Whether your office is 2 people or 200 people, there will inevitably be conflict between differing personalities. Some of your employees will thrive on interaction with each other and clients. Others will prefer to shut their office doors and just get to work. So how do you keep employees happy day-to-day?
1. Discover your employees’ personality types and know what each needs to perform well
A lot of employers ask employees to take one of several online personality tests. These tests are used to determine who might work well together on a project, what types of training to offer, and even leadership potential. Meyers-Briggs is one of the most famous personality tests and there are several free tests online, or you can pay to have a service evaluate your entire team.
Personality types get complicated, so we’ve outlined the different types and how their personalities react to different office settings in our post on Office Personalities: How to Improve Employee Motivation and Manage By Personality Type. But a few rules of thumb:
- Remember that personality types are not always obvious. For example, introverts are not always shy and the excellent sales person in your office might leave every day exhausted and in need of a quiet evening to recharge.
- Don’t forget that personality types are archetypes. Your employees are going to fall on a spectrum within each personality type. You can use them as a guide to determine how to best manage someone or what projects and opportunities might appeal to which employees, but don’t be surprised if your employees still defy logic at times.
2. Ask for regular feedback and act on it
If your office is small, no feedback will be anonymous, so don’t try. Several services allow you to solicit feedback and suggestions from your employees online without the added discomfort of talking face-to-face with the boss. The absolute best way to make sure you get honest feedback is to slowly build trust that you are open to and will act on suggestions. If your employees are concerned about leave policies or would like flexible work hours, think about how you can make a new policy a win for everyone.
3. Encourage work-life balance
A lot of our businesses are part of an information or knowledge-based economy these days. If your business is in a field where being in the office 9-5 has largely lost its meaning, consider encouraging your staff to get their work done when and how it suits them, as long as they get it done and are available for meetings and collaboration. Some people work best in the wee small hours of the morning, whilst others might prefer to work hard from 7-11 and then again from 3-7 with a break for lunch, errands, and a nap or workout.
4. Give a paid lunch and a create social area to eat it in
Lunch is important. Breaks are important. Studies show that people work much more efficiently if they take regular breaks, but most of us feel guilty doing so. Make sure your culture encourages taking lunch by providing a welcoming break room for your staff with a small kitchen and plenty of seating (preferably at round tables that encourage conversation and inclusiveness). You might also think about some sort of incentive program for employees who take regular, active five-minute breaks while keeping up with their workload.