Workplace happiness is perhaps the most undervalued resource in business, a notion supported by a Harvard Business Review study which found that happy employees are indeed more productive than unsatisfied ones.
The benefits of a content workforce is innumerable, with happy employees likely to sell better, work faster and be more creative – not to mention that increased engagement and loyalty to the company is likely to result in lower staff turnover rates.
Though often the most appreciated form of reward, pay rises are not always possible in a climate of tight budgets and small margins – but there are other ways to keep your staff happy and encourage a positive work environment…
- Offer flexible working
A healthy work-life balance often ranks highly in life satisfaction surveys. Get the best from your staff by contributing to their overall happiness by offering flexible working patterns. Letting staff start their day an hour early to catch a quieter train, or later so they can drop children off at school, is likely to boost your popularity in their eyes. As long as an employee’s contracted hours per week are worked, why not introduce a flexitime scheme?
2. Be transparent
Cultivating trust between employees and management will make staff feel valued and invested in the future of the company. Hold regular meetings to give business updates on what’s going on in the company to keep everyone on the same page, and banish any feelings of exclusivity or secrecy. Transparency is also often appreciated when it comes to career prospects and pathways – letting individuals know what they are working towards is a great incentive for productivity and loyalty.
3. Set realistic goals for staff
Setting targets is long-accepted as a management method, both ensuring business growth is on-plan and offering the chance to constantly review employee performance. But if goals are unrealistic or unachievable, they will consistently be missed and this will dampen morale. Realistic goals are more likely to be achieved, helping with staff progress plans and encouraging personal development.
4. Offer positive life experiences and unexpected surprises
On average we spend ⅓ of our life at work, so treating employees to pleasant experiences is a good way to create a positive work culture. Whilst rewards of money and material goods can be appreciated, positive life experiences are often more memorable. People tend to discount events that happen repeatedly, whereas variety adds value to a memory. Therefore a unique event such as special lunch or optional activity every so often could work wonders.
5. Encourage communication
Management adopting open-door policies is a great way to encourage staff to communicate outside of pre-booked meetings, fostering a relaxed atmosphere and meaning you are more likely to get honest feedback from staff. Create opportunities for employees to communicate, from biweekly or monthly 1:1 sessions with managers to feedback forums and staff suggestions boxes, not only ensuring any issues are addressed head-on but also motivating employees to put forward great ideas they’ve had outside of meetings.
6. Prioritise regularity over size of reward
Saying “thank you” is always appreciated, and if your business can afford it financial rewards often have impact. But size isn’t everything. Whilst money is appreciated, the gesture of smaller regular rewards is likely to keep people happy longer than large but infrequent gestures. Whether it’s a simple cash bonus or the opportunity to purchase stocks in your business, or even just a tasty treat left on everybody’s desk, small rewards are worth the extra cost to your business to make staff feel valued – alternative ideas include rewarding staff with extra holiday days, tickets to a show or vouchers for local restaurants.