Two-thirds of American workers are unhappy with their work. A significant portion of those workers actively resent their jobs.
Houston, we’ve got a problem.
Whether it’s doing the bare minimum just to get by or dragging down workplace culture, negative attitudes towards work have real costs in terms of efficiency, resources, and time. The home service industry is not immune to this unfortunate trend, either. Happy employees don’t just make for a more enjoyable workplace, they also save you money, remain loyal, and reduce turnover.
Here we consider what poor morale and lacking job satisfaction actually costs your home service business, look at some top companies that have created a strong workplace culture, and offer some steps you could take to boost morale and job satisfaction among your team of home service professionals.
How much does poor morale cost a business?
If you don’t take employee morale and job satisfaction seriously, it will cost you.
Global research shows that 79 percent of people who leave their jobs shared feeling a lack of appreciation as their main reason for quitting. That’s a big figure and a reminder to all business owners that one of your core jobs is to support and encourage your employees, and not just with words either.
Beyond the employees that leave, paying attention to disengaged employees is just as critical.
Gallup estimated that each actively disengaged employee costs the average business 34% of their salary due to chronic tardiness, disrupting the work of others, lost productivity, missing shifts, and generally spreading negativity within the company. More broadly, these disconnected employees cost the U.S. economy up to $605 billion each year as a result of lost productivity.
On the flip side, the research showed that a 10% increase in employee engagement by a company can boost profits by $2400 per employee annually. There is hope and much that business owners can do to fight back against costly employee disengagement.
Now, it’s not easy to pin down the causes of low morale in the workplace.
Research on employee retention shows that major drivers are a lack of growth, changes in leadership, ineffective leadership, and lacking clarity.
When it comes to lack of growth, employees need to feel that the company is on the right track and that they themselves are growing and learning. That might feel like a tall order for many employers but it is critical to retaining top talent.
Relatedly, employees need and want clarity. They love to know that the company is making a meaningful impact and that their individual contribution is making that broader work possible. Employees that don’t connect with a company’s mission or have their own clear purpose in the company end up being disengaged and often quit entirely.
With regard to leadership, employers have their work cut out for them. According to the Harvard Business Review, 58% of people say that they would trust a stranger over their own manager. At the same time, that same percent of managers (58%) said that they received no formal management training according to a survey by CareerBuilder.
Staying attuned to employee morale during times of changes in a company and investing in training for managers can clearly help your company stand out from the pack when it comes to how leadership impacts employee morale.
Which of the top companies have the best employee satisfaction?
So which companies are getting it right? It may not be who you think.
There are some important lessons to be learned from top when it comes to employee job satisfaction. Fortunately, much of it can be translated to home service businesses.
The list of companies with the highest levels of job satisfaction are full of familiar brands:
- American Express
- Procter & Gamble
- Southern Co.
What do these companies have in common when it comes to ensuring that their employees are happy in their jobs? A few important things:
- Generous perks + benefits: Many of the top companies offered employees generous amounts of paid leave, vacation time, healthcare benefits, and other perks that helped to drive overall employee happiness. Treat your employees well and they’ll return the favor.
- Strong pay: The top companies focused on hiring fewer, better employees at higher wage levels. By driving higher salaries toward fewer employees, these companies bet on their works to be more productive when they feel well cared for and compensated.
- Flexibility + autonomy: Employees at places like Facebook, Google, and Salesforce are permitted to spend work time on outside creative and philanthropic pursuits. Companies that show workers that they trust them to spend their time wisely and realize that employees are whole individuals with other interests foster a happier workforce.
- A focus on employee wellness: Related to benefits, many of these companies invested heavily in healthy food, fitness equipment, massages, and other wellness-related resources to give their teams an extra boost. Employees who feel like their company is going the extra mile for them will likely do the same when it comes to productivity.
- Meaningful work + growth potential: Many of these companies are at the forefront of their industries which gives employees an extra sense of meaning in their work. Being employed at these companies is seen as prestigious and employees feel like they are learning from their peers in such workplaces. This is a critical ingredient in developing employee morale.
While every home service business cannot rise to the level of a Google or a Facebook, there’s certainly a lot to be learned from these top companies and their approach to employee morale.
Home service business owners can and should steal bits and pieces of these broader strategies and apply them to their specific context. How to Improve Employee Morale and Job Satisfaction.
As a home service business owner, your employees are the backbone of your company.
Learning from what the research tells us and what top companies are doing, there are many steps you can take to improve employee morale:
1. Evaluate the current work environment
First, do your homework.
Figure out what’s working and what’s not working in your home service business. Survey your staff. Remember that those closest to the problem are often closest to the solution as well.
Create a simple checklist with your team to walk through the various problems they identify and make a plan to address them over time.
Don’t be afraid to be open about the good, the bad, and the ugly that gets dug up. Your employees will appreciate the transparency and that you’re taking the time to seriously consider their concerns. You’ll likely be surprised by what you find.
2. Celebrate wins together
If you’re not tracking those wins, it won’t feel like you’re winning.
As a home service company, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of keeping customers happy and getting the job done. But it’s important to take the time to celebrate the small victories that add up to successful years in the company.
Have your employees list out their big accomplishments on a quarterly basis and share them with the team. Just that act alone will remind individual employees and the larger team of the good work everyone is doing.
At the end of the year, select the top wins from those lists and make a big deal out of them by celebrating at an end-of-year party. Put all of the wins into a nice book and give it as a gift to the team. Little gestures like this make a big difference when it comes to helping employees find more meaning in their work beyond the day-to-day.
3. Create a reward or incentive program
Giving cash bonuses is easy and certainly welcomed by most employees.
At the same time, research shows that individuals tend to get more from experiences than they do from money or objects. That means it may make sense to prioritize giving employees experiences as a reward for good work.
The upside of offering experiences is that employees often return from those experiences refreshed and/or they learned something new that will help them in their work. It also gives them something exciting to discuss with their colleagues which can have spillover effects when it comes to morale.
Whether it’s a vacation getaway, a professional development opportunity, or an all-expense paid trip to a fancy conference, be sure to include experiences in your toolbox for boosting employee job satisfaction.
4. Invest in your team members
You are paying good wages, promoting from within, and celebrating your employees. Great. You’ve got all of the basics down.
Now onto deeper ways to invest in your employees. With 4 in 10 millennials reporting that they would quit their current job for a different career that offers better professional development opportunities, your team is hungry to build their skills.
Another way to think about it: you can save on recruitment and hiring and offer growth opportunities to employees by training them for hard-to-fill roles within your company. 48% of HR professionals recommend it.
Go a level deeper by helping your employees create a career map that helps them plan out their growth goals and enlists them as long-term leaders within your home service business. This is a great way to show confidence in their work while keeping them committed to your company.
Prioritizing your people is the same as focusing on the bottom line
Taking stock of where your home service business truly is when it comes to employee satisfaction is an important first step.
Once you’ve done so, focusing heavily on your employees as individuals with unique aspirations and goals and embedding that thinking into your benefits, professional development, and overall culture will go a long way towards boosting team morale and job satisfaction.
Good luck building a happier and more effective team of home service professionals!
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