Employee Happiness: 12 Ways To Keep Employees Happy

Every leader has likely encountered this saying at some point in their career. But what if there’s a deeper layer to it?

When I delved into researching employee contentment in the office setting, I stumbled upon numerous articles and studies asserting that content employees breed innovation and bolster the cumulative productivity of their entities. A consistent theme in these pieces was straightforward; maintain employee well-being, and this positive sentiment will amplify the operational output of the organization.

However, the practical landscape isn’t so black and white. As a business leader, how often have you genuinely pondered over your team’s well-being and taken actionable steps to uplift their spirits?

You might argue that you’ve organized employee engagement initiatives and administered satisfaction surveys to gauge and enhance workplace contentment. Yet, these measures might not always yield the anticipated outcomes.

A fundamental reason behind this could be the subjective nature of happiness; it varies from individual to individual.

What is Employee Happiness?

Employee happiness encompasses a positive mindset towards one’s role, an eagerness to address challenges, receptiveness to constructive feedback, and an unwavering commitment to self-improvement without feeling overwhelmed. Content employees relish their tasks and exhibit robust engagement and job contentment.

In her book ‘The How Of Happiness’, Sonja Lyubomirsky suggests that happiness is divided into three facets: 50% is rooted in genetics, 10% is attributed to life situations (like family, health, etc.), and the remaining 40% springs from one’s personal perspective.

While employers might find it challenging to influence the initial two components, they certainly have the capacity to impact the last 40%. Discerning the elements that uplift employee spirits is intricate, yet reconfiguring the routine workflow to emphasize their well-being can be even more challenging.


Employee Happiness In The Workplace: 6 Ways to Keep Employees Happy

It’s universally acknowledged that heightened employee contentment cultivates a more harmonious work environment and streamlines team collaboration. However, for an employer, pivoting instantly to cater to every individual’s happiness quotient can be daunting.

We asked business owners about the actionable steps you can begin implementing to enhance the well-being and satisfaction of your team members. Here’s what they said:

1. Allow Employees To Voice Their Opinions

Fostering an environment that values open communication and empowers employees to freely express their opinions is crucial for maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce. One of the prevailing sources of employee discontentment arises from the perception that their perspectives are going unnoticed or undervalued. When employees feel their voices are marginalized, it can generate a sense of detachment from their roles and the overall company mission. Consequently, this detachment can progressively evolve into a deep-seated dissatisfaction that negatively impacts their productivity and commitment.

To counteract this potential disengagement, proactive measures should be taken to establish channels through which employees can articulate their thoughts without fear of retribution. Holding regular team meetings, one-on-one sessions, or even anonymous suggestion boxes are effective ways to provide outlets for expression. Furthermore, it’s not only important to give employees a platform to voice their opinions but also to actively listen and acknowledge their contributions. Managers and leaders should demonstrate genuine interest and appreciation for the ideas put forward, emphasizing that every viewpoint adds value to the collective growth of the organization.

In this conducive atmosphere, employees should be encouraged not only to voice their concerns but also to share innovative suggestions. Recognizing and rewarding employees for their creative ideas not only boosts their morale but also fuels a sense of ownership and belonging. When employees know that their opinions matter and can influence positive changes, they are more likely to invest themselves wholeheartedly in their roles, leading to increased job satisfaction and overall organizational success. Ultimately, fostering a culture of open communication and valuing employee input builds a resilient and motivated workforce that is aligned with the company’s goals and aspirations. – Jeremy Lesher, Co-Owner of Bluegrass Foundation Repair.

2. Recognize Their Good Work

A sense of underappreciation can often lead to dissatisfaction among team members. Celebrating their achievements is paramount to maintain their zeal and involvement. Highlight their successes and offer rewards. While monetary incentives are impactful, they can be ephemeral motivators. Numerous alternative recognition methods can serve to acknowledge commendable performance.

In addition to providing avenues for open communication and valuing employees’ opinions, it’s equally important to cultivate an atmosphere of recognition and appreciation. When employees’ hard work and contributions go unnoticed, it can breed a sense of unfulfillment that erodes their motivation over time. Acknowledging and celebrating their achievements is pivotal in sustaining their enthusiasm and commitment towards their roles and the organization as a whole. By shining a spotlight on their successes, whether big or small, you reinforce the idea that their efforts are valued and essential to the company’s progress.

