Mind-blowing fact: the happier your employees are, the more successful your company is.
Satisfied employees are more creative, innovative and committed than their unhappy colleagues. They are also more likely to stay longer.
Sounds too good to be true? Many studies and workplace reports show that employee satisfaction is directly related to company results.
In particular, a study cited by Harvard Business Review is part of a growing body of research into the benefits of a positive organizational environment for employers, employees, and the bottom line.
Also take into account the cost of disengagement. HBR explains that employee engagement in work – which involves feeling like being valued, safe, supported, and respected – is generally negatively linked to a culture of stress and cutthroat.
The research further explains that laid-off workers …
- 37% higher absenteeism
- 49% more accidents
- 60% more errors and defects
Sounds like it could get expensive.
When you combine the benefits of a happy workplace with the general improvement of your employees’ lives, consciously enhancing your culture is a breeze. And a positive work culture only complements your company’s employer brand.
I’ve rounded up the top 10 tips to help keep your workplace mood high.
1. Greet your team
A little hello goes a long way in the workplace. Your team members want to feel happy. Give them a little nudge in the morning with a big smile that says, “I’m glad you’re here and I want you to love your job.”
Check back in to the office regularly and see how everyone is doing. Ask your team how the weekend was and see if anyone needs help with ongoing projects.
Creating an environment in which everyone feels comfortable leads to satisfied employees. A positive work atmosphere is critical to both job satisfaction and the productivity and energy levels of team members. It all starts with you setting a cheerful tone.
Something as simple as a smile and a “good morning!” can be enough to change someone’s bad day. Being optimistic and sincere in your approach also strengthens your team’s self-esteem, which will make them more motivated and remind them that working with you is pretty good.
As you make your upbeat office debut a routine, you’ll find your team members begin to mimic your greeting gestures with each other, put everyone in a better mood, and move into a long-term positive environment that encourages employee engagement.
2. Give praise and appreciation frequently to encourage employee engagement
Did you know that feeling like you’re underestimated at work is the number one reason Americans quit their jobs? It suggests low salaries, limited vacation days, and insufficient flexibility for life outside of work.
Such meaningful statistics must be in the foreground for managers and executives.
Through consistent praise and recognition, your team will be excited and ready to contribute to company-wide initiatives.
Ask team members how they would like to be recognized for a job well done. Send a quick email or start a team group for feedback on how they prefer to be recognized and praised when and where credit is due. For some it might like a short “You did it!” Be. shouting during a meeting. For others, it could be a one-on-one session with positive feedback.
For more information on 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, see Gary Chapman and Paul White’s book or online here.
The key is to be consistent. If a team member deserves to be recognized for outstanding work, say so right away: don’t wait for their “rating”. Annual reviews are old history.
3. Make the job fulfilling
People want to feel what they are doing at work.
In order to be comfortable with the work they produce, they must fully understand the mission and purpose of the company. So make sure they know what that looks like.
Provide an overview of what each department is doing and why they are doing it. When employees look at the inner workings of the company from different angles and perspectives, they feel more connected to the company and are therefore more committed to its success.
“The better the access to inner happiness, the greater your experience of success throughout your life,” says happiness expert Shawn Achor in an interview with Forbes. Translation: Finding new ways to continuously access happiness leads to more success in our lives. Success doesn’t bring luck: it’s the other way around.
Follow Shawn’s advice and develop a habit of expressing gratitude on a daily basis. Thank you to the staff for coming early to set a deadline. Let them know that their care with a difficult customer won’t go unnoticed.
Another way to make work fulfilling is to involve your team members in the work of the company at a local charity. At SnackNation, we’re partnering with Feeding America to donate 10 meals to a hungry family in the United States. You can do something similar by looking at places and programs in your area that cater to children in need (e.g., No Kid Hungry, which offers meals for children in need).
4. Make work-life balance a priority
The concept of work-life balance has become a priority for many jobs. Team members should have a clear understanding that you value each of them as a loyal employee and as a person who leads a life outside of work.
Recognize that work-life balance is a priority by working from home on Fridays, offering unlimited vacation days, discounts on surrounding health and wellness programs, or childcare options.
Offering incentives to improve the quality of life of team members shows that you care about their wellbeing.
If you’re struggling to promote the importance of work-life balance, think about what makes you happy outside of work and what perks you would want personally. Your team members likely want the same things.
5. Promote wellbeing in the workplace
Since the concept of wellbeing has been built into people’s daily lives, working professionals expect their employers to offer wellness practices in the workplace – whether through eating, physical activity, or mindfulness tactics.
Many new recruiting strategies are specifically designed to improve the work environment so that employees can more easily adopt and maintain healthy behavior. Examples are WellSteps, Exos and Accenture.
