunities, risk-taking, work-life balance, compensation, recognition, transparency, camaraderie, and other factors.

We’ve been committed to creating a meaningful and enriching work environment from day one and we’ve worked hard to achieve this result, but these things don’t happen overnight. Building a positive employer brand is becoming increasingly important, and creating a happy workforce with good opinions is vital to that. So, what are some steps you can take to ensure your employees are happy?

Be receptive to feedback

Creating a satisfied workforce comes from many aspects of working life. There’s professional elements such as the interest in the job and development opportunities, and also private elements such as compensation, non-financial benefits and work-life balance. So if you want a picture of how happy your workforce is, why not ask them?

Simply asking for your workforce’s opinion can be a powerful form of internal communication, as long as you’re prepared to do something about it. There’s no point finding out employees’ opinions unless you’re prepared to take action and rectify anything that may be bringing down morale.

Ask the question, check in regularly, and give feedback to employees on how their answers are being used to improve the workplace.

Work out what makes your employees tick

Onboarding begins from the moment the contract is signed, and a key part of keeping your employees happy from the get-go is finding out what they value at work. For some staff it will be money, and for others it may be flexibility – in any case, managers need to understand what makes their key performers tick.

If your staff members are performing well and getting the job done, be sure to ask them about their ideal work situation and see if you can adapt their job role to their preferences. This kind of tailoring can help with talent retention – something that’s becoming more important in the increasingly employee-driven workforce.

At Cornerstone, we help cater to the variety of values our staff have with our unique perks and programs. Some of these, cited in our Great Place to Work review, include: seven-week sabbaticals in staff members’ seventh year at the company, employee health insurance, flexible work schedules, free snacks during the day, fitness classes, and more.

Let your staff thrive

To enjoy work, many of us need to feel we are making a difference and that we are improving our skills all the time. Learning and development opportunities and continuous feedback rather than annual appraisals are two ways of helping staff thrive.

Some companies may see learning and development as an expensive cost, but there are plenty of ways to implement it that don’t simply involve costly courses. Mobile learning is one such way to bring learning opportunities to staff in a cheaper and more accessible way. Many employees who could not previously benefit from learning strategies, or had limited access to it (such as those in non-qualified roles), can now partake thanks to mobile learning. With cloud technology, any one employee or a group of employees can log on to a mobile learning platform anywhere, anytime and see targeted content.

Another option, which also helps with staff feeling like they’re making a difference, is user-generated content in the form of social learning. Mobile devices can be used to create our own content and teach other staff in learning communities; if you’ve got internal experts, use them! By encouraging user-generated content and social learning, you’ll quickly identify top performers, improve employee engagement, and inspire work-based discussions.

User-generated content and social learning can also boost peer-to-peer feedback and recognition, which is essential as modern workplaces move from a model of annual appraisals to one of constant feedback. We know from Tower Watson that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, but the frequency of performance reviews tends to depend on a company’s culture. Regardless of when the reviews happen, companies have to help line managers in facilitating the process. This can be done by encouraging real-time observations on performance, for instance by mobile devices, through gamified peer reviews, and by skills recognition through social elements such as LinkedIn endorsements.

While these tips are not exhaustive, they’re a step in the right direction for keeping staff happy and boosting workplace satisfaction. Every workplace is different, but by listening to staff and providing them with opportunities to excel, the foundations will be in place for your employer brand and workplace morale to go from strength to strength.


About the Author

Colette Wade

Colette Wade is Cornerstone OnDemand's Vice President of Marketing, having joined the company in 2011. She is responsible for overseeing all of Cornerstone's European Marketing operations.

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