In a competitive marketplace, companies are always looking for a way to get ahead of the competition. Many employers look to increase productivity by paying workers more, but the most recent research indicates that employees may be looking for a less tangible benefit. To be specific, they want to be happy at work.
This makes sense when employers consider the implications. After all, who does their best work when they are tired, frustrated, or dealing with anxiety? The question then becomes: how do employers make sure the workplace is enjoyable but still appropriate?
1. Build a Community At Work
As your employees are coming into work, are they greeted? Do managers know enough about their team members to ask after family or big events that are ongoing?
While questions should remain appropriate, and team leaders need to be careful not to pry into any questions that could concern human resources, building a sense of community in the workplace can go a long way towards having employees who enjoy coming to work. When employees have a sense of community spirit, they will work harder to make sure that they are pulling their weight on a project, and they will avoid small errors and little problems that could otherwise be ignored.
- Integrating community spirit into work doesn’t need to involve a sports team or a catered lunch. Start with team leaders making time to greet their employees, ask after families, and respond with interest and action when problems arise at work.
2. Flexible Time Management
Another way to be sure that employees are pleased with their time at work is to make sure that when they need to not be at work, this is possible. Whether someone needs to work from home to take care of an ill family member, or is looking for a way to work a half day when they have an appointment or illness themselves, flex time is a powerful benefit.
With the expansion of cloud services, using a laptop or mobile device to stay involved in the workplace remotely is easier than ever. In many cases, using remote access is more secure than transporting files on a laptop. Employees are often pleased to find out they can work from the carpool lane, the waiting room at their doctor’s office, and the airport lounge.
- Using cloud-based file sharing systems can help employees stay functional on the go; consult with an IT professional about the best systems for your particular company.
3. Encourage Personal Career Goals
Employees are not going to be satisfied with their jobs if they are treated like disposable and interchangeable parts. One way to make sure they feel like people when they are at work is to find out what their personal career goals are and help them achieve those goals. For example, if an employee states that they have their eye on a management track position, let them take lead on a project, or encourage them to identify problems they see in the workplace and offer solutions for the concerns.
To keep your top talent engaged and motivated, consider implementing a mentorship program where seasoned employees can guide newcomers, sharing insights that aren’t found in any employee handbook.
- As companies look to support their employees and offer new and more innovative benefits in the workplace, one option to consider is job skills training. Employees could be given time to complete online courses, learn more about particular business segments, or learn from an expert in the field at a local talk or event.
4. Fix What’s Broken
There’s nothing enjoyable about working in an office where your physical work is not supported. Whether the problems are equipment that doesn’t work properly or processes and procedures that are outdated and Byzantine, employees who feel that they are duplicated work are going to be frustrated.
- Employers need to have a process by which employees can let their team leaders know that something isn’t working properly. Employers need to be able to either explain why the process is still necessary, or explain why the equipment is not able to be replaced yet. If employees offer a solution, that should be taken seriously and considered by the team. Dismissing employees leads to frustration in the workplace.
5. Recognize Employees For Work
Employees like to know that their contributions are valuable. Acknowledging outstanding effort will help companies increase their employee’s happiness, improving productivity. From completing a project that has been ongoing for weeks or months to thanking employees for going above and beyond to help a particular client, saying out loud that the employee has done something beneficial to the business can help an employee rewarded.
- Team leaders should know how their employees like to be acknowledged. Cultural and personality differences can come into play; one employee might want a round of applause at a team meeting, while another employee might be humiliated by being singled out in this way.
What changes has your company made to improve workplace happiness?