There are so many reasons to make your employees happy. A happy employee is known to be:
- More productive
- Less likely to miss work
- More driven to achieve goals
- Less likely to make mistakes
- More likely to think creatively
- Less like to leave your business.
The list is far longer, but the point has been made. The wealth of benefits you can experience from ensuring simple employee happiness really does impact your business’ ability to grow. But this knowledge in itself creates a problem.
Research suggests that 85% of people are not happy in their place of work. This is supported by the fact that 82% of workers are reportedly hunting out new jobs. Happiness is a cornerstone of success, but most of your workers aren’t happy. So where does that leave you?
Business owners need to be looking at ways to improve job satisfaction and employee happiness. In doing so, you create a working environment that supports company development. But what can be done?
Introduce Flexible Working
Flexibility is the new nine to five. The ability to work to a schedule more suitable to the hectic and ever-changing modern lifestyle is something that the 21st-century workforce craves. 70% of people want to be able to choose their own hours and model their working lives around their personal desires and commitments. The majority of workers believe this will increase their job satisfaction levels and general wellbeing.
Flexible working is not always possible, but for those in adaptative industries — especially businesses that work on digital platforms — offering employees more maneuverability in their working hours can provide a vital boost to overall happiness at work.
Formalize a Dress Code
We promised unconventional, and we didn’t want to disappoint. So here is one that definitely might come as a surprise.
The modern working environment is a constant stream of new ideas, and one such concept that has gained a lot of momentum is the “casualization” of the formal working dress code. Whereas wearing a suit and tie to the office used to be par-for-the-course, the majority of workers now dress down on most days. But is this a good thing?
A dress code may seem like an archaic notion, but there are actually numerous benefits it can have on employee happiness and job satisfaction. These include:
- The removal of barriers — Clothes are often a statement; a statement of wealth, of interests, and of culture. But statements aren’t necessarily a good thing in the workplace. We also tend to judge people on what they wear. It’s simply human nature. Both statements and judgments can create differences and divides that prevent a fully cohesive community. A sense of belonging to such a community can support happy employees, but community isn’t built on divides. A dress code formalizes workwear and prevents barriers.
- Improved output — Being good at our jobs makes us happier while we are doing them. As a result, anything that increases productivity is important to workplace satisfaction. Studies have shown that formal workwear puts employees in a better mindset for task completion, whereas wearing casual clothing reduces alertness, drive, and creativity. A dress code that enforces formal wear produces a more productive workforce, which, in turn, fosters increased job satisfaction and, therefore, overall happiness at work.
While the use of workwear uniforms might have dropped in popularity in recent years, their advantages are plain to see. The old ways are sometimes the best ways, despite the introduction of new-age ideas.
Create Successful Incentive Schemes
Incentive schemes aren’t an uncommon practice, but they are often mismanaged. Reward systems are regularly found to be ill-fitting of the environment within which they operate. An article in Forbes highlights ways to improve your incentive schemes, suggesting:
- That you shouldn’t promise rewards in advance, as this creates pressure to achieve. Employees who then fail to meet demands experience a reduction in satisfaction.
- That if you do offer anticipated rewards, they should be small for the same reasoning as the above. Don’t give people a reason to stress over potentially missed incentives.
- That rewards should be given continuously. A one-off is a great boost, but continued rewards drive up initiative and a sense of appreciation. Feeling appreciated is a key factor in employee happiness.
- That rewards should be given publicly, not privately. As part of that sense of appreciation, workers want to feel that you are proud of their achievements and that they are worth boasting about.
- That rewarding behavior is better than rewarding outcomes. An example here is if an employee works very hard on a project, but the customer decides to leave the business anyway. Rewarding your employees for their effort ensures they feel their input had value, driving up satisfaction and putting them in a position to try just as hard on future projects.
Give Employees More Purpose in Their Work
For many in 2019, work is about more than just money. The modern employee, especially those of — although certainly not limited to — the millennial generation, is driven just as much by a sense of purpose as they are financial compensation. People want their job to mean something; they want their work to have a positive impact both on their own lives and those of others. But how can you provide such an enriching experience?
Much of this drive comes from career aspirations and placement, but there are other ways you can influence a sense of purpose. Being involved in charitable activities and supporting local campaigns can be a powerful method of achieving this goal. Employees have been shown to be more satisfied with their work if it helps support charities.
Other ways of helping employees find purpose are allowing them to explore their own ideas, demonstrating how their contributions directly affect company growth, as well as offering continuous learning and development to help them further their careers. The bottom line is you want to show your workers that their input to your company has value beyond basic task completion.
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