Happiness and productivity in the workplace can often seem like chasing the wind. How do you strike the right balance between getting what you want and what your employees want? There are many small factors that add up to happy employees. Here are our top 7.
Best Buy shifted to a Results-Only Work Plan (ROWE) in 2002 that allows participating employees to set their own schedules as long as their work is consistently finished on time. Since then, corporate departments involved in ROWE experienced a 35 percent boost in productivity [source: Brandon]. Mobile offices and readily-available wifi have made it much easier for people who don’t want to be in an office all day. In a recent survey, 76% percent of people said they preferred to stay out of the office when they had important work to get done [source: Flexjobs].
6. Practice Open Communication
If you want to be a great leader, you have to be a great communicator.
A 2009 workplace satisfaction survey was taken by several federal agencies, including the State Department, Homeland Security, the Transportation Department and NASA. Less than half of the 212,000 employees polled said they were satisfied with the quality and consistency of information they received from management [source: Vogel]. The department with the happiest employees turned out to be the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It attributed its success to its senior leaders’ superb communication skills. Federal employees ranked communications as more important than salary and benefits!
In short, communication should be the core of your organizational goals.
5. Care About People
No man is an island, and your business shouldn’t be either.
If you want to make customers loyal to your brand, you’d do well to have loyal people in your organization. Make time for employees face-to-face. Even small things like birthday parties for each employee’s birthday can really help them get invested in your company. Small reward systems like an employee of the week or month can make employees much more satisfied at work. People will work harder and longer if they believe in the company.
4. Recognize Success
When someone does a good job, reward them. It doesn’t cost you anything to tell someone “good job.” Think about giving gift cards to top performing employees. The recognition of excellence can do amazing things for office morale and communication [source: Cutting Edge PR]. According to the principles of Six Sigma, a business management system initially developed at Motorola, employee recognition isn’t a tool to incentivize success, but rather to establish a standard for excellence [source: Pyzedek].
3. Set Clear Goals
Nothing is more frustrating than unclear goals. A work environment with unclear goals is a recipe for tension and anger. The University of Alberta found that people who focused on the meaningfulness of their jobs exhibited a 60 percent drop in absenteeism and a 75 percent reduction in turnover. That’s an impressive result for a simple change of thinking.
2. Provide Career Growth Opportunities
How long would you stay in a job if you knew there weren’t raises or growth opportunities of any kind? Less than a year? Exactly. If you want to keep quality people around, give them somewhere to go. Stagnation and frustration is a great way to make people leave.
Some career experts rate career development opportunities as one of the top five most important benefits that employees wish for [source: Gardner]. This especially rings true among the emerging Generation Y workforce. Although millennials are characteristically disloyal to companies, they yearn for fresh learning opportunities [source: The Wall Street Journal]. Integrating that need for variety and feedback while potentially improving job performance could prove to be the perfect storm for honing the newest wave of recruits.
1. Build Trust
Acknowledge and utilize your employees’ unique skills. Give them ownership of their tasks instead of micromanaging them. Employees who feel that their skills and talents are being utilized will feel more engaged than those who don’t. [source: Clemson University].