It seems like a no-brainer that employees that are happier will be more productive within an organization. Employees that are content are usually more willing to contribute cheerfully, fighting fires with more grace and not moaning and groaning about the pressures of daily operations. When you are very close to the subject, though, it may be difficult to spot ways to improve employee satisfaction, contentment, and overall happiness.
Why Is Employee Happiness Important?
Happy employees are productive employees. Happy employees are also much more likely to stay in a job four times as long as those who aren’t. Companies with happy employees benefit by having lower turnover rates and higher levels of productivity. In contrast, companies that have unhappy employees may have higher turnover rates. In addition, productivity will suffer. Companies with unhappy employees won’t be as competitive as those that have happy employees.
Companies shouldn’t think of employee happiness as a bonus. Instead, they should think of it as a necessity.
Benefits of Happy Employees
It may seem like employee happiness is something that benefits only the employees. However, companies actually benefit greatly from having happy employees. From reduced turnover to increased productivity, there are many benefits that can help companies become more competitive and profitable.
If employees are happy at their jobs, they’re less likely to be looking for work elsewhere. This means that the company can save money on the high costs of turnover. Employees stay where they’re happy and that happiness can actually multiply across the company. One happy employee can have a positive impact on others, increasing happiness in other employees as well.
Stress and unhappiness can drain employees’ energy and affect their health. That means that employees that are happy are less stressed and healthier. They’ll have more energy to put into their work. This results in both better quality work and more of it as happy employees are more productive.
Happy employees are also more likely to take risks. This means that they’re not afraid to stay only within their comfort zone. Pushing the envelope is important for innovation in a company. If employees are willing to take some risks, those can really pay off in a big way.
Willingness to Make Mistakes
Employees that are happy are more willing to make mistakes. This is a good thing because making mistakes is how we learn. An employee who fears making a mistake won’t be willing to step outside of their comfort zone and take any risks. They’ll also miss out on opportunities for learning.
Supporting Other Employees
Happy employees are also more likely to support their coworkers. They’re more willing to help and will be better able to work collaboratively. They’re also more comfortable asking for support if they need it rather than trying to work through something on their own.
Tips for Keeping Employees Happy
A happy employee is a productive employee. Knowing how to keep employees happy is key to a company staying competitive in their industry. But what makes employees happy? These tips can help you improve your employees’ happiness and, by extension, their productivity.
Employees that are micro-managed tend to feel that they are not trusted or worse, that they are not capable. When managers step back and encourage employees to think on their own, the results may be surprising. Employees will usually feel more capable and the work environment will be more pleasant for both employees and managers.
Give Frequent Feedback
Knowing what is expected and how to accomplish it is key to the happiness of employees. Without feedback, employees will be neither content nor productive, in most cases. This can be highly damaging to an organization.
Incentives should be a reward for employees that have reached a goal. Whether that goal is simply still being around when bagel Friday comes around or reaching certain previously defined accomplishments is up to the employer. Specific goals and incentives may be used to gear employees towards reaching specific accomplishments, but the use of incentives, in general, can help employees to feel more appreciated and challenged.
Encourage Employee Socialization
Having a friend at work can make just about anyone feel better about coming to work. Employee socialization can be encouraged through company picnics, holiday celebrations, and many other small gatherings. Once a year get-togethers are apt to be less effective at bringing the team together than small weekly events.
Promote Employee Growth and Development
Good employees want to grow, both within the organization and personally. Providing opportunities for training and development within the company can increase contentment, but providing opportunities for employees to further education and growth outside of work can really make employees feel valued.
Improve Employee Work/Life Balance
Work/life balance is very important to keep employees healthy as well as happy. Employers, managers, and HR professionals should be aware of how employees feel about their work/life balance. If employees feel that work is infringing upon the time that they get to spend enjoying their life, they may look for another job to find a better balance.
Create a Pleasant Work Environment
The best way to create a pleasant environment may vary from workplace to workplace. It may be possible to allow employees to place pictures of family members in the office or to add “homey” touches in some offices. In other offices, professional standards may dictate décor, but managers may still be able to make employees feel welcomed and appreciated.
Support Employee Innovation
Happy employees are more likely to take risks and while risks don’t always pay off, but when they do the benefits can be huge. Encouraging and supporting employees in innovation can help employees grow. Plus, employees will feel that their contributions are valued, even when a new idea doesn’t work out.
Thank Your Employees
Even though employees are working in exchange for a salary, it’s still important to thank them for everything they do. Employees that feel valued are happier than those that just feel like a cog in a machine. You want your employees to feel that their contributions are making a difference to the company and that their efforts are appreciated.
Ask How to Improve
Last but not least, employers can find out how to make employees happy from the employees themselves. Suggestion boxes, employee satisfaction surveys, or even less formal conversations may all be productive in finding out what employees would like to change in order to be happier. Really listening and responding can improve contentment immediately, even if changes are not made.
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