Maintaining employee happiness should be high up on the priority list for all business owners. Aside from the fact that low levels of job satisfaction can lead to poor performance for the company as a whole, employers should be looking after their workers. Here’s how you can make sure your employees are happy.
When it comes to keeping employees happy and healthy, there are many steps employers can take – but some bosses overlook the most effective ones. As Bill Alexander, Chairman at reward and recognition consultant Motivates, explains:
“When we think of motivating our employees, it’s easy to consider quick wins, like bonuses and a pay rise, to get employees feeling happy and engaged again. However, the research shows companies need to think less about money and more about personal appreciation and creating an environment that encourages happiness and wellbeing in the workplace.”
With this research in mind, we’ll take you through 10 of the best ways to increase employee happiness, engagement and satisfaction.
10 tips for boosting employee happiness
1. Motivate your employees
Let’s start with the most obvious step you can take. In theory, all the following steps should improve your employees’ motivation levels, but it’s worth thinking about how you actively work towards boosting them. Consider, for example, your management style. Do you come across as enthusiastic and engaging? If not, why should you expect your employees to?
Studies show improving your workforce’s level of motivation will have a significant impact on your business, so it’s worth mastering this first step.
"The effects of poor motivation in the workplace are well-attested: higher employee turnover, lower levels of engagement, poor communication and diminished productivity are just a few of the issues that may proliferate and lead to your workplace [becoming] a toxic environment." – Nikos Andriotis, efront
2. Introduce an incentive scheme
One of the best ways to encourage high-quality work is to incentivise workers to put in the effort. And employees agree; almost a third of the workforce say incentives and rewards would motivate them more than salary (Motivates).
Set targets based on where your business could improve and provide some sort of reward when employees reach them. These incentives could take the form of money, discount vouchers or gifts. You could even run a staff competition with an exciting prize for the winner.
Worldwide, businesses spend over £36 billion on reward and recognition programmes (Rewardgateway.com). It’s worth reviewing your own incentives, as 90 percent of HR professionals say effective reward schemes drive business results and have a positive effect on employee retention.
3. Appreciate your employees
Although incentives and rewards are excellent motivators, you can’t go wrong by verbally recognising your employees’ achievements. In fact, experts recommend acknowledging every employee once a week (Gallup), while three quarters of employees given monthly praise say they’re happy in their job (BambooHR).
As working from home becomes increasingly popular, it’s vital employers make sure they continue to recognise their employees. Whether you end a video call with a quick ‘thank you’, or send a lengthy email telling your workers just how appreciated they are, you should always make time to acknowledge workplace achievements.
It doesn’t cost anything to tell an employee they did a great job, yet verbal appreciation remains one of the most underused management tools in the book.
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4. Organise team-building sessions
27 percent of employees enjoy working as a team and thrive in a collaborative setting (Motivates), so it’s worth making sure your workforce is as strong as it can be. While team-building sessions have a bit of a reputation for being fairly unpopular, they play an essential role in bringing employees together and helping them function well as a group.
Try thinking outside of the box when it comes to organising team-building events and include your employees in the planning stages, so they have a say in what they do. Ultimately, even just enjoying a meal out together should bring your staff members closer together.
5. Be clear about your objectives
If you want your employees to achieve your business’s goals and gain a sense of satisfaction, it’s a good idea to give them clear targets to work towards. The best franchises know exactly where they’re heading and how they’re going to get there, and communicate this to the whole workforce. Don’t be vague when it comes to laying out your expectations and make sure all your goals are achievable and can be easily measured.
6. Build an open company culture
Employees are more productive when they enjoy their job. They’ll go the extra mile for a boss who treats them with respect and honesty, and do the bare minimum when they feel they’re ignored. If you can make the business a welcoming place to work, you’ll probably see significant improvements in your employee engagement and productivity levels.
To achieve this step, you’ll need to make sure everyone is comfortable working at your business, no matter their background. If your employees are working remotely, you may need to put extra emphasis on maintaining a welcoming company culture. Team video calls are a great start; be sure to include everyone in the conversation and invite employees to talk about any issues or suggestions they may have.
7. Demonstrate trust
No one likes to be micro-managed or feel their supervisor is hovering over them. By showing your workers you trust them to do a good job, you should be able to build a team of happy and satisfied workers. Creating a workforce of people with high levels of self-worth and self-confidence can only serve to improve your business’s performance.
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8. Make sure workers have a healthy work-life balance
Every employer should be making sure their workers are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. And while you might think this step involves reducing work hours, it may actually improve your business’s productivity. More than one in five employees say they’d definitely be more motivated if they had a good work-life balance. So, giving workers extra time to relax and unwind at home could increase the amount of work your company gets through.
9. Make the workplace more comfortable
Most of us spend a significant chunk of our time in the workplace, so making it as pleasant as it can be is a no-brainer. Whether you invest in comfy chairs or buy fancy coffee for the staffroom, improving the work environment should result in higher employee happiness – and could be rewarded with better productivity.
And don’t forget any employees who work from home. Providing the right resources for them to carry out their job effectively is likely to pay off in the long run. Many businesses buy remote workers comfortable chairs and ‘work laptops’ so they can do their job without running into issues.
Following the COVID-19 lockdown, studies show over nine in 10 workers are keen to continue working from home at least part-time (Eskenzi PR). It’s clear employers will have to provide the right resources for their staff to work from home if they’re to maintain high levels of employee satisfaction.
We can only hope that this great remote working experiment has shown employers that their staff can be trusted to work just as productively from home; particularly as it also appears to have a positive impact on their wellbeing as well as the environment. - Yvonne Eskenzi, founder and owner of Eskenzi PR
Becoming an inspirational figure is easier said than done, but it’s worth thinking about how you can lead from the front and demonstrate the qualities you would like your employees to have. Workers are unlikely to feel inspired or engaged if you don’t practise what you preach, so be the change you want to see!
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Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©