Happy Employees

by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor

OKAY, I’VE READ all the posts on a lot of sites about how desirable it is to have a happy work force.  We can all agree on that.  For starters we need to understand that there are three components to having a happy work force.

The first is to establish a culture rooted in policy and practice that supports a good work environment.  Such things as accessibility to management, fair and equal treatment of all employees.  No discrimination due to gender, race, age, etc.  Management that is even keel without screaming, cursing and generally abusing people.  A Happy Employeesplace where it is pleasant to be a part of and to be comfortable in.  That is all pretty simple and straight forward.  A company that anyone would be proud to say they work there.

Now we have to consider the general programs and practices that apply to all the work force.  Competitive rates of pay and benefit packages.  Solid and consistent orientation and training programs.  Good tools that are needed to perform each task.  Clearly defined career paths.  Support programs for continuing education.  A safe and secure work environment.

But now we get into the harsh realities of economics.  What other programs can you afford, and that are compatible with the needs of the business.  Can you afford a child care center?  Can you afford a maternity leave program?  Can your business accommodate a work at home policy or a flexible schedule plan?  The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of companies can not function without a physical presence of their workers.  Yes, if a job is comprised of phone or computer work it can be done anywhere.  But most jobs in most industries are not comprised of that.  Hotels, restaurants, retail, manufacturing, maintenance, transportation, real estate sales, security, and thousands of others require a presence at the work site.  That just isn’t going to change anytime soon, and those that have them as high priorities are not going to be happy in your company so don’t hire them.  If you hire people that have different needs than you can not accommodate then you will not have happy employees no matter what you do.

Now we get to the third issue and that is where it gets harder.  The matter of motivating and keeping employees engaged and enthused comes down to one on one.  You can’t do this part in mass.  Each employee is different and will respond to different tactics.  A manager must assess what makes each employee tick.  What are the hot buttons that when pushed motivates the person to excel?  A thanks for a job well done, using the employee’s name, asking how their kids are doing in school, and personal recognition are basics of course.

But with some 80 million bright eyed and bushy tailed educated, millennial youngsters, and millions of seasoned workers that have been shoved through every knot hole in the business world it is time to dig deeper.  What can you do to go the next step in creating a happy employee?  What would make you happy if your company or your boss did it?  What would make you go the extra mile?


Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent
KEN is a 46 year veteran hotelier and entrepreneur. Formerly owned two hotels, an advertising agency, a wholesale tour company, a POS company, a leasing company, and a hotel management company. The hotels included chain owned, franchises, and independents. They ranged in type from small luxury inns, to limited service properties, to large convention hotels and resorts. After retiring he authored a book, “So Many Hotels, So Little Time” in which he relates what life is like behind the scenes for a hotel manager. Ken operated more that 100 hotels and resorts in the US and Caribbean and formed eight companies. He is a firm believer that senior management should share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of management.

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