Keeping your employees happy requires you to consider (and perhaps rethink) the way your business treats, manages and nurtures its people. Here are seven things you can do to put smiles on faces.
When we think of happiness, joy and laughter the workplace does not perhaps spring easily to mind. Yet workplace happiness is high on the agenda for savvy companies who know that a happy workforce is an engaged, productive and creative one too.
So what makes people happy at work? Here are 7 key areas to think about:
We all seek validation and recognition – that’s true whatever position we have in an organisation. It’s about being acknowledged when a task has been done well and downright celebrated if the work is exeptional.
Happy employees receive consistent feedback and recognition for their work. This is not about giving constructive feedback (though we need this too) and more about taking the opportunity to only focus on positive contributions and achievements.
Money can’t buy you happiness (or love for that matter) but it helps. So monetary reward is still important but alongside it we also highly value things like flexible working, gym membership, wellbeing programmes (think mindfulness and yoga), healthy snacks and drinks, even a games room and anything that encourages regular breaks and 'switching off' time.
3. Interesting work
Find the work you love and you will never work another day. There’s nothing worse than being bored at work or hating your job.
We need steady challenge and interesting projects to sustain engagement. Sometimes we can create these ourselves and sometimes it’s about spotting someone’s talent for design, say, and including them in the next product design meeting.
4. Work-life balance
We all need more flexibility in our schedules to ensure we have work-life balance. One of the huge advantages of technology is that it truly can mean fitting work around our life styles. It’s important not to blur the edges though. Work-life balance also means staying off your Smart phone in the evenings and at weekends.
5. Professional development
It’s more than likely that you won’t be doing the same job forever – we naturally crave growth so it’s important to look for opportunities outside our comfort zone like speaking at that conference or learning a new skill. Even within an industry we think we know well there is constant change and always something to learn.
6. Open communication
An open office plan can be really annoying and you may long for your own little cubicle but they do make the workplace much more transparent and communicative.
It’s then far easier to nurture positive relationships with management and colleagues and from this arises a sense of purpose and team engagement.
Hopefully micromanagement is a thing of the past. Trusting in a team to do their job without constant monitoring is one of the hallmarks of a good leader. How do you do that? First you need a team you can trust and agreed ways of checking in. If this is combined with clear goals and expectations you have a recipe for a happy workforce.
So what’s it like where you work? What are some ways you can contribute or make changes. Whether you’re in charge or not – find ways you can either initiate some of these ideas or look for opportunities to introduce or create them!
About Emma Sue Prince
Emma Sue is author of The Advantage – the 7 key soft skills you need to get ahead published by Pearson Business. She has designed an experiential learning workshop based on these skills: adaptability, empathy, integrity, optimism, being proactive, critical thinking and resilience and is currently licensing trainers to deliver these.
Emma Sue provides consultancy in emerging economies and travels regularly to India, Bangladesh and Tanzania advising on a range of large funded projects. She runs a free membership site – Unimenta – for practitioners working in soft skills. When not working Emma Sue runs a local gospel choir in her home town of Godalming, Surrey and is an avid baker.