How to keep employees happy

30 October 2019

If you’re a small business up against corporate giants, you won’t be able to lure employees with your wages or brand name alone, so it’s doubly important you keep employees happy using other means. Here are a few proven strategies for keeping staff members pulling in the right direction, and invested in your vision.

Flexible working hours

A new study in the International Workplace Group has outlined the importance of flexible working. 83% of 15,000 surveyed respondents said they would turn down a job if there wasn’t a flexible working option in place. Gone are the days of expecting workers to file in and out of an office, clocking in and out like robots. The internet has made remote working entirely possible – and attractive. With that in mind, consider giving employees the opportunity of working unusual hours outside of the office. Unless you need people serving customers face to face, there’s no reason not to.

Unlimited holidays

The Netflix model, as outlined by Reed Hastings in a presentation on the topic, is to give employees as much holiday time as they like. The genius of the move is that you when you empower people to think like adults, they manage their own time and feel better as a result. The guiding rule at Netflix is that all employees should simply act in the interests of the company – ergo, don’t take so much time off that you let down your fellow colleagues down and endanger projects you’re working on.

Consider a similar model in your own business, safe in the knowledge that if one employee takes advantage of your leniency, colleagues will pill him/her into line. It’s a model of self-governance, and the team acts together as one.


If you’re starting out, you might not be able to pay top dollar salaries, but value can be leveraged elsewhere. Consider giving shares to star performers; team players who believe in your vision. This will motivate someone to work above and beyond a base salary and to put in the extra work to help the company. The more the company is worth, the more those shares have value.

Gym memberships – and other perks

Encouraging employees to exercise is a great way of keeping them motivated. There’s a host of data that gives credence to the idea that physically active people are not only happier, they’re better at their jobs. Exercise boosts cognitive performance, lowers stress, and has long term benefits to boot. Speak to a gym about a corporate discount, take this cost on and ensure staff don’t pay a cent whenever they want to get their sweat on.

Further to this, consider signing up to a company like BenefitHub, a benefits portal that will enable employees to take advantage of voluntary benefits (insurance for the home and car) as well as enjoying great discounts on awesome brands.

One to ones

Employees want to know they’re being listened to and that they’re going somewhere in the business. To keep their worries at bay, schedule one to ones where you or a senior member of staff sits with the employee to find out how work is going, whether goals are being met, and to ascertain overall levels of happiness. The intimate setting will do wonders for satisfaction.

Cookies are important for the proper functioning of a website
This Website uses cookies placed by us and our partners in order to provide its services, to personalise content and to analyse usage. Data regarding your use of this website will be shared with our partners for social media, marketing and analysis. Our partners may combine this data with other data you have separately provided or which have been separately collected by them. You can find more detailed information in our PAIA manual.