By David Saul, managing director of Business Environment

Making time to ensure your employees feel happy and secure in their working environment is worthwhile for any business. I believe that it should be a priority for any employer, as there is nothing better than knowing your employees are willing to learn and perform to the best of their ability.

Over the last few months we have seen employment in the UK grow by more than 230,000 people and there are now approximately 700,000 more people in work than at the start of 2010. However, the economic climate remains tough and we have seen a rapid fall in household income, as well as growing household poverty.

The pressures of our economy can have a huge effect on our employees. So as an employer we need to recognise this and develop ways to motivate our employees so that they continue to deliver the best results. I believe that there are a variety of ways an employer can help keep staff spirits up.

A report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s flexible work commission found that adopting flexible working can be extremely beneficial for businesses. It can reduce absenteeism, improve moral and productivity and better attract and retain top talent.

The perception of flexible working initiatives, more often than not, is that companies feel it is complicated to implement, police and get the best out of. This attitude towards flexible working definitely needs to change. At Business Environment flexible working has been met with a positive response from staff. We have been able to relieve the pressures of commitments such as childcare so that a better work-life balance can be achieved. Changes such as this can have a significant impact on a person’s life that will ultimately be reflected in the work they do.

As well as flexible working, I strongly believe that all businesses should constantly re-energise and re-motivate staff. We strive to continuously engage with our staff to achieve an increase in performance levels and we communicate with our employees regularly to help resolve problems as they arise. This can be difficult to measure, due to the numerous external factors that can affect work performance. However, our employee retention rate still sits at 90% and Business Environment was named in The Sunday Times “2011 Top 100 Best Small Companies to work for” — an accolade we’re very proud of.

We always try to develop ways to understand what suits our staff whilst at work, providing all new starters with comprehensive inductions; setting the right expectations at the recruitment stage, letting them know what support is available and clarifying job expectations.

We also like to put together rewards for our staff like team socials and benefit packages, which promote teamwork and employee participation. Our annual fun day takes place every summer and is a prime example of an event that everyone can get involved in and enjoy. Employees also get three days volunteering leave a year to dedicate time to a charity of their choice.

Recognising that there’s far more you can do, as an employer, to create a positive working environment for staff can be invaluable in the long-term. It is the first step towards creating a company where employees are proud to work for you, and where you can play a significant role in motivating staff to reach their full potential — something which can only have positive effect on business performance.

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