Balancing employees’ happiness with their alignment to your company’s direction is not easy. And the most noteworthy example of this is Apple in its early days.
The company had positioned itself as an unconventional, new-age brand where creatives and rule-breakers flocked to work. So, as the company grew larger, cultivating the required discipline became a challenge. The more control senior management tried to exert, the more frustration it caused them and the employees.
What happened at Apple shows that a brilliant business model alone isn’t enough to push a business forward. In fact, none of it matters if your workers aren’t happy. Because if they aren’t, they won’t be engaged at work or receptive to new initiatives.
The good news? You can prevent this from happening at your organization. Not to mention boost productivity and build a strong employer brand. This article will show you why ensuring employee happiness and well-being is a must and ways to implement them at work.
Why is employee happiness important?
Research by Oxford University has found that happy workers are 13% more productive than unhappy ones. And that’s not the only perk of employee happiness and well-being. Let’s see the rest.
Happy employees equate to happy customers: Happy workers transmit their positive emotions to customers and prospects they encounter every day. And this helps nurture leads and makes them more likely to buy from you, or work with your business.
Happy employees collaborate better: Happy workers get along well with one another, boosting teamwork and effective communication. So projects run smoothly and meet deadlines.
Happy workers are healthier: Happy employees are more likely to remain physically and mentally fit. When you invest in employee well-being, you minimize workers’ sick days and loss of work output.
Happy employees are more loyal: When workers are happy in their jobs, they are less likely to quit or switch jobs. This helps you reduce the turnover rate and save money on new talent acquisition.
Top ways to ensure employee happiness
Use the following list to check whether you’re doing all you can to boost employee happiness and well-being at work. If you are, you’re on the right track. If not, it’s not too late to get started.
Value and respect your workers
In a survey of 129 large and midsize US businesses, 87% of leaders said that they are focusing on building a culture of dignity in the next three years.
Downtrodden workers can never consider themselves happy. If your company culture can’t assure dignity at work, then there is no hope for employee well-being.
That’s why respecting your workforce is not just a strategy for employee happiness, but a core principle that can set a solid foundation for all the other steps we have outlined below.
A happiness-driven company culture ensures that everyone is treated with dignity, and that respect is not being given selectively based on seniority, experience, color, gender, or any other factors.
So make sure to shape your work policies, communication, and every aspect of work in a way that each worker matters. Recognize employees for what they bring to the table and the contributions they make for your business.
Even simple gestures like high-fiving quick wins and taking their concerns seriously go a long way in making workers feel valued.
Encourage and act on employees’ feedback
Employees who feel heard at work are approximately five times more likely to perform their best work, according to research by Salesforce.
No workplace is perfect, and no employees expect it to be. But they do expect at the least that their problems and suggestions will be heard and acted on.
Yet in many workplaces, workers feel dissatisfied because their concerns are often brushed under the carpet. The result is diminished employee happiness and morale.
If you want to ensure employee well-being in the workplace, go out of your way to let your employees freely express how they feel and contribute new ideas.
Take group meetings, for example. Usually, the extroverts do most of the talking and introverts remain quiet. So it’s important to have weekly one-on-ones too to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard.
Develop your employees
A LinkedIn report states that 94% of employees would stay longer at a company if it invests in their professional growth. Knowing that you care about their development, workers will feel happy and more motivated.
Make sure to support them with adequate training and provide deserving workers with a clear roadmap and opportunity for promotion. Show them that their efforts are valued and will lead to their future growth. Plus, you can sign them up for seminars and conferences relevant to their work and ambitions.
Share positive feedback and constructive criticism
Data from 150+ countries and 1000+ organizations has found that 96% of employees appreciate receiving feedback regularly.
So you can imagine how important it is for workers to know how they are doing, what they are doing right, and if there’s something they can do better.
When you’re candid with your employees about their work, you demonstrate that you have faith in their skills and you care about employee well-being.
For example, if a worker has shared some great ideas in a group meeting, don’t wait to let him know how much you value the contribution. Even a small acknowledgment like below can have a great impact.
"Thank you for your suggestions, Jack! You came to the meeting prepared with well-researched ideas, and you're really helping us move forward with the project. Keep up the good work."
And don’t forget to set up weekly or biweekly meetings with your staff to go over their work. You can use this opportunity to give specific feedback that helps them excel in their roles.
Pay and treat workers fairly
Your employees may be enjoying what they do. But they should also get fair compensation for their work.
So don’t let any contribution slip through the cracks. Recognize and pay workers for every big and small investment they make at work. For example:
- If they work overtime, pay for it.
- If an initiative helped grow the company, give out bonuses to people involved.
- Don’t underpay female employees for jobs similar to male employees.
Plus, there should be a transparent system that makes it easy to understand and reduce the pay gap among different employees.
You can even hire an external agency to avoid any bias or favoritism. This company will audit your performance review process and offer recommendations based on objective measures such as the current market value for job roles.
Reward workers’ accomplishments
We already touched a bit on rewarding your employees. But it warrants more attention. Having a reward and recognition program at work is crucial to employee happiness. In fact, 80% of medium and large US organizations have an employee recognition program in place.
And rightly so. Your workers spend considerable time and effort in fulfilling your business mission. But if they feel their work isn’t acknowledged, they are more likely to be dissatisfied. So if you are serious about employee well-being, leave no stone unturned to show them what they do matters.
Apart from putting a formal reward system in place, there are plenty of small, informal things you can do to reward good work. These include a free meal, a company-wide update on what the employee is being recognized for, an extra day off, and even just a heartfelt thank you. Having these as little tactics as part of your overall employee engagement strategy will have a big impact.
Ensure proper communication
78% of US workers say that improving employee communication should be a high priority for their employer.
Workers are less likely to be happy if their responsibilities are not clearly communicated to them. And this is just one small example. Not communicating effectively with your staff can lead to a whole host of challenges, like frequent misunderstandings, workplace conflicts, and poor peer-to-peer relationships.
But just any type of communication isn’t enough. You can’t bombard employees with a ton of emails or unnecessary meetings in hopes of keeping them happy. You need to have the right channels, tools, and training.
And one of the best ways to tackle all these three areas is to use a single, unobtrusive communication platform like Blink. It follows a mobile-first approach. So it can reach workers wherever they are.
Not just that. It also requires minimum training. The social-media style interface ensures that workers know how to use it from the get-go.
Implementing such a solution can help you establish communication norms without isolating both desk-based and front-line workers.
Conclusion: ways to improve employee happiness and well being
Overall, workplace happiness is a significant factor in employee engagement.
But at the end of the day, there is no shortcut or magic recipe to make your employees happy. It’s about the cumulative impact of the small steps you take and the culture you build.
Use the strategies and employee engagement best practices outlined above to encourage a happiness-oriented company culture. Plus, look for your own creative ways to delight your workers and make them feel valued. In the long run, you’ll see that the payoff for such efforts really makes them worthwhile.