Employee happiness is becoming more and more important for a productive workplace. It isn’t enough anymore for employees to simply ‘cope’ with coming to work and ‘tolerate’ their colleagues.
If you run a business and are looking for ways to improve employee happiness in your workplace, you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll outline why employee happiness is integral for your bottom line, and 6 effective ways you can improve the joy of your employees at work.
The importance of employee happiness
Employee happiness is integral not only for the employee and their wellbeing, but for business.
Happy employees are 12% more productive, while those who were unhappy were 10% less productive. Happy staff were also found to have 65% more energy than their unhappy counterparts and also commit two times more to their tasks.
Employees are more engaged
Employees who are engaged tend to be more productive as well more present at workThey also tend to be more creative and show more innovative behaviour. Engaged employees are said to work harder, be more loyal and are “more likely to go the ‘extra mile’ for the corporation”.
Healthy work environment
A healthy work culture creates happy workers by fostering friendship between employees and improves employee wellbeing. As employees become friends and develop connections with one another, their creativity and their problem-solving abilities also increase.
There are various indicators of healthy work environments. This includes employee engagement, individual growth, autonomy and empowerment as well as employee involvement. We’ll outline more about how to improve these indicators below.
Sense of community
A sense of community in the workplace helps employees stay resilient and face challenges throughout the workplace. It’s been considered that community in the workplace is a proven retention strategy (i.e. a way to make employees stay in their jobs and not quit to go and work somewhere else).
How to measure employee happiness
There is no one definitive way to calculate the happiness of your employees. However, the most common method is the employee satisfaction index (ESI). The ESI is a number between 1 and 100 which you can measure over time.
The ESI focuses on asking three questions:
How satisfied are you with your current workplace?
How well does your current workplace meet your expectations?
How close is your current workplace to the ideal one?
Employees will answer the questions on a scale of 1 (being the worst) to 10 (being the best). The ESI is then calculated using a formula:
ESI = [((question mean value ÷ 3) – 1) ÷9]*100
You can use the ESI to put together an in-depth survey of how your employees are truly happy.
But, at the end of the day, workplace happiness cannot be measured by a number. Happiness is dynamic. The key to making sure your employees are happy is rooted in mutual respect and open communication. We’ll explain six ways to improve employee happiness in the workplace below.
6 ways to improve employee happiness
1. Learning what makes employees happy
A good way to make employees happier is simply to ask and act accordingly. Some employees in particular industries place a great emphasis on having a career pathway. According to a new report by Hays, over a third of Australians are set to resign their employment in the next year, with a lack of career development and poor salaries as key reasons. Talk to your employees and find out what it will take to make them stay.
2. Encourage work-life balance
For many employees, work-life balance is essential. They want to put in the hard work, but also spend enough time with family, friends and doing other things that they love. In the era of COVID-19, increased flexibility by creating remote working conditions may be conducive to creating such a flexible and healthy environment at work.
A 2021 research paper concluded that “in order to achieve employee engagement, managers should focus on facilitating remote working conditions so that employees can reconcile work and family life”.
3. Involving them in your decisions
By getting employees involved in the ‘big picture’ and in company decisions, they will tend to feel more valued. Employees will not feel like they are cogs in machines, but are providing a meaningful contribution to the future of the business. Encouraging employees to take ownership in the outcomes of your organisation will make them feel more connected to your company, and therefore happier in the work that they do.
4. Recognise and reward (often)
Your employees are human beings and deserve recognition for the work they do. This can be as simple as saying ‘thanks for your work’ to compensate them in a way that they will truly appreciate. This could be a promotion, but also other things such as the opportunity to go on secondment or something that the employee really values.
Recognition needs to occur often. The novelty of a pay rise or giving out an award does tend to wear off over time. Saying thank you every now and again, and showing your appreciation can really go a long way to improving your employee’s overall happiness.
5. Listen and act on feedback
Many companies often overlook this step. The best way to improve employee satisfaction is by listening to your employees and acting on their feedback. Your employees may have a lot to say about your business including:
How it is running on the ground;
What obstacles are in place that makes their work more difficult; and
What they feel could be done to help your staff.
If you put your employees’ feedback in action, they’ll see that you truly value what they have to say. This may be removing a specific barrier making your employees’ lives difficult, to something as significant as installing team management software to make working easier. This is integral to fostering a healthy work environment and ultimately workplace happiness.
6. Be careful of routine
Routine is important in many aspects of your life. Limiting our deep thinking to the most important decisions of the day can allow us to be our best when making those decisions.
But at the same time, the routine can make your employees bored and ultimately make the decision to quit for greener pastures. The solution is to break up the routine – diversify their work tasks, get them working outside or organise a team fitness boot camp once a month. This can be a great way to create happy staff.
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