Let’s face it, work is hard! Dealing with work stresses day in and day out is tedious and learning how to find a balance between work and life outside of work is more than a challenge. However, more companies are learning how to offset workplace stressors by creating a happy place to work. They now realize that happiness is essential for their employees’ success—and for the success of their business.
Happiness is contagious, and when encouraged, can spread through an entire company. Happy employees, who find joy in their work, make excellent role models for their colleagues and can encourage them to also feel a sense of pride in their work. Happier employees are more willing to work together for the common good, and are more likely to encourage company loyalty and inspire strong team building. All of these factors are vital to fulfill a company’s overall goals. Creating a positive environment takes strong top-down and bottom-up approaches. It takes creativity and presence of mind.
Here are five easy ways to ensure a happier team:
1. A Culture of Caring
Company culture is the primary driving force behind employee happiness. Culture is important because it is the very foundation of every organization—a strong and empathetic culture is an acknowledgment that people are the most critical assets for the company. Virtually every employee today seeks a workplace that is focused on respecting and caring for its people. It makes people happy to feel respected and cared about. Taking a little time to find out how things are going in their lives makes a big difference to how employees feel. That doesn’t mean spending hours at the water cooler having conversations about people’s lives. It means remembering to take the time to simply ask, “how are you?”
2. Consistently Deliver Praise and Recognition
Did you know that feeling unappreciated is the top reason why people quit their jobs? It’s true.
So, what can companies do to ensure employees are being consistently recognized for their hard work?
Create a system that makes it easy. Companies can a create a monthly or quarterly award for the team member that most embodies their core values, and brand it with something inspiring to communicate the intent behind the award (e.g., the entire team can vote every month to name a Value Victor). Another great idea is to profile one or two superstars that have done exceptional work—or have simply been trying their very best—in the monthly newsletter.
Encouraging spontaneous praise is another great way to make employees feel good. Send a company-wide email when someone is going above and beyond or give it a personal touch by sending them a handwritten note. The unexpectedness of the gesture will give the employees a much-needed boost to keep up the effort.
3. Invest Where it Really Matters
Investing in employees is more than just supplying free coffee (although employees appreciate that simple perk). Organizations that get the most from their employees are the ones that aren’t afraid of investing in their success. So, what does investing in employees mean?
It simply means training employees to help them maximize their potential and mentoring them so that they can overcome any challenges they may face. Continuous education and professional development are necessary to allow employees to feel happy and engaged. Creating a positive workplace where employees feel empowered with the right tools and resources to perform at their best is critical to finding happiness at work.
4. Offer Flexibility
A lot of stress in life comes from conflicting priorities. People who are given the flexibility to focus on what’s most important in the current moment live happier, healthier lives. Companies can help employees achieve this balance by setting clear expectations but trusting them with the flexibility to set their own priorities and schedules. As long as the work gets done, does it matter whether the employee is in the office 9-5? Typically, no, and this freedom can help to cultivate a happy and engaged workplace filled with productive people.
5. Throw Fun Events That Allow People to Interact and Bond
It’s a fact: having friends at work makes going into the office more fun. It helps to create a sense that employees and their colleagues are all in it together.
Hosting fun events at regular intervals gives employees the chance to connect with their coworkers on a more personal level.
Taking employees outside the work environment is a proven way to get people together and socialize, but companies can also do things like a monthly office breakfast /lunch, a quarterly after work activity—such as bowling or karaoke—or organize employee fundraising initiatives. Gathering everyone together for a cause that people feel passionate about not only strengthens bonds, it also gives people a sense of purpose, which always leads to happiness.
Creating a happier workplace will lead to a more pleasant environment all around, greater productivity and ultimately, reduced turnover. These changes can boost morale and encourage people to show up every single day and love their job enough to do it well. A happy workplace can be achieved if companies take the time to make it a happy workplace. It won’t be a major cultural change at first; however, slowly but surely, the workplace will become a happier space and people will do better work. Now that should make everyone very happy.