It can be awfully hard to get anything done at work when your employees are miserable. On the flipside, when they’re in a great mood, tasks seem to be easier to complete.
According to the University of Warwick: Happy employees are 12% more productive than their more miserable peers.
Quite simply, your brain works better when you’re in a good mood. Forward-thinking businesses have already connected the dots. They understand that investments made to improve employee morale today pay dividends down the road as output ticks up.
How happy are your employees? Whether they’re grinning ear to ear or have the most tragic frowns stuck on their faces, chances are they could always be at least a little bit happier. Here’s how you can make that happen:
1. Reward your employees — often
Many of your employees work hard for you day in and day out. When they go above and beyond and do a great job, it can be really difficult to be greeted with silence from management. What’s the point in working hard if nobody ever seems to notice?
Make it a habit to reward your employees on a regular basis. Whenever someone does a great job, don’t hesitate to offer that individual your praise — in a very vocal and public manner. You could also start a new tradition, like giving out a $25 gift card to Amazon at the end of each month to the person who put in the most effort or had the most victories.
When you congratulate workers on a job well done and really show that you mean it, they’re more likely to work even harder next time. And when you specify what they did well, they can continue to replicate that behavior.
2. Build an awesome office
Working in cubicles can be absolutely miserable. If your desk is positioned unfortunately enough, you could theoretically make it