What You Should Do on Labor Day


Happy Labor Day!

For those of you outside the United States, today is a national holiday called Labor Day.

Interestingly, most Americans don’t really know what Labor Day really is.

According to the United States Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.”

So there it is -- Labor Day celebrates the achievements of American workers. Which includes us entrepreneurs and, importantly, all of our employees.

I think many entrepreneurs feel that giving their employees the day off today is an adequate reward. Maybe ten years ago it was, but today, I don’t think so.

Consider these recent statistics from research conducted by First Command Financial Services:

  • 24% of American workers are dissatisfied with their job, up from 21% last year and 11% in 2009


  • 39% of American workers report they are job hunting, up from 29% last year

Pretty sobering, huh. In most cases, a sizable percentage of your workforce is dissatisfied, or worse yet, actively looking to leave your company and join another firm.

Now, if only your lowest performing employees were looking for a new job, I guess that wouldn’t be so bad. But that’s never the case. And importantly, the cost of losing a good employee is huge.

Think about one of your best employees. How much time, energy and money would it cost to recruit and train a similar employee? Having recruited and trained many employees over the years, I can tell you that the cost is incredible.

Writing up job descriptions, posting them on job boards, interviewing tons of candidates, checking references, getting new hires on payroll and insurance, training, etc. -- it all adds up to a LOT of work.

So, this Labor Day, I’d like you to think about what you can do to make sure your employees are really satisfied and give you their all each and every day. Here are five things I suggest:

1. Spend more time with your employees. Sounds easy? That’s because it is. You need to spend time with your employees to find out their concerns and desires. Just showing you care enough to talk with them to learn about their needs will go a long way.

2. Have your employees participate in setting company goals.
When employees help set company goals, they become more motivated. They feel that they are part of something big. And this makes them much happier with their work.

3. Encourage employee feedback. We all know that most employees gripe amongst themselves. And this griping creates even more dissatisfaction. By encouraging employee feedback, you learn what these gripes are, and importantly, you can help fix them. And fixing them greatly improves employee satisfaction.

4. Increase your own energy and enthusiasm. We’ve all been around people that have lots of energy and make us feel great about ourselves. That’s the kind of boss you need to be. Because if your employees want to be around you, they’ll be more satisfied working for you.

5. Make sure your work environment is comfortable. I recently walked through my offices and wasn’t inspired visually. I felt the walls were drab and the furnishings weren’t exciting enough. This was probably because nothing had changed much in the last year. So I gave my team a budget to spruce up the place. By buying items and furnishing the office in the way the team likes, my employees will be more excited to come to work each day.

So enjoy Labor Day, and think about how you can celebrate and satisfy your employees tomorrow and in the year to come.

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