What’s the key to making your employees happy at work?
With employee satisfaction plunging recently, improving employee happiness is becoming increasingly important.
Happy employees make your team function well, offering skills and productivity that help a company succeed. Knowing how to create and sustain employee happiness is one of a leader’s most important tasks.
Here’s an overview of what you can do to make employees happy in the workplace.
How To Make Employees Happy At Work
Lord Richard Layard, a British labor economist and a preeminent happiness researcher, encourages companies to stop perceiving happiness as a fluffy, non-measurable concept and start taking it seriously.
According to the economist, things that make people happy at work are the same things that make people happy in their lives:
- A sense of belonging
- Social connections
- A purpose or meaning
Below are seven tips for improving these factors, thereby facilitating employee happiness.
1. Make Employees Feel Valued
The first step to improving employee happiness is making them feel valued. An excellent way to accomplish this is to show them appreciation.
When you show workers appreciation, they feel validated about what they do. This can lead to:
- Improved productivity
- Excitement about getting things done
- Increased engagement
It’s important to keep in mind that showing appreciation isn’t on leaders’ shoulders alone, however. Appreciation can be incorporated into the company culture. Encourage workers to show appreciation to colleagues.
Teamraderie’s Digital Card Game to Recognize Team Strengths is a great way to facilitate appreciation. In this experience, workers are guided through a custom interactive game in which they assign various traits and attributes to team members and are given the opportunity to express their appreciation.
2. Bring a Sense of Purpose or Meaning to Your Team
Creating a sense of purpose in your team can go a long way in improving employee happiness.
One of the first things you can do to create meaning in your team is to discuss goals. Sit down and choose goals to measure. You should always have something you’re working toward.
If you’re not sure where to begin, remember that your company’s mission and vision can give insight into why your team is doing the things they do. Using that as a starting point can help you direct the conversation.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a one-time conversation. It should be a regular topic brought up in meetings to ensure you remain dedicated to what the company stands for.
It’s also essential to make your work matter. Tracking goals and progress all the way through to completion is important. Consider the outcome and note the differences your team has made. These things add to a sense of purpose as you move forward with new projects and tasks.
3. Keep Work Interesting and Challenging
The work your team members do should be challenging. This makes it interesting and keeps them occupied.
However, there’s a difference between a challenge and an impossible task. The former is useful for a team to grow while the latter can make people feel dejected or as if they can’t make a difference. Always err toward a challenge, but make sure it’s possible to meet.
Every team is different so you’ll need to find the balance that works best for them. Gauge your team’s skills and abilities when choosing the right goals to keep things exciting.
4. Flexibility in Their Work
It’s no secret that workplace flexibility has become a popular benefit. Flexibility doesn’t just improve happiness, but can also improve employees’ health and well-being. A Harvard study found that flexible working arrangements can improve heart health, particularly for workers over the age of 45.
There are multiple ways companies can offer flexible work options to their employees.
- Flexible vacation policies: Offering flexible paid time off policies can go a long way in improving employee happiness, provided employees actually use it. It’s a good idea to take note of employees that aren’t taking advantage of this policy and encourage them to take time off.
- Virtual or hybrid work: Working from home is an excellent way to provide flexibility. While fully remote jobs are common, offering hybrid work is another route you can take if you’d prefer to regularly interact in-person with your coworkers.
- Flexible start and end work times: Another excellent option is to offer flexibility in when employees actually work. Keep in mind that it’s important to ensure that employees’ hours overlap, however, particularly if you have a distributed team that operates across time zones.
- Increased autonomy: Giving employees more autonomy in their everyday work and when they complete their tasks is a good way to help them feel trusted, and improve overall satisfaction.
If implementing these options seems overwhelming, consider trialing one or two at a time. Ask your team for feedback and measure the impact to productivity and employee satisfaction.
It’s important that your employees know it’s a trial and are on board, however. Hiring a fully remote employee and then changing your mind and expecting them to return to the office isn’t likely to improve their happiness.
5. Mental Health Resources and Support for Employees
Happiness can’t be achieved without mental and physical health. For this reason, mental health is becoming a top well-being concern in the workplace.
The World Economic Forum found a clear correlation between mental health scores and productivity. The mental health scores for the most productive employees were twice as high as the least productive. Unfortunately, despite this, one in four people struggle with their mental health.
A McKinsey study showed that both on-site and remote employees are concerned about well-being, flexibility and connection.
Burnout is a serious issue and it’s important to avoid it. Having regular check-ins with each team member is important in preventing burnout. These check-ins are an excellent way to:
- Find out how people are feeling
- Discover areas where they could use help
- Identify any obstacles they’re facing
It’s also useful to encourage transparent and open communication with your employees. This is especially essential when it comes to one-to-one meetings. Your workers should feel as if they can come to you for help whenever it is needed.
Finally, make sure you respect employees’ time off. Going on vacation is supposed to offer a time to relax and kick back. If you’re sending emails and messages to them the entire time they’re gone, they won’t get the respite they need.
6. Avoid Micromanaging
If there’s one thing you want to avoid in terms of what makes employees happy it’s micromanaging. When you stand over your employees and watch their every move, it makes them feel as if they aren’t trusted. It can make them have doubts about their own abilities, which you do not want to foster.
Instead, empower your employees. Give them the chance to make some of the big decisions on the team. This results in employees who feel they can handle anything, rather than workers who look to you when a decision has to be made. However, make sure you provide support for the workers as they make these decisions. Be a helper to them when it’s needed.
Micromanaging is detrimental to employee happiness. Wherever possible, create fluidity in roles on your team. Giving autonomy to employees makes them feel trusted and helps keep them in high spirits.
7. Facilitate Employee Connection
Another aspect of what makes employees happy is connection.
As the leader of a team, you should work to create moments where team members can connect and relate to each other. Adding any form of engagement to the team will result in happy feelings that do the company well.
If you’re unsure where to begin, consider an experience that’s intended to foster connection in your team. For example, Teamraderie’s Tartine Bakery and Coffee & Tea experience is a great way for team members to connect over a shared tasting experience. Our International Snack Journey is another excellent example, and can open the door to important conversations surrounding inclusion as well.
Improve Employee Happiness With Experiences
It’s important to show your commitment to improving employee happiness. It’s not enough to simply claim to care without taking actionable steps. Offer help whenever it’s needed. Prioritize employee well-being. Step in when someone might be having trouble. You might be surprised by how far these steps go.
A great way to begin is by facilitating shared employee experiences. At Teamraderie, we offer an extensive range of outcomes-based experiences to promote joy, well-being, productivity, inclusion, engagement, and more.