Treating Employees Like Family: Why Caring is Key

There is no motivator stronger than the bond of family, and considering most of our time is spent in the workplace, there's no better place to develop such a bond. One impressive study found that employees with familial relationships in the workplace also report increased productivity and well-being.

Leadership expert, Simon Sinek, preaches the same concept — treating employees like family is the best method of improving workplace toxicity and boosting company culture. He once spoke on the importance of you putting employees even before yourself. He explained that "every single employee is someone's son or someone's daughter. Like a parent, a leader of a company (or team) is responsible for their precious lives."

The best way to strengthen that familial bond within your company is by improving communication with employees, developing and participating in employee bonding activities, reinforcing positive behaviors in the workplace, hiring a PEO for guidance, and of course: simply caring about employees.

Maintain Open and Honest Communication

Employees should always feel safe coming to management with concerns. Communication in the workplace is crucial for better workflow and structure because it allows feedback to run seamlessly throughout the office without fear of repercussion.

Not only do companies with effective communication experience 4.5 times higher employee retention rates than their counterparts, but 86% of employees and executives say that the lack of effective communication is one of the leading causes of workplace failures.

So, communicate as often as possible. You can do this by implementing one or more of the following:

  • Weekly/monthly meetings with updates
  • Keep employees in the loop
  • Routinely facilitate 1:1 conversations (or as needed)

Make Respect a Core Value

Just like Aretha Franklin once said, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T/ Find out what it means to me/ R-E-S-P-E-C-T/ Take care, TCB.” Not only does it have a catchy tune (that you likely sang rather than read — it's okay, we all did), but it has some sound logic behind it. TCB stands for 'taking care of business,' and the only way to take care of your business — is with respect.

This is because respect is fundamental.

According to Harvard Business Review, respect plays an important role in job satisfaction and loyalty. A survey of more than 20,000 people ranked respect as number one for the most critical leadership behavior. Despite this revelation, another HBR study found that at least half of employees don't feel appreciated by their boss.

Employees never want to feel disrespected at work. All employees and managers should have equal respect for each other, and there shouldn't be any differences in the way people are treated (e.g., managers getting more respect than others).

Disrespect is simply not tolerated and never should be.

Facilitate "Family Time" with the Team

Family time with the team can come in many forms: regular lunches, happy hours, or bonding time – like a field day or memorable trip. You can also celebrate employees for birthdays, special occasions, and company anniversaries.

These small get-togethers don't need to be extravagant – just allow employees to bond and feel appreciated for all the hard work they put into the success of your business. After all, valued employees are much more productive, loyal, and passionate about what they do.

Despite research revealing that as many as 65% of employees feel unrecognized and unappreciated at their jobs, studies have also shown that employee recognition is considered most important to 37% of workers. In fact, 91% of HR experts say that employee recognition makes employees much more likely to stay with the company.  

Make Employees Feel Protected

Many employees feel expendable in their positions. Of course, they do — who hasn't heard the fast-spreading lie that "everyone is replaceable." While it's a line often used to encourage employees to put themselves first, it's also a phrase that couldn't be further from the truth.

Show employees that you have their back when problems arise, so they know they're protected. Mediating problems can be another hands-on way to show your staff that you care enough to help in any way you can.

While accountability is necessary, employees never want to feel like management doesn't care about their side of things. Listen to all sides and do your best to ensure all employees feel comfortable and safe, even during conflicts.

Reward Positive Behaviors

It's more common than you'd think for employees to feel unappreciated. More than half (58%) of American workers surveyed said they don't feel appreciated despite working their hardest in the past year.

The problem is that toxic workplaces often call out employees for bad behavior and rarely praise employees for anything good. This will do much more harm than good. Instead, focus on what employees are doing right and reinforce the good.

Positive feedback is nice to hear, and employees respond much better to it. Even a simple "Thank You" was reported as more powerful than money to 55% of surveyed employees, with 80% saying they're motivated to work harder when they feel appreciated.

No-Brainer Alert: Just Care

It's as simple as actually caring about your employees.

This means leadership isn't dehumanizing employees, and individual matters are taken seriously. Toxic management will forget that employees are people with complex lives outside of work. Employees have relationships, children, get sick, etc., and should feel cared for always.

Listen, care, let them feel heard. While it will be arguably the most straightforward step toward improved employee retention and better company culture, it's also one of the most rewarding.

Addressing Toxicity in the Workplace with a PEO

Partnering with a PEO can improve workplace culture, morale, and retention. More often than not, most companies don't even realize they have followed suit in outdated methods that create toxic environments. PRO Resources will work closely with your team to update and modify policies, behaviors, benefits, and more to ensure your employees are well-taken care of and satisfied with their jobs.

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