What do you think of when you picture office work?
Rows of employees, shoulders hunched, heads bent to their screens. A dimly lit, out-of-the-way break room with an old ping pong table that’s rarely used. Hurried lunches, eaten at desks between meetings. Scattered small talk and bleary eyes, then nervous silence as the CEO walks around the corner. A job to pay the bills. Unfulfilling, monotonous stagnation, eight hours a day with half-hearted perks and hawk-eyed executives.
Now imagine this instead:
Rows of employees, with springs in their keyboard strokes and sparkles in their eyes. Slow, triumphant smiles, fist bumps, and high fives. Engaging conversations with the CEO, the managers, and the interns, pulsing with excitement and inspiration. Team huddles. Team struggles. Team triumphs. A place where people belong. A place where people enjoy working together and reaching their full potential.
There’s a huge difference between happy and unhappy employees.
Why should you invest in happy employees?
As Fast Company states:
“A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. As the research team put it, “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”
In their article: “Ten Reasons Why It is Important to Create a Happy Workplace”, Inc. shares 10 benefits of happy employees:
- Happiness has a multiplying effect
- Happy employees are successful employees
- Happy employees have the right attitude
- Reducing stress increases productivity
- A positive work environment encourages risk-taking
- Happy employees support each other
- Happy employees are not afraid to make mistakes
- Leaders lead by example
- Happiness inspires creativity
- People like to work with happy people
All right so you’re convinced. Happy employees is the way to be! But this doesn’t happen overnight. How do you create a happy workplace and encourage employee happiness?
5 Tips to Investing in Happy Employees:
1. Build Compassionate Leaders
Make sure that all of your managers embrace the vision, are there to support your employees, and are connecting and inspiring them in the right ways. A manager is the most direct link to an employee. We all know that employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Similarly, a great manager can make a world of difference and help and inspire an employee to move mountains and unlock their potential to both help their personal and professional growth and spring the company forward. So share this vision with your managers, and cultivate an environment where managers are inspiring, rather than intimating, their employees. Everyone wins.
2. Invest in Your Employees
Help your employees develop their career path, and their progression within the company. This includes recognizing them for hard work and work well done. It means giving them feedback, both praise and constructive criticism. It means being a coach, a mentor, a cheerleader, and a friend. It also means listening to them. Do your employees have a voice in your company? Are you giving them opportunity to give their feedback, to be listened to and responded to? An excellent way of doing this is through a third party survey company. Show them you want to hear what they have to say. And then listen and act.
3. Create a Motivating Office Culture
Do everything you can to make work a place that people want to be. This might include having a social/events team that organizes sports teams, group workouts, yoga sessions, competitions, or fun nights out. When you give your employees opportunities to bond, while also providing positive recreational activities, it will both inspire and encourage them. They will want to be here. They will feel part of something. They will also feel taken care of. And they will give it their all.
4. Be a Kind Leader
Don’t be the boss that everyone’s afraid of, who rules by fear. Though it’s important to have a measure of respect in order to command authority, you also want your employees to know that you’re on their side, you’ve got their backs, and you believe in them. So be transparent about what’s going on in the company. Share information openly. Ask employees to give you feedback, and respond. Eat lunch with your employees. Talk to them. Joke with them. Be approachable. Leave your office door open. Treat your employees like family.
5. Give Your Employees Ownership
This starts with hiring right. As Rob Catalano states in his article on LinkedIn, don’t hire passengers, hire drivers–people who are passionate about your goals, who are excited for the difference you’re making in the world and can’t wait to jump on board. And once they are on board, trust them, and let them run with it. Give them the power to move the company forward. Allow them to prove themselves. Reward them for their hard work. Let them lead new projects, get creative. Give them equity. This company is your baby, but now it’s theirs too. And when they start running with the passion of the company, nothing can put those flames out.
Happy employees are vital to a successful company. As the saying goes, “If you want to go faster, go alone. If you want to go further, go together”.
Your employees are your team, your family, and your greatest asset.
Treat them as such, and you will be amazed at the results.