HR Policies & Procedures

Author Offers 99 Ways to Keep Employees Happy … and Productive

Read on for how to download his advice at no charge.

A recent Daily Advisor article talked about the importance of fighting negativity in the workplace. One way to do it, the article advised, was to “practice positive management.”

One HR manager who seemingly knows how to do it to a fare-thee-well is Peter R.Garber of PPG Industries, Inc., in Pittsburgh. In fact, he wrote a book about it, aptly titled 99 Ways to Keep Employees Happy, Satisfied, Motivated and Productive.

The download version of this 121-page volume is available from BLR without charge with a subscription to our newsletter, Best Practices in HR Management. Details on how to take advantage of this offering are below.

Before we get to that, though, we’d like to summarize a few of the key themes Garber advances for keeping a positive vibe flowing through your organization. His ideas are remarkably simple. Even better, they cost little to nothing to implement. Yet it’s fairly apparent why they would work.

Here’s some of his advice, including a few of his “99 Ways.”

  • Involve the Family. Garber reminds us that every worker is part of a family structure that can either support or undermine that employee’s attitude toward the job. He suggests involving that family with the workplace in every way possible. Two of his 99 ideas on this theme: Have a Family Day at work and celebrate employees’ children and their accomplishments in company communications.
  • Give Employees Control. Workers who feel empowered tend to be both more satisfied and productive, says Garber. So give them some control over their environment! Have them decorate the break room or cafeteria, have a contest for a company logo, and even set the heat or air conditioning as they like it. It might cost a few dollars more on the energy bill, but the increased worker energy you generate might just be worth it.
  • Make Employees Part of the Company’s Story. Every company’s got one. BLR founder Bob Brady, for example, likes to tell how the company wasn’t started on the proverbial “dining room table” but in a closet, because “my wife wouldn’t let me use the table.” Create a company historical slide show, video, or hallway display, and invite retirees in for a luncheon. The tales they tell can weave a sense among current employees of being part of something bigger than today’s minor annoyances.
  • Ask for Employees’ Opinion. Do it with either a formal survey, meetings with top management, or just informal requests for suggestions. But be prepared to listen and learn, because, says Garber, it’s the workers who know the jobs best.
  • Check your policies and procedures to see if you can get them, as the old pop song says, to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” He says he’s amazed at how often, for example, policies focus on the negative when they could spotlight the positive. One example: a policy that punishes unauthorized absence without also having one that rewards superior attendance.

By refocusing your policies in a positive light, Garber explains, you shine attention on the majority of your workers, instead of highlighting the problem few. “Overall,” he says, “this will have a very motivational effect on your organization.”

How to Get a Complimentary Copy of 99 Ways to Keep Employees Happy, Satisfied, Motivated and Productive

A complimentary download copy of Peter Garber’s book comes with a subscription to the Best Practices in HR newsletter. This twice-a-month periodical is unique in its focus on a case study approach to HR issues, which exposes you to new HR ideas that have already proven their worth elsewhere. Two case studies are presented in each issue, along with other features, including a reproducible “HR Tool Box” handout to give to your managers. We read every issue of this newsletter. It’s definitely a cut above.

Furthermore, we’ve twisted a few marketing department arms to allow you to keep the Garber book even if you discontinue the newsletter. Even Garber would view that as a positive step.


To order Best Practices in HR and to get your free book, click here.

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