How much do you value your staff? And do you do so at their true worth?
Now, we know that your first answer here is “immensely”, and why wouldn’t it be? Without them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
But saying you value your staff and actually creating an engaged and valued culture are two very different things.
Staggeringly, although we're sure 100% of CEOs will say that they have a cohesive team, research from Gallup found that 83% of UK companies have disengaged staff. The remaining 17% are doing very well. Gallup’s research also found conclusive evidence that engaged staffs have a 240% comparative boost in performance-related business outcomes. We're not certain exactly what the term “performance-related business outcomes” means, but we interpret it that Team Engaged are going to beat Team Disengaged to the tune of 240%, week in, week out. That means Team Engaged keep and capture more business and, come the end of the year, they will have larger Christmas bonuses making them even more engaged.
If you look to the Googles and Facebooks of this world you will have no-doubt heard about their swish and funky offices, complete with slides, swimming pools and basketball courts. Although these one-upmanship add-ons are lovely for architect’s portfolios, arguably, they don’t produce greater engagement alone.
In fact those firms all started by taking a leaf out of Maslow’s book by appeasing the first stage of the human hierarchy of needs; food and drink. By providing free food, these firms remove the need for their staff to worry about hunger, especially come those 11 o’clock moments.
What’s more, these firms recognise the value of unintentional interactions. They don’t provide a hotel room service-esque system of desk food delivery to keep everyone working. Instead, they provide open spaces with comfortable seating; lots of natural light, and room to mingle. Their food zones enable collaboration to occur naturally.
Therein lies the most important point; that these spaces enable unexpected conversations to occur. The finance manager can mingle with the sales associate, the new analyst with the head of their department and even the CEO with the intern. This engages individuals through the insight gained and stimulates ideas. Food zones are for conversation and innovation not just an area for people to grab a free snack.
So how can you create these spaces without having an architect redesign your office from scratch? Well the best place to start is with the little things that attract people to communal areas.
1) Make sure the kitchen is a clean space
Clear surfaces and clean sinks. Remove clutter and encourage people to leave it as they found it. No one wants to wash up other people’s dirty crockery.
2) Have a notice board that is regularly updated
Perhaps with birthday updates or inspirational quotes. At the very least, keeping everyone in the know to the company’s activities maintains employee involvement.
3) Install a water cooler
For those fabled water cooler moments.
4) Have a suggestion box
You’ll be amazed at the ideas that come from within your team. There may even be a passionate pastry chef in your midst, willing to organise a monthly cake club.
5) Buy tea, coffee & milk
And give it away free to staff. People will naturally make tea / coffee for others, plus kettles take time to boil meaning chitchat is inevitable.
6) Offer free food
1 in 2 people leave the office for at least 20 minutes every day to find a snack. If you want to value this impact objectively, what costs your business more: 20 minutes of every other employee’s time ( so 10 minutes each ) or buying a £1 snack for everyone? We can answer that for you: the answer is buying a £1 snack for everyone. That’s because £1 saves 10 minutes of each person’s time, and therefore makes them more productive. If you value your staff at less than £6 an hour then you aren’t hiring them as you would be paying them illegally little. You also benefit by making people happy. It saves them from having to get their umbrellas out, and eradicates his or her hunger grumbles.
No matter what you currently offer or choose to do, there are two things to remember: 1) your people are vital and 2) people are different; that’s what makes them brilliant. Each and every one of your team have unique strengths and weaknesses and it’s partly up to you to engage those skills to enable them to flourish.
That means that you need to cater for different health requirements and tastes, which shows you care. With that in mind, if you decide to provide free food you need to offer a range of offerings. Taken at its extreme, if you only offer Marmite you will instantly alienate 50% of the team. You need a balance of sweet and savoury, from healthy to guilty pleasures. If you can offer superfoods with energy boosting qualities, then even better. After all, a workforce marches on its stomach.
This is why we at Office Pantry deliver to offices across Britain. We deliver tailored foods to each of our clients presented inside one of our free wooden Pantries. These display units act as a focal point within the offices that we serve ( Karen Millen, Sports Interactive and Deloitte to name a few ) enabling people to share taste discoveries and engage.
Should your firm have a limited budget, we offer an honesty box and price-listed menu so your staff can pay as they go. We deliver the value of snacks that a company pays us for the delivery, and the office recoups their money from the honesty box once the Office Pantry has been emptied. The honesty box offers a financially neutral option whilst keeping staff happy.
What's the best thing you have ever done or had given to you at work?