Last year, Oregon became the first state in the U.S. with a predictable scheduling law, meaning employers can no longer change employee work schedules without appropriate notice or without incurring financial penalties. On one hand, the law makes the already time-consuming and head-splitting act of scheduling more difficult for employers, but on the other hand, it makes employees feel much more confident and secure in their work.
In truth, more Oregon businesses should commit to doing the utmost to engage employees and improve their workplace experiences. Here are a few small ways Oregonians everywhere can treat their workers better:
Work-life balance is something that all workers require, regardless of their industry, position and location. However, it is also a feature of employment that is surprisingly difficult for employers to ensure. This is because unlike salary or healthcare benefits, work-life balance isn’t something an employer can add onto the biweekly paycheck or present during quarterly meetings; instead, it is something that must be hard-baked into an employer’s corporate culture and reinforced every day by leaders and coworkers.
There are some perks that make it easier for employees to establish a work-life balance. For example, predictable schedules and flexible schedules give workers more power over their own time, which helps them organize their days for both work and play. Additionally, Oregon employers can provide sufficient PTO, to include parental leave, so workers have enough time and space to unwind between long stretches of work.
Still, what is most important is a culture of work-life balance. Workplaces should avoid pushing workers to come in early and stay late, and they shouldn’t reward workaholics. Additionally, it is important for workplaces to emphasize the importance of physical and mental health. Employers might find offices with a gym on-premises or offer fitness-related perks, like discount gym memberships. Counseling services might also be made available to employees; both on-site and tele-counseling can be exceedingly beneficial to emotional and psychological stability at work and at home.
Studies on motivation in the workplace have found that having diverse sources of motivation will continue to improve employee performance. Generally speaking, there are two sources of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Employers can influence intrinsic motivation by speaking frequently with employees about their goals and providing practical feedback during and following projects. These types of interactions bolster employees’ internal drive to do better.
Meanwhile, extrinsic motivation is when employees strive to do something because they will receive rewards, appreciation or some other external benefit. Unfortunately, the same types of extrinsic motivation lose value over time; employees simply stop being motivated to chase the same carrot day-in and day-out. Therefore, employers should strive to offer a variety of rewards, from public acknowledgement of effort to paper certificates and glass rewards for achievements to raises and promotions to better perks. By constantly changing what employees are working for, employers can continue motivating their workforce to improve performance.
It’s important to note that not all workplaces are created equal. While it is possible to change a corporate culture, it takes coordination and cooperation as well as plenty of time. Usually, it’s best to keep employees happy by addressing their current wants and needs rather than trying to change their wants and needs to fit some objective mold prescribed by the internet.
To that end, employers should start by interviewing the workforce about what perks their current employees would prefer to have. While flex time and more PTO is undoubtedly a common request, employers might uncover unique perks like greater autonomy, weekly lunch meetings, opportunities for cross-training and more. Some workplaces have incredibly personalized perk programs, like nap pods, on-side yoga and pet privileges. Even if a request seems outlandish, employers would be smart to entertain the idea of offering a related perk for the sake of lifting workforce spirits and creating employee engagement.
Oregon has some of the happiest cities in the country, but that doesn’t mean all workers are as happy as they should be. With some small steps, Oregon businesses can greatly affect workforce happiness, which in turn affects workforce loyalty and productivity. Happy workplaces are better workplaces, and the sooner Oregon businesses recognize this, the sooner everyone will benefit.