Build a culture of wellbeing by implementing the following strategies:
- Prepare and distribute a list of healthy restaurants within two miles of your office so your team doesn’t waste time Googling “healthy lunch near me”.
- Provide bike racks and provide promotional materials.
- Negotiate corporate discounts for health club memberships.
- Hire a yoga teacher or mindfulness specialist to come to the office once a week or month to help reduce stress on team members.
By showing your team that they should lead a happy and healthy lifestyle, you can also show them how important they are to your business.
You can find more ideas for wellness programs in this article.
6. Hire optimistic personalities
A stressful environment will destroy your corporate culture. A happy work environment attracts positive people and, in turn, fosters a culture of productivity and accountability.
Create a happy workplace by finding someone who brings a sense of humor to the office. A happy, upbeat outlook is contagious and improves productivity and motivation across the office.
Happy people create a happy corporate culture. It is therefore important to study facial expressions, reactions and authenticity when interviewing potential candidates. These are the people who make your workplace happier.
7. Avoid micromanagement
Employees who feel trustworthy and supported – without hovering over them – are statistically more relaxed and confident in their work.
Nobody likes to be micromanaged. If employees feel like they are constantly on their boss’ radar, they will not work the way they normally would and they will start to get angry about their job.
Give your team the confidence and creative freedom it deserves by setting clear expectations and fair boundaries. It doesn’t help anyone if half the day is spent recording and reporting which tasks have been checked off and which have not.
You are the one who hired your irreplaceable team members. Remember why you hired them and trust them to make the right decisions. Your trust in them will keep their trust high and continue to contribute to the success of your business.
For example, have a team member chair the next marketing meeting and allow team members to make decisions when you are not around.
8. Start an individual development plan
An individual development plan (IDP) is a tool to support employees in their career and personal development. Its main purpose is to help employees achieve short and long term goals and improve job performance. You can use an IDP to develop a better understanding of your team’s professional and personal goals, including strengths and areas they want to improve.
Start a company-wide IDP and have employees set four personal and four professional goals they want to achieve by the end of the year. This shows your team that you are serious about investing in them as real people and puts everyone on a level playing field with customized goals.
In this article, you will learn all about internally displaced persons training and development.
9. Use feedback as a mini mentoring tool
Effective leaders understand the power of feedback. Providing constructive criticism and positive appreciation thereby removes confusion and communicates how an employee’s behavior aligns with company results.
Senior Partner at Partners in Leadership, Brad Starr, offers five tips to help you provide effective feedback that drives more engaged and empowered employees. When a leader gives feedback from a place of respect, she can “dissuade an employee from undesirable behavior and consolidate the thinking and behavior that leads to personal and professional excellence,” writes Starr.
By incorporating Starr’s tips, you can treat your feedback sessions as two-way conversations and invite team members to ask questions. When team members are afraid to ask a question, that’s a big problem. Be transparent and open in your approach so that both of you can get the most out of your mini mentoring session.
The key to effective feedback? Communicate it at regular intervals (weekly or monthly) rather than all at once (semi-annually or annually).
10. Get out of your work routine (occasionally)
Sitting at a desk all day or chatting with customers for long periods of time can be nerve-wracking.
Surprise your team by holding your next meeting outside or at their favorite lunch location. Tell them that instead of coming to the office on Monday, they need to do something they enjoy: writing, getting a green light for their sideline, or playing with their kids. This will make team members extremely productive in the following workdays as they should be well rested, refreshed, and more than ready to tackle projects.
And here are some bonus tips
1. Have meaningful conversations with team members
This should come of course, but many managers don’t see the value because they are afraid of crossing the line into unprofessional territory.
It’s not unprofessional. Getting to know your team is one of the best things to do in creating a happy culture and workplace.
Make a point to learn something new about your team members every week. When you find out that a team member is a wedding singer, you may gain a new respect and appreciation for them in addition to their professional skills.
To make sure the implementations are long lasting, practice them daily, and often remind your team that they are an integral part of the business.
2. Promote meditation to minimize stress
Most offices have a fast-paced work environment full of distractions that make it difficult to focus. Promoting mindfulness and meditation at work can help reduce stress and increase focus at work. Meditation has both mental and physical benefits that allow employees to avoid distractions and be more productive on a daily basis.
3. Use employee surveys to increase employee engagement
I saved the best tip at the end!
One of the most effective ways to increase engagement in a company is by using the right employee survey. It should be specific, engaging, and relevant to generate actionable insights.
When companies seek employee opinions and act on that data, it has a significant impact on employee engagement. And engaged employees deliver better performance that ultimately increases the bottom line of your business.
More employee engagement resources
Before you implement an employee advocacy program, do these three things
The path to an excellent customer experience leads through committed employees
Employee loyalty: how to keep your top talent [Infographic]