When your business has less than 50 employees, it’s easy to become “ingrown” and make those water cooler conversations uglier than they need to be. Here are some tips on making your office environment pleasant.

Debbie Blagovich is an event and wedding planner and Public Relations Specialist for West Coast Entertainment, a full service Seattle event planning company that has been in business since 1978. For Debbie and her husband, Dan, making their business an extension of their family is a priority. “We want to help each of our employees understand their deepest desires and dreams, even if it means at another place of employment,” says Blagovich. “We let our employees be who they are, give their best, and feel good about it. This brings a level of joy into the workplace that otherwise could not exist.”

Part of knowing what makes your employees tick is knowing what motivates them. Whether it’s money, time off with friends and family or appreciation, Blagovich says tailoring each employees’ reward to their efforts makes for a happier employee and a more positive working environment.

But that doesn’t mean the small business owner is not checking in regularly. Blagovich gives her employees “Tune-ups”. She says it’s imperative to spend some one-on-one time with each employee. “Offering a safe environment to speak freely on how things are going on a business and personal level allows us to support [our employees] well,” she says.

Mark Burch, owner of Mark Burch Coaching, agrees. “I believe that, regardless of business size, communication with employees is key. Defining for employees a clear sense of purpose and communicating appreciation for good work done, is always beneficial.” Burch is a Life Coach and gives seminars on thriving and finding the work you love. “Business owners who understand the strengths and personality styles of their employees to bring out the best in them, have a great work environment to thrive in,” he says.

Sometimes, coming together for something social can spark conversation, create vision and allow employees to laugh together. “When it’s time to get down to business and work hard, we can all do it, but, we must enjoy the journey with laughter,” says Blagovich. “Often we will take a break and all walk down for ice cream or smoothies.”

Blagovich believes that a reason West Coast Entertainment has done well for over 30 years is because they hold themselves and their employees to a high level of integrity, and hold each other accountable. “Employees prefer respect, a sense of being valued, and clearly defined roles in the workplace,” says Burch.

Visit West Coast Entertainment at http://www.wcent.com. Find Mark Burch Coaching online at http://www.markburchcoaching.com.

— written by Tama Fulton, CBS Local Seattle


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