Written By: Morgan Jones – International Director
As technology continuously ramps up its advances, more people can feel the demands of being constantly connected: that nagging feeling that the next email is right around the corner, or that the next incoming phone call could bring the next crisis needing urgent attention. That need to be responsive, often, even on your holiday. So, it’s not hard to imagine how employees could feel as if they’re working all the time. And, in fact, most of them probably are.
As a result, many employees are either withdrawn, indifferent, uninspired or outright unhappy in the workplace. And when this happens, they perform poorly and eventually leave their jobs. That’s not all, however. This can snowball into a slew of other problems, which can take a huge toll on your organization.
The hair-trigger response of the management is to beef up their incentive programs. Give the workforce more gift cards, free lunches and added incentives. But for the C-suites, are these enough?
The perks of happiness in the workplace
When employees are happy, they feel motivated to go to work, which translates into better customer service, which eventually leads to achieving business goals. In fact, companies that constantly top employee-happiness charts year-on-year enjoy benefits on Wall Street performance as well.
“Showing up feeling better means people work harder on a day-to-day basis,” says Ian Larkin, a management professor of the University of California, Los Angeles. Larkin’s study centred on how corporate-wellness programs affect workplace productivity.
Of course, all of this anchors on the initiatives of organizational leaders. C-suite executives can find many benefits of putting employee happiness and well-being at the top of their agendas.
How the C-suite can get involved.
Happy employees in a healthy work environment can increase employee productivity, which can then result in bigger rewards, including improved financial results. Here’s what you and other brass-plate executives can do:
Listen and empower. It goes without saying: leadership plays a key role in shaping company culture. One of the best ways that you can get involved in cultivating happiness in the workplace is by rounding up employees regularly to ask engagement-related questions. Here, you can have a better grasp of staff concerns, create an approachable persona, and even directly act on the issues.
Another good way to help increase employee well-being is by hosting regular town halls or executive-led branded events. Do these for every department or branch of the company to allow a more informal setting that can make employees feel more comfortable in discussing their concerns or grievances.
Create happiness ambassadors. Let leaders and select employees serve as evangelists or “happiness ambassadors” who can inspire the workforce. Take MailChimp’s lead. The company, a leader in marketing automation, also leads in transforming how a human-resources (HR) team should work.Through MailChimp’s happiness ambassadors, the company can connect and engage with employees, creating a culture of happiness that is potentially infectious. Aside from this, you and the HR team can onboard new leaders and initiate based on the importance of prioritizing employee happiness and morale in your organization.
Celebrate triumphs and milestones. There’s no such thing as too much revelry when it comes to happiness in the workplace. Company leaders should acknowledge successes, even small ones, to boost employee morale. This allows for an inclusive culture that recognizes even the smallest efforts that contribute to the greater good of the company.
When employees feel appreciated, they feel good about going through the daily grind. Even the drudgery of the most boring work, if ever there is one, can feel worth it. Even more, they will be motivated to continuously put in good effort and give their best performance.
Create fun. Take it from Zappos, America’s largest online shoe retailer. The company’s happiness business model has taken it to great heights in a short time since it was founded in 1999. The company allows its employees to have some fun and even be a little weird in the workplace. This culture allows employees to build more meaningful connections with each other, a genuine sense of community that not all companies have. In fact, one of their values involves concentrating on the happiness of those around one to help increase one’s own. And it works.
Let them grow. Focusing on their strengths and rewarding good performance while still allowing them to grow keeps your employees inspired. Encouraging them to learn will also help in empowering and pushing for employee happiness because they will feel inspired to not just do their best but to even strive for better. You not only lift them up but also create in your whole workforce a sense of purpose. You can do this by initiating company-sponsored training and educational opportunities for the staff to invest in employee growth and happiness.
Implement wellness programs. Putting a premium on employee health and well-being is a win-win situation in more ways than one. From company wellness drives to giving out sports watches and free gym memberships, healthier employees are happier employees. Company perks that allow them to be fit and healthy can encourage lifestyles that allow them to have boosts in confidence and more positive outlooks. Furthermore, when employees know that their leaders care about their health, you can expect that they will, in turn, take care of their, and your, customers.
You just can’t afford disengaged employees.
When your employees are unhappy, they’re unmotivated. They’re practically just turning up for the pay-check. They become disconnected from the workplace and are far less likely to be productive. You can’t expect them to take that extra mile, which in many industries can be detrimental. This is especially dangerous nowadays when a dissatisfied employee can easily and quickly call out an employee on social media, and that viral account can ruin your company overnight.