While monetary incentives certainly hold their place, it’s crucial to recognize that they might not be the sole driving force behind employee satisfaction. Exploring diverse and creative methods of recognition can yield profound results. This might involve implementing a peer-recognition program where colleagues can commend each other’s contributions, organizing quarterly award ceremonies to honor outstanding performance, or creating a virtual bulletin board to showcase accomplishments. Tailoring recognition to individual preferences also adds a personalized touch that resonates deeply with employees. Some might thrive on public praise, while others might prefer private acknowledgments or additional responsibilities that showcase their expertise.

A multifaceted approach to recognition not only keeps employees engaged but also reinforces a positive company culture. When employees feel their dedication is being acknowledged and rewarded, they are more likely to stay motivated and enthusiastic about their work. This positive cycle can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher morale, and a more cohesive team dynamic. Ultimately, the effort invested in recognizing employees’ contributions generates a ripple effect that permeates the organization, fostering an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best. – Ilia Mundut, Founder and CEO of HeftyBerry.

3. Provide Training And Resources

Equipping employees with regular training and the requisite tools conveys that the organization is vested in their professional growth. Those who benefit from periodic skill enhancement often exhibit higher satisfaction and drive compared to peers who lack such opportunities.

Steady upskilling not only boosts individual proficiency but also aligns with the enterprise’s evolution in a dynamic economic landscape.

Furthermore, offering a comprehensive range of resources beyond just training modules can significantly contribute to employee development. These resources could encompass access to industry conferences, webinars, online courses, and mentorship programs. Such initiatives demonstrate a commitment to holistic growth, giving employees the chance to broaden their knowledge base and network with professionals beyond their immediate work environment.

In addition, when organizations provide ample resources for learning and development, it fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Employees become more motivated to stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices, which in turn enhances their overall performance. This culture of learning can also lead to innovative thinking and the introduction of fresh ideas within the company, as employees feel empowered to experiment with new approaches they’ve learned through training and resources. Consequently, not only does the organization benefit from a more skilled workforce, but it also gains a competitive edge in an ever-evolving business landscape.  – Gavin MacRae, Owner of GJ MacRae Foundation Repair.

4. Don’t Shift Priorities

One of the key elements that can diminish employee contentment is the frequent shifting of priorities.

Have you heard the phrase, “Drop everything and tackle this immediately”? Such directives, often wielded by inefficient leaders, can be vexing for employees, causing them to question the sudden urgency that alters their workflow. If it’s imperative for certain tasks to take precedence, the rationale should be transparently communicated. Understanding the underlying reasons can make it easier for employees to adapt and realign their focus.

Furthermore, the negative effects of constantly changing priorities extend beyond just confusion and frustration. When employees are constantly pulled away from their ongoing tasks to address new “urgent” matters, it can lead to a lack of productivity and a decrease in the quality of their work. The constant context switching prevents them from fully immersing themselves in their projects and delivering their best efforts. This can also lead to a sense of burnout, as employees feel like they are in a perpetual state of firefighting, never having the time to make meaningful progress on their important projects.

In addition, the frequent shifting of priorities can erode trust within a team. When employees are unsure about which tasks to prioritize and are constantly being told to drop what they’re doing for something else, it creates a sense of instability and unpredictability. This can result in a loss of faith in leadership’s decision-making abilities and a feeling that their work is not valued. Over time, this can contribute to a toxic work environment where employees are disengaged and less motivated to contribute their best efforts. In contrast, when priorities are communicated clearly and changes are made thoughtfully, employees are more likely to feel respected, motivated, and committed to achieving the team’s goals. – Chris Purvis, Owner of CCA Concrete Contractors.

5. Communicate Often

A significant challenge that persists in modern workplaces is the lack of effective communication. When there’s a disconnect between management and their teams, it invariably gives rise to complications.

Envision a scenario where organizational objectives aren’t lucidly relayed to the workforce. Employees, being the primary stakeholders, bear the brunt of this oversight. They truly thrive and feel invigorated when their roles, objectives, and expectations are articulated with clarity. And this instance is merely the tip of the iceberg. Inadequate communication can detrimentally impact commitment, output, and overall team spirit.

While seamless communication might not always be innate, it’s an art that can be honed with persistence. For managers, initiating dialogues is the pivotal first step.

