The average amount of time people work for one company is about four years. With this easy-come, easy-go mentality, many workplaces are looking for ways to improve employee retention, and find team members motivated to stick around, and help the company to grow and thrive.

Business people in office

How are they doing it? Well, some places offer great benefits, and give raises and competitive pay that make it hard to leave. Another way that some companies – especially smaller ones who don’t have the budget for huge salaries and benefits – keep employees longer is by adjusting the atmosphere of the workplace itself, so that the office is a place that people like to be.

Not only does this help with employee retention, but it also improves productivity, and makes your company cooperative and adaptable, able to innovate and adjust to new changes in whatever industry you work in. Here are some ways that you can boost retention, morale, and productivity in your own workplace:

Foster a Positive Company Culture

“Culture” has started to become a bit of a buzzword in business management lately. It’s the idea that each workplace has it’s own personality and tone. When you can foster a rich company culture that everyone feels a part of, employees are happier and they feel like they’re actually a part of the company instead of just grunt workers in a cubicle.

It’s important to remember that each person contributes something new and unique to your company culture. It’s not a matter of making everyone conform to a rigid personality standard. Instead, find opportunities for employees to share and get to know each other. Decide which attributes are the most important to you in your company culture (creativity, positivity, team mentality, professionalism, etc.) and make sure that they’re reflected in your daily actions, and in the behavior that you (either directly or indirectly) encourage or punish in your employees. For more ideas on how to build your company’s culture, check out this helpful article.

Watering plant at office

Make a Beautiful Workspace

Sometimes I think that half of the drain of work is the environment that you spend so much time in; fluorescent lights, white walls and uncomfortable chairs get us all down after a while, even if we love our job. Many innovative companies, like Google or Adobe, focus on making the workplace itself more positive to be in. That can include free meals, lots of windows, an open office structure, or comfortable individual offices, whichever works best for your field. It can also include more greenery, or parks and spaces for employees to walk around to get the creative juices flowing. Studies have actually shown that more plants in the workplace lead to higher morale and better productivity.

Work/Life Balance

It used to be hard to get work done outside of the office. However, with modern technology, all we need is a WiFi connection to access everything that we can access at work. New software solutions can also make it easier for you to work with mobile devices, remotely, and in-office, all of which makes the work/life balance a lot easier.

Workplaces that offer flexibility are incredibly attractive to employees. It means that they can take off a day for their child’s concert if they need to, or that they can avoid the rush hour commute. This is especially important for families, since today we’re seeing a more even distribution of work and family duties between men and women.

Colleagues dicussing business

Know Your People

In the end, it’s the personal touch that fosters trust and loyalty in the workplace. Knowing your employees and the individual challenges they face empowers you to give them the best setting to work in, and makes everyone more comfortable. Knowing that a company will cater to your needs is a powerful thing, and makes the whole atmosphere of work a more positive place.

For example, knowing that one of your employees is 6 months sober can help you be sensitive to their needs when everyone goes out for happy hour, or you have a work party. Articles like this one can help you understand their challenge. Think about what an impact that has for someone. Understanding that another employee has a child with health problems and being able to give them time off when they need it in order to drive the child to an appointment or deal with an emergency also makes a big impression. Take time to understand each employee’s personal challenges and strengths, and then give them an environment that nurtures that.