What makes a business successful is very different from a decade ago. A recent development is to pay more attention to employee happiness. Studies have discovered that companies focussing on employee happiness perform better than those who don’t. But how do you achieve that?
What are the advantages of happy employees?
To answer this question, we explored many recent studies. According to Gallup, disengaged and unhappy employees are 37% more likely to take unjustifiable leaves, 18% less productive, and can result in 15% less profit. These statistics make it clear why having happier employees matters!
We know that compensation and other perks are important. But they are not the only things that can make an employee happier. A positive, supportive work environment is just as important. It leads to psychological safety, better teamwork, and a sense of belonging. Those, in turn, can result in better, more qualified work.
Let’s take a look at the four most important factors that help create this supportive work environment.
1. Work-life balance
In a world where everyone is constantly connected, work-life balance is difficult to get right. For a company to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance, they should recognize that great company performance and personal life are not conflicting with each other. They go hands in hands as happier employees tend to have higher levels of performance.
Promoting work-life balance can seem to be a daunting challenge but the key to a healthier balance is to offer flexible work locations or work times. In conclusion, everyone’s circumstances and ideas of work-life balance are different, but flexibility will help to facilitate the different needs.
Pro tip: Have regular and open communication with your teams to find out which work enhancements work best for them for maximizing their productivity and happiness.
2. Encourage personal development
Building a culture that celebrates personal growth is an important ingredient for long term business success. Not only does it make employees happier, but it will also result in more qualitative work and collaboration in the workplace.
To stimulate personal growth, training programs can be offered that focus on specific expertise as well as soft skills. Letting employees choose is also a good tactic, as it stimulates them to think about what works best for them. Setting aside a budget to visit relevant conferences, gatherings of communities related to their expertise or online courses are also good alternatives.
Summary: Provide ways for your employees to develop themselves and grow as people. Ultimately, it’s in the best interest of companies to focus on the personal growth of their employees.
3. Celebrate victories, especially the small ones!
Celebrating big wins is something most companies do. But quite often, the small, personal victories are overlooked and forgotten. If you’d like to build an environment where everyone feels appreciated, it is important to celebrate and recognize small and personal wins along the way. When everyone feels they are an essential part of the company, employee engagement and productivity will increase too.
Break down big goals into smaller ones for every team to complete in a defined period of time. For example by making weekly goals, rather than monthly or quarterly goals. If a team finishes its goal, celebrate this at the end of the week. The week finishes on a positive note and it helps to clear the mind for the weekend. Having those small victories will also help keep your team focused and more excited about reaching greater goals in the end.
It’s also important to highlight personal growth and there is no better way than to do it with compliments. There are many techniques to stimulate this within teams or departments. One of our personal favourites* is the Post-it compliment jar. Other team members should occasionally write something positive about someone and put it in the jar. Once every week, the team can pick two or three notes, give them to the team member whom it is for and let them read it out loud. What better way to improve team culture and boost individual confidence!
Pro tip: Be creative in celebrating those small wins. It should never become routine or stale, as that takes away the charm and excitement.
4. Encourage spontaneous conversations
Spontaneous conversations are what bring your teams closer together, whether it’s online or in real life while making a cup of coffee. These interactions are incredibly important. It provides a welcome break from work, satisfies social needs, and can result in new bonds or friendships between colleagues.
With flexible hours or work location, those spontaneous interactions are not so common. We recommend taking proactive action to stimulate this, though. It will help to decrease stress and meeting-fatigue when working from home. Having a day full of meetings can be very detrimental to mental health. This is precisely why we built Sparkly for Slack, too!
The key to long-term business success is to treat your employees well. They are the foundation of your company. Happier and more engaged employees perform better, and so the company will perform better too. Following the advice in this article will help you to build this collaborative culture. If you already do everything we’ve mentioned, that’s great! We’ll cover more about employee happiness in future articles and take a deeper look into different methods.