It's the million dollar question: what makes a happy employee? Companies around the world are constantly asking this question and yearning to find an answer in order to maximise employee potential and productivity, reach business goals and maximise ROI.
There are many ways to make and keep your employees happy, and companies take many different approaches to this. Google has huge restaurant-style food courts serving sushi, pizza and more. Facebook pays for female employees to freeze their eggs.
But don't worry if IVF and catered lunch aren't in the budget for your company: the most important, impactful things you can do to make your employees happy won't break the bank. These methods speak to employees' psyche and subconscious minds, creating an innate sense of wellbeing and belonging.
1. Trust your people
Sound simple? So many managers and team leaders micro-manage and double-check everything their employees do. When you're hiring, make sure you have a clear vision of what you're looking for. Ensure that the candidate you choose has adequate experience, knowledge and a desire to excel. If you have great people around you, there should be no reason not to trust them.
Listen to your employees: they are often the experts in their field with a clear understanding of the task at hand. Employees don't like being undermined or undervalued, so trust that they will get the job done effectively and efficiently until you are proved wrong.
2. Work / Life balance
This is something that nearly all of us are constantly struggling with. On the one hand, we're living in an era in which we're always "on": we're connected 24/7 and it's hard to switch off. "Let me quickly respond", "Just one more email"... The truth is that we need to have firm boundaries and know when to switch off and focus on life outside of the office.
Allowing for this much needed balance helps us to be healthier both physically and mentally . Make sure that your employees know that they should be giving their all when they're in the office, but after 6, on weekends and when they're taking time off, they should leave work at work.
That goes for you too: set an example for your employees by showing them that it's ok to be successful and still enjoy life outside the office.
3. Set clear achievable goals
Most people function better and more effectively when they know what they're out to achieve. Imagine you had no direction and just moved forward, where would you end up? Probably not where you wanted to go.
Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals with your employees and ensure they have clear KPIs in place to measure performance by and ensure your team is headed in the right direction.
Give feedback and guidance to help your employees to succeed. Goals offer direction, which brings with it security. They also offer your team members stepping stones and a foundation on which to develop and grow.
4. Recognise and celebrate achievements
Recognition doesn't need to wait for specific times of year or formal award ceremonies. Take the time to acknowledge, recognise and praise employees when they hit a milestone, close an important deal or take the time to go that step further.
Recognition can be as informal as a hand-written thank you note or a quick shout out during a team meeting. Alternatively, companies can implement formal reward and recognition platforms which makes recognising employees easier and more formalised. There can be winners' walls where colleagues can nominate each other with peer-to-peer recognition tools. You could offer financial or non-financial awards.
Recognition has a domino effect: when people feel valued and noticed, they are more likely to continue making the effort. This, in turn, will motivate their teammates.
5. Respect your employees
Always treat others the way you would want to be treated. Whether a junior or the business owner, nobody wants to feel disregarded and like their opinions don't count. Respect everyone's opinions, views and outlooks on work matters and cultural affairs. Take the time to listen and ensure there are enough channels and forums for employees to feel comfortable to speak up.
Respect creates a harmonious workplace and can lead to increased productivity and morale in the office. It lets your employees know they are valued and are a crucial part in the wider business.
Real, long lasting happiness can be achieved with small measures that make employees feel that they are valued, their needs are taken care of and they have potential to grow. They are comfortable in their working environment and get on with teammates. Happy employees are more productive, creative and resilient, as well as better team players. This, in turn, is key to the long term success of your business.
Staff Treats is a leading Employee Engagement Provider that understands the value of employee happiness. If you'd like to find out how we can contribute to making your employees feel looked after, speak to one of our Engagement Consultants.