Posted on 10/14/2019 by Thomas Michael.

Thomas Michael, CEO Michael Management CorporationPart of running an SAP eLearning company is creating jobs and contributing positively to the world, and that means taking care of the people who work for you. Happy employees are motivated and also work harder & better, but you already know that.

I'm sure you've read general posts about improving employee morale--but I want to share what we at Michael Management do specifically to serve our employees.

 

We allow everyone to work from home. Not just one day a week, but all or most of the time.

If you're worried about the downside of a telework policy, do some research specifically on your industry and recent studies. You'll find that teleworking is mostly beneficial to both the employee and their productivity. For some roles, it may make sense to work from home part-time and meet in-person for team collaboration or particular tasks. But the bottom line is that more and more people work from home at least some of the time, and a telework policy shows trust and respect for your employees.

 

We banned the cubicle farm.

We provide beautiful, modern workspaces for those who prefer an office environment or need to meet in-person sporadically. No one is motivated by an array of plastic walls and uncomfortable chairs. Cubicle farms are where creative souls go to die. You want to encourage your creative souls to thrive and investing in the work environment is money well spent.

Cubicle farms are where creative souls go to die.

 

Considering a shared workspace in lieu of a large office? We use WeWork offices, and in most major cities there are multiple options with more popping up each day. These spaces are modern, sleek, and inviting with in-house coffee shops and more.

 

We trust our employees. We empower them, and we don't micromanage. 

In other words, we assign responsibilities, not tasks. We know we've hired smart people and that they will accomplish their goals if given the tools to do so. Much of the time their way of doing something is better or faster than what we had in mind.

Micromanaging caps your employees' value off at your maximum productivity...not theirs.

 

We are flexible with time away from work. 

We have a flexible vacation policy and we don't question when people need to start working late one day or finish up early. Gone are the days when it's okay to demand your employees sit in this chair on these days during these hours. If you treat your employees like children, they just might act like children ... or at least they won't give you their best and they won't be happy. Again, trust them. Know that they will take vacation as needed or go to the doctor because it's important, and that when they get back to work, they will hit the ground running.

In fact, our official vacation policy is: if you need a vacation, take a vacation. Our Michael Management team members know not to take advantage of our lenient vacation policy and enjoy as many days off as they need to recharge.

Our policy: If you need a vacation, take a vacation.

 

We recognize anniversaries, birthdays, and other milestones.

A small gift can go a long way to reinforcing your commitment and respect for your employees. Just make sure it's something they can use - like a small gift card. Most people prefer a free latte to some company trinket. Or better yet, offer choices. We sometimes use a three-day weekend as a gift - an extra paid day off will make anyone happy, and the cost will come back to you and then some. Or we order yummy food at Goldbelly (our favorite: banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery in NY).

 

We never stop improving our service to our employees.

We know we can always do a little better – thus, we never stop adding new ideas to our Employee Happiness plan.

  • Summer hours with Fridays off
    The last 3 years we implemented summer hours - 4.5-day work weeks during the summer (Labor Day to Memorial Day), with 9-hour workdays and Fridays half-days. Enjoying long summer weekends on a regular basis reduces stress and improves morale such that it improves overall productivity.

 

For next year, we are considering another new way to serve our employees and the communities we live in:

  • Time off for volunteer work
    We encourage employees to use one hour/week to volunteer. Whether that's taking off an hour early on Fridays or taking four hours one week a month, we want to encourage service. Side benefit: With this policy, we can easily track volunteer hours and aggregate our company's social impact.

What are you doing to improve morale for your employees? Do you believe you have created a culture of trust and autonomy? Please share your ideas for employee service in the comments below.

Cheers,

Thomas Michael

Thomas Michael is the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation, the company that creates online SAP training that's fun and engaging. Tom lives in New York City, is obsessed with making the perfect Negroni and enjoys talking about improving businesses.


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Thomas Michael has been involved in SAP consulting and development since 1993. As the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation he speaks and writes widely about SAP training and implementation issues. Tom has authored numerous books, articles and white papers covering a variety of topics. He is a regular speaker at national SAP conferences and other venues.