View From the Boardroom: Happy to Work, Stay


by Robert A. Funk, Staffing Industry Review

I love WorkPositive work environments create lasting employees

Have you heard of employees being served lunch by their bosses? Believe it or not, it is fairly common at some workplaces. In fact, for employees of Marian Inc., a components manufacturer in Indianapolis, it’s a monthly occurrence. Executives don’t just serve meals to more than 100 employees, they also prepare them. Gestures like this are just one way employers are trying to maintain a positive work environment.

In a survey by Express Employment Professionals, businesses and clients across the country were asked questions to learn how innovative businesses are taking action to stay competitive in today’s economy, while still fostering a productive workforce.

Becoming Desirable

According to these companies, developing a skilled workforce, improving access to healthcare and fostering a positive work environment were all key factors in being viewed as a competitive and desirable employer in today’s economy. Different companies do it differently.

Companies like Wolverine Coil Spring, a metal products manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Mich., have found that partnering with a local community college benefits employees. Programs like these allow employees to earn degrees, which are paid for by their employers, while also maintaining a job at the company. This way, employees receive quality education and in-demand credentials while the company gains a more skilled and educated workforce.

While healthcare remains an ongoing issue in the U.S., some businesses have launched “Medical Membership” programs. For example, in one program we learned about, members gain access to basic health services for a flat rate of $25 per month. The membership provides unlimited access to clinics, a free annual flu vaccine, 10 percent discount on lab work and other medical necessities.

Team Spirit

While nothing guarantees a happy employee, employers who show employees their appreciation with lunches or other group events naturally begin to cultivate a sense of team spirit. As window blinds manufacturer Hunter Douglas in Tupelo, Miss., discovered, treating temporary workers as if they are permanent members of the team increases the chances that they will apply for a full-time position when it becomes available.

Productivity Boost

With the amount of hours most employees spend at work these days, business owners not only need to make sure their workers are efficient and productive, but happy as well. In fact, there is evidence that a happy workforce is far more productive, and that positive reinforcement can help maintain efficiency throughout the day. Focusing on a positive work environment and the small ways in which you can help your employees feel they are a part of the team will push your company to the top of the list of desirable places to work.


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