6. Embrace Work Flexibility

With the evolving work dynamics over the past two years, there’s a growing inclination for employers to transition teams back to office spaces. But is the entire workforce ready to revert to traditional settings? Research indicates that 68% of US workers prefer the convenience of remote work. Some are even contemplating switching roles if deprived of the remote option. This highlights a distinct hesitation in returning to the old norms. Hence, integrating flexible working options can be pivotal in ensuring employee satisfaction and dedication.

Moreover, work flexibility doesn’t just benefit employees; it also holds advantages for employers. Companies that offer flexible work arrangements often experience higher levels of employee retention. When employees have the freedom to balance their work with personal responsibilities and achieve a better work-life integration, they tend to be more loyal to their organization. This reduced turnover can result in cost savings related to recruitment, onboarding, and training of new employees.

Additionally, embracing work flexibility can foster a culture of trust and empowerment within the organization. When employers demonstrate confidence in their employees’ ability to deliver results regardless of their physical location, it sends a positive message about autonomy and accountability. This, in turn, can boost morale and productivity as employees feel valued and respected, leading to a more positive and collaborative work environment. By recognizing the mutual benefits of work flexibility, companies can harness its potential to create a win-win situation for both the workforce and the organization as a whole.

7. Advocate for Work-Life Equilibrium

Championing work-life balance isn’t just about flexible timings, ample leave allowances, or family-centric provisions. Employers can actively emphasize this balance by dissuading excessive work hours and promoting regular intervals of rejuvenation. Incorporating work-from-home alternatives, wellness initiatives, fitness amenities, or relaxation activities can further enhance life quality.

8. Facilitate Growth Avenues

For holistic employee evolution, it’s essential to present opportunities that span career progression, mentorship, and multi-disciplinary training. Investing in employee advancement via seminars, conventions, and e-learning can empower them to navigate their professional trajectories, subsequently boosting job contentment and allegiance.

9. Cultivate a Supportive Work Ambience

Building a supportive workspace extends beyond team-bonding exercises and social gatherings. Involving staff in decision-making, valuing their input, and promptly addressing concerns are crucial. Encouraging inclusiveness and celebrating diversity can elevate commitment and foster unity.

10. Launch Comprehensive Wellness Initiatives

Beyond conventional health programs, emphasizing mental well-being, stress-alleviation seminars, and employee aid schemes can be beneficial. Advocating physical activities through fitness tasks, ergonomic workplaces, and sponsored gym memberships can enhance holistic health and concurrently decrease organizational health expenses.

  • Implementing a Holistic Approach

Taking a holistic approach involves addressing various dimensions of well-being, including physical, emotional, social, and even spiritual aspects. This can encompass workshops on mindfulness and meditation, fostering social connections through team-building activities, and acknowledging diverse belief systems. By recognizing that employees’ well-being is multifaceted, organizations can create a more inclusive and supportive environment that resonates with a wider range of individuals.

  • Promoting Work-Life Balance

In today’s fast-paced world, achieving a healthy work-life balance is essential. Encouraging flexible work arrangements such as remote work options or compressed workweeks can provide employees with the freedom to manage their professional responsibilities alongside personal commitments. Establishing clear boundaries around after-work hours and email expectations can help prevent burnout and improve overall mental well-being. Furthermore, offering family-friendly policies such as parental leave, childcare support, and eldercare assistance demonstrates a commitment to employees’ life stages and responsibilities, fostering loyalty and dedication in return.

11. Offer Competitive Remuneration

While a fair wage is imperative, additional perks such as result-driven bonuses, revenue distribution, or equity options can be enticing. Further, perks like flexible financial schemes, retirement benefits, and exhaustive medical insurance can enrich the compensation palette.

12. Promote Transparent Dialogue

Promulgating a transparent dialogue culture entails actively collating employee perspectives via polls, feedback mechanisms, or periodic individual consultations. Addressing their apprehensions, updating them on organizational shifts, and setting lucid expectations fosters a candid and trustworthy atmosphere.

13. Applaud and Commemorate Successes

Consistent accolades are vital, but personalizing such recognitions amplifies their significance. Publicly honor milestones, tenure completions, and outstanding contributions, both team-wise and organizationally. Introducing tangible tokens, such as presents, accolades, or unique entitlements, reflects sincere gratitude.

It’s vital to note that managers can’t miraculously conjure universal happiness. Contentment is inherently subjective, and while leaders can strive for workforce satisfaction, they can’t single-handedly achieve it. The onus of employee well-being shouldn’t solely be a managerial responsibility.

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