by Rae Steinbach
Have you spent much time thinking about how your employees feel about their work? It’s understandable if you haven’t made this line of thinking a priority in the past. As a leader, you have a lot of things competing for your attention, and workplace happiness can seem like a low priority.
While a lack of attention to workplace happiness may be justifiable, there is reason to believe that it is something to which you should be paying more attention. Research has shown that happy employees deliver more effectively and efficiently on smart goals and objectives and that companies with an upbeat workplace culture perform better than their competitors.
Unfortunately, a happy work environment is not something that happens on its own. In fact, the majority of workplaces are more likely to shift toward the negative if there is no initiative to develop and maintain a happy workplace.
Perks That Make a Difference
Pay increases can have an impact on the happiness of the individual, but the effect usually diminishes as the worker becomes accustomed to their new salary. On the other hand, providing your employees with a variety of different perks and rewards can be a good way to create a sustained increase in happiness among your staff.
Financial bonuses can work as a reward, but you can have more of an impact by providing perks that have a positive impact on quality of life. Things like gym memberships, health and wellness plans, bonus vacation time, healthy meals and childcare services can all go a long way toward increasing company happiness.
You can’t underestimate the value of recognition. Every person wants to feel appreciated, and we all want to know that we are being recognized for our contributions.
In a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 43% of employees said acknowledgment was an important part of job satisfaction. If you are not providing that recognition, your employees will feel undervalued. This can drive them to look for a job that offers better appreciation.
Many companies go with a structured recognition program that offers various rewards for meeting different targets, but the everyday displays of recognition can be more even more effective. You can send employees an email to express your appreciation at the end of a project, or you could simply stop by their workspace to tell them that you recognize their hard work and appreciate the value they bring to the company.
Strong interpersonal relationships are another important element of workplace happiness. By organizing team events, you can give your employees a chance to bond and develop the types of connections that will increase happiness in the workplace.
Offsite activities can be great for building bonds between co-workers, but it does not necessarily need to be anything that is particularly elaborate. Something as simple as getting everyone together once a month for an extended lunch break can be a great place to start. It’s not so much what you are doing with this time; the time spent together away from the work is what makes a difference.
Promote Personal and Professional Development
The desire for personal and professional development is a very natural part of being human. The problem for many employees is that it can often seem as though the demands of their career are stifling this growth.
As an employer, you can take advantage of this natural part of the human experience to make your employees happier and more productive. Encourage your team to continue learning, and offer the educational resources that will help them advance in their career. You could also provide resources to help staff attend seminars and engage with various educational programs.