Studies consistently show that workplace happiness improves engagement and productivity.
International consultant firm iOpener Institute has collected data on the topic for years. As AsJessica Pryce-Jones, the institute’s CEO, writes in Psychology Today’s “The business case for happiness at work,” unhappy employees fail to meet business’s expectations. Employees who are least happy at work focus only 40% of their time—or two work days a week—on job tasks.
That’s certainly bad for productivity! These workers also spread negativity at their workplaces, with their poor attitudes and pessimistic commentary.
Fostering workplace happiness is clearly an advantage for your business. Let’s dive into what you’ll need to build a workplace culture based on employee engagement, respect, and happiness.
Must-Have Tools To Improve Workplace Happiness
1. Open Communication
Open communication is essential to a positive organizational culture, writes Jimmy Winskowski, of “happiness guru” firm TINYpulse, in “5 Communication Tips to Improve Workplace Happiness”:
“Having a team who are able to communicate freely, both on a personal and professional level, makes for better collaboration, productivity and a generally happier office vibe.”
His most important advice? Keep your employees informed about your company’s purpose and how their roles contribute to reaching goals. Two ways to do this are:
- Talk about your company’s mission and share your passion about it to excite your team about their work. Offer routine progress updates against annual and long-term strategic and financial goals so everyone feels like an important member of your team.
- Give regular, actionable feedback, both positive and constructively critical. The first shows employees you value them and how they’re providing value to the organization. The second helps them understand your expectations for them and how they can meet those expectations.
2. an Attitude of Fun
Hard work can still be fun! Hard-working culture where employees feel respected, valued and loved all starts with Management’s commitment to facilitating engagement between workers and Management.
Engagement begins with listening! Understand your employees – ask about their personal and family lives, what’s important for work-life balance, and what they love about the work they do. Facilitate peer time and build coworker relations. Create a space for relaxing or game-inspired breaks. Facilitate workplace get-togethers like mentoring or training, a n evenings out in the local town, family-based picnics and game events, community service opportunities or in-house health and fitness activities. If it’s not appealing to workers, it won’t be embraced, so create these efforts with employee input!
Studies show that employees stay in their jobs longer if they have friendships at work (it also makes for a happier, more relaxed environment!).
3. Development Opportunities
We all want to learn and improve our career opportunities — that’s true for someone on your plant floor as well as an executive! Employees appreciate knowing what opportunities are available for them at your company, what skills they’ll need to take advantage of opportunities, and ways to build those skills. You’ll see workplace happiness increase if you:
- Talk periodically with employees about their futures in your business. What are their goals? How can you help them reach those goals through experience and training?
- Offer training classes or send employees to seminars to help build specific skills they need to advance.
- Assign challenging projects that will help employees build specific skills.
- Start a mentoring program.
4. a willingness to learn
Building a great workplace culture is an investment in learning and trial and error. Many experts on workplace happiness have written how-to books for managers to help them instill happiness into their organizational cultures. The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center compiled a list, at “10 Books on Happiness at Work.” Here are three that we think managers will find particularly useful:
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
His covers the basics—how your company’s culture affects happiness and how trying to make those around you happy increases your own happiness significantly.
- The Joy of Work?: Jobs, Happiness, and You by Peter Warr and Guy Clapperton
Ward and Clapperton cite business and psychology research to explore happiness. They use studies, suggestions and strategies to teach you how to increase workplace happiness.
- The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer
Amabile and Kramer discuss how to remove progress obstacles, improve employees’ performance, and ensure employees are consistently positive and motivated.
5. a commitment to ongoing improvement
Building a workplace culture of employee engagement and happiness is a long-term investment. Savvy managers understand the value of measuring progress (and to provide data to management if needed). If you don’t already collect annual employee satisfaction and engagement measurements, be sure to capture baseline data before investing in new programs. Luckily, there are now great Apps and survey software tools that can help automate and make this process easy!
TINYPulse is a cloud-based service that sends employees weekly email surveys that enable them to provide anonymous feedback. It also provides data-analysis tools.
Happiily allows workers to anonymously share their satisfaction in four areas: work, boss, coworkers, and company. The software aggregates the results in a dashboard view.
Get Hppy is an employee engagement software that allows employees to confidentially report their moods.
Survey Monkey offers employee satisfaction survey templates and customizable surveys. Workers complete the surveys online and report their satisfaction in areas such as their roles and responsibilities, the work environment, their experiences with management, benefits, and skills they’d like to learn.
6. Attitude of Action
Technology can tell you how happy employees are, and you can ask employees what they want, but in the end, you’ve got to make things happen. Management must be on board. It doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive! Start with something easy – create employee suggestion boards and start talking with employees, gathering ideas and brainstorming.
Expressing interest in workers is a great place to start. They will feel valued and important. Listen to what they say, take it into account in the programs you build, and you’ll be on your way to building the foundation of a great workplace culture of employee engagement and happiness!
We wish you luck and success on your journey to building an even better workplace!
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement and recognition, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading.”
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