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August 04, 2017

Washington's Best Workplaces CEOs share tips on how to keep employees happy

Puget Sound Business Journal

Julia Martinez

On Thursday, four Seattle-area CEOs led a casual discussion with more than 30 executives on what makes their employees happy.

The panel was part of the Washington's Best Workplaces event, where the Puget Sound Business Journal honors the best workplaces in the state nominated by their own employees.

Patrick Evans, CEO of Sound Mental Health, said studies show one-third of employees across the U.S. are not engaged in their work.

"That impacts our bottom line - our personal life, coworkers, what's happening at home, and the community," he said.

To engage employees, CEOs have tackled different methods to track workplace culture. Surveys, one-one-one meetings, internal blogs, monthly team-building activities, and award ceremonies for tenured employees and top producers are some ways to track and keep up employee morale. But what employees want is defined career paths, benefits aplenty, and workplace flexibility.

David Niu, CEO of Tinypulse, which provides employee feedback to companies, believes in inspiring people to reach their potential, but said sourcing talent is also important.

"If I want apples in my company, I have to go find apples," Niu said. "If I hire a banana, regardless of how much I coach and how great I foster, it's still going to be a banana."

Shauna Swerland, CEO of Fuel Talent, an executive recruiting firm, encourages employees to bring in business they are excited about so that they're engaged, not simply transactional.

Perks come in many forms, she said. Some employees might be elated for a trip to Mexico, others would prefer a spa day.

"You generally can't go wrong if you try to take care of people overall, Swerland said, especially when employees are the ones generating ideas.

Overall, workplace culture is something important enough for employees to make them want to show up to the office.

Jeff Lyon, CEO of Kidder Mathews, said the shift in what workers want in office spaces has affected culture. Working from home is a great perk, but it can also have downsides.

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal.

© 2017 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved.

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