Over the years, we’ve all seen job satisfaction surveys of employees.  Almost always, “money” or pay rate is several notches down on the most important factors regarding job satisfaction.  At HS&A, we’ve found that employees need to feel that they can make a difference in the company they work for.  Employees need to feel that management and ownership knows, trusts and respects them and, in return, those employees are willing to “go the extra” mile for the company to make sure it is successful.  Here are a few tips to give your employees a “voice:”

Get to Know Your Employees: Spend a few minutes with all of your employees on a regular basis.  Find out about their spouse, their family, what their hobbies and interests are.  Share yours.  Too many “bosses” blow past their employees and go straight to their office with any personal interaction.

Share information and goals: In this downturn, employees may be nervous about their job stability or even the financial stability of the company.  It is important that your managers know the key metrics of their departments and, more importantly, a goal on key performance metrics that can be controlled at their level.

Seek input: Your employees are on the front line.  They often have ideas to improve efficiency, increase revenues or decrease expenses.  Have an “open door” policy and encourage input from all levels of employees.

Let your managers make decisions: Set parameters on what decisions can be made and by whom.  Don’t be afraid of empowerment.  Owners and/or upper management should not have to be consulted on each and every decision.

Perform Regular Employee Reviews: Regardless of whether or not a salary adjustment is in order, each employee should have a formal review at least annually.  The purpose of the review is to establish clear expectations, reinforce good performance, improve unsatisfactory performance, and foster a spirit of cooperation and teamwork.

Deliver Praise When Praise is Due: It is important for an employee to get positive feedback and, if appropriate, be rewarded for a job well done.

Hold Employees Accountable: Be clear and firm with employees.  If a reprimand is due, deliver it in a private and professional manner.  Document it.  Know that your other employees will take note of how these situations are handled (and in some cases not handled).

Lastly, remember you (as the owner or manager) are the example that other employees will follow.  Your employees will do what you do. If you take an interest in your employees, your business, your customers, your equipment and have a positive, professional attitude, they will too.  If you take any of these areas for granted, they will too.  Be a positive, proactive leader and you will create a loyal team.

Last week, we asked if you “Know When to Walk Away.”  We appreciate the responses we received and we will personally contact those respondents to share our thoughts and guidelines.  A blog is an interactive communication forum and we encourage input from those of you who are on the front lines of the rental industry.