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If you’re an employer, you know the job market isn’t just about employees competing for top positions. Businesses are constantly competing for talented employees. Although a high wage or salary can attract employees initially, a solid pay rate alone won’t allow companies to keep them.

Prospective employees look at a larger picture than just the job duties and pay to decide if a position with your company will be worthwhile. Because of this, employers should aim to offer a variety of benefits, perks, and initiatives in order to retain talent, increase productivity, and inspire a company culture based on appreciation and loyalty.

Here are a few major concerns employers should consider when supporting their employees.

Offer Benefits That Matter

Employees have come to expect certain benefits from their jobs, and today this is crucial for attracting and retaining talented workers. Common benefits include things like health insurance, paid time off, paid sick days, performance bonuses, and options for a retirement plan. O

f these, providing several options for health insurance — including medical, vision, and dental — may be the most valued benefit for employees. This has become fairly standard for most businesses, and though you might hire employees without offering health insurance, they will likely be looking for positions elsewhere that do offer benefits.

While major benefits are important, an employer’s role in shaping a positive company culture doesn’t end there. Smaller perks can also have a major impact on the company.

Casual dress codes, the option for remote work, catered lunches, and gym memberships offer employees flexibility and can allow for a better work-life balance.

Other activities like group fitness sessions, potlucks, and happy hours offer employees the chance to engage with each other beyond strictly work-related situations. These also show that your company supports each employee as a whole, considering their overall happiness and wellness.

Perks and benefits will help keep employees engaged with the company, the culture, and their work. Aside from lowering productivity and employee morale, disengaged employees cost U.S. companies an average of $450 to $550 billion annually.

In contrast, employees that are engaged at work have the potential to outperform their disengaged counterparts by more than 200 percent.

While it may take time, effort, and significant financial investment to maintain employee engagement, the boost in productivity and employee retention will be worthwhile in the long term.

Update Equipment and the Workspace

Obviously, the physical elements of your office can affect productivity and employee satisfaction. This includes the arrangement and quality of desks and other furniture, the overall floor plan, the amount of natural light, wall decor, and access to other resources like technology.

Investing in improvements for these elements will help employees to do their best work, while also demonstrating that you care about their experience in the workplace.

Especially if your employees spend much of their time sitting at a desk, outdated chairs without proper support can contribute to major health risks of sitting.

If possible, opt for adjustable standing desks which can offset the ill effects of sitting as well as reduce pain in the shoulders, neck, and lower back.

Alternative workspaces that feature more comfortable chairs or couches can also offer employees another choice beyond their normal seating arrangements.

Technology is also a huge factor for employee satisfaction. If your staff work primarily on computers, you should consider updating the hardware and software regularly enough to keep up with their job requirements.

Everyone knows the pain of working on a slow computer, or trying to find a workaround for not having the correct software. If your technology isn’t performing well, your employees’ productivity and morale will suffer.

If new computers aren’t in the budget, allowing employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) can also provide a viable alternative if the company computers aren’t performing well.

Just be aware that BYOD policies may expose companies to security risks if the employee will be accessing company files and accounts. It’s a good idea to include a comprehensive policy, including details about security requirements and privacy for employee information.

The overall design of your workspace can be one of the most impactful changes you can make to support your employees. At the very minimum, including some interesting art on the walls, a few plants, and a fresh coat of paint can invigorate a workspace and raise your staff members’ energy levels.

Another example that can drastically shift the mood in your office environment is to get rid of cubicles and create an open floor plan. This is extremely cost effective, and it creates opportunities for greater collaboration and stronger employee relationships.

Of course, the lighting in your office is another major aspect of office design. Because many office buildings rely on stale fluorescent bulbs, you should take advantage of natural light whenever possible. If your office doesn’t have enough windows, you can improve the quality of light by installing smaller lamps with warmer light.

This creates a more natural feel, calming staff members and making the office feel more like home than a workspace.

Finally, creating a designated space for recreation can break up the monotony of daily tasks. This could be an area in the break room that includes a ping-pong table or a video game.

Though it may seem counterintuitive to encourage people to play while they are at work, the chance to take a few minutes to have fun can pull employees out of slow points in their day. This is also another great opportunity to get people communicating and allow employees to build bonds with each other.

Support Employees After an Injury

Setting up safety precautions, proper equipment, and training employees is the best way to prevent workplace injuries. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries can occur in any work environment, even with safety practices. Having a firm understanding of the process for filing workers’ compensation claims can help employers to support their staff in the case of a workplace injury.

Although it might seem financially smart for the company to avoid workers’ compensation claims, employers should encourage their staff to report injuries through the proper channels immediately.

This allows the company to avoid any legal issues associated with denying or discouraging an employee from receiving proper care and their right to benefits. Also, prompt attention to injuries ensures that the injury won’t get worse, which could lead to longer recovery times and higher costs in the long run.

Aside from encouraging employee participation in these programs, employers can aid the process by communicating their knowledge and concerns about a situation with the claims adjuster.

Also, staying in contact with the injured employee can prevent them from feeling disengaged, isolated, or embarrassed about their situation, which would only make things worse. If possible, it can be helpful to find light-duty tasks that allow an injured employee to contribute to the company while they recover.

In a perfect world, you’d be able to provide everything your employees want or need to do their best work. With budget constraints and a long list of competing priorities, this isn’t always possible.

However, by paying attention to these areas and allocating a certain amount of your budget to gradually improving the work environment, you can identify new ways to motivate your employees, improve productivity, and encourage your company culture to grow.

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