“Happiness is a precursor to success” – Shawn Achor founder and CEO of Good Think, Inc.
Your people are the most important asset you have. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product in the world and millions in funding – without the right people, your organisation will never achieve long term success.
Here’s the curve ball… Simply having the right people is not enough either. If you have a demotivated workforce then you will endure more absences, a lower retention rate and a decrease in performance.
Businesses need a committed leader to ensure everyone is happy and motivated to succeed. Without a clear drive to achieve workplace happiness, you will fail to maximise everyone’s true potential. Happy employees are productive employees. By taking small steps to create workplace happiness, you can reduce conflict, absenteeism and presenteeism. This can lead to an increase in engagement and output.
Business publishing gurus Inc. are in full agreement – “Happy employees are 12 percent more productive than the norm, and 22 percent more productive than their unhappy peers. Creating a pleasant workplace full of happy people contributes directly to the bottom line.”
Bearing this in mind, we have listed nine ways you can create workplace happiness:
1. Create a welcoming environment
A large portion of the day is spent sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen – for most of us anyway. Long shifts without many breaks will often demotivate and de-energise everyone.
The stresses of work can get us all down. If you want to keep everyone engaged, then you must provide a working environment that people want to be part of. By creating areas where your people can recharge and unwind, you will increase their productivity and output. This can be in the form of a sofa area, games room or even a nap pod if you’re feeling adventurous!
2. Empower people to improve company culture
Empowered employees are the holy grail for any business leader. They are devoted advocates of the business, who will always go above and beyond for you. This will have a knock-on effect, which can create a culture of hard work, accountability and loyalty. They are huge drivers of workplace happiness and they will help to create and spread cultural alignment.
Motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek adds – “empowered employees have the power to make decisions without a supervisor. They are entitled to go off script, bend the rules and do what they see fit if they believe it is the right thing to do for the greater good of the company.“
If you want to empower your workers to improve company culture, then you must put your faith in them. By demonstrating belief, whilst giving them freedom and accountability for their actions – you will make strides to empower everyone.
3. Provide flexibility for work-life balance
In today’s fast-paced working world, the line between work and home is becoming blurred. Employers expect more from their people, which can result in them feeling pressured to achieve. Often, this results in longer working hours and less time spent away from the office. This can lead to eyes starting to wander…
Flexible hours and working approaches allow everyone to find the perfect balance between home and work. Can you really expect everyone to want to work for you, if they rarely get to go home and switch off?
It is important to help your team find the right balance, so they don’t consider work as a chore and eventually ‘burn out.’ Take the time to speak to people to discover what would help, then make the necessary adjustments.
By giving your people freedom and trusting them to fulfil their duties – you will make them feel more valued. This will be repaid with an increase in productivity and profit.
4. Demonstrate transparency
When you lead with transparency, your problems can be solved faster and everyone will know the purpose behind their duties. If everyone is made aware of successes and problems, there will be a greater sense of community. This will help you find solutions quicker; as many heads are better than one…
Transparency will result in your people fully understanding the company vision. This will help them to understand how their duties and outputs will fit into the big picture of the company’s goals.
If you keep your workers in the dark they will likely feel under-valued and disempowered.
5. Communicate regularly
Every member of your team will have their own frustrations. Failure to listen and remedy their concerns can result in a loss of productivity. By maintaining open communication, you will build a stable team that wants to work within your business.
To effectively communicate with your team, you need to create systems so everyone can contact you. Leaving messages unanswered will result in your staff feeling under-valued, so take the time to respond.
By gathering instant intelligence via pulse surveys, you will be in a strong position to understand your people and your organisation. They provide an accurate snapshot in time to help measure the sentiment, happiness and feeling within your organisation. The real-time insights will help you gauge how everyone is feeling and allow you to build relevant action plans. This will help you to motivate everyone and get them pulling in the same direction.
The most important discussions should be undertaken face to face. Your meaning and tone will be clearer in person.
6. Provide opportunities for growth
It is difficult to achieve workplace happiness if your people feel like they are stagnating. What sense is there in working hard if there is no room for advancement?
Career development is a vital part of employee engagement. If your employees’ desire to “climb the ladder“ is not met – they will usually start looking elsewhere.
By meeting with your people regularly and discussing agreed targets, you can build a “road map” to success together. It is important to advise your managers to do the same with their teams.
7. Focus on social investment
Workplace happiness and social investment have very strong links. It refers to any social activity that will make your team happier and lead to them generating a financial return.
By encouraging everyone to socialise both at work and at home you will improve culture, lower stress and ultimately create a happier and more productive environment.
8. Motivate people to leave their comfort zones
Very few of us will get excited about doing the same tasks daily. By granting your team new responsibilities, you will also be providing them with new opportunities to grow and develop. This is beneficial to the individual and the organisation – as it will make them feel valued, which can boost engagement and productivity.
Some leaders may feel that if their people are busy trying new things, then it might decrease efficiency. Surely, it’s a bigger risk having bored employees who are seeking new thrills?
You may even discover new talents and skills that previously went unnoticed.
9. Encourage time off
Vacations are a necessity, not a luxury.
A break from work allows us to mentally and physically recover from the everyday workplace stresses. This is vital as it will increase the individual’s focus and productivity when they return. It will also help to reduce your teams’ psychological distress. This is evidenced by a workplace happiness report compiled by The American Sociological Association.
Encourage everyone to use all their annual leave. If need be, add pressure by adopting a “use it, or lose it” system. Put simply, any leftover days will not be carried over.
Happiness is contagious. If you lead with a positive and approachable demeanour, you will create a domino effect – trickling from the top down.
By following these tips, you will increase morale, achieve higher staff retention and improve productivity. All of which will create workplace happiness and give your bottom line a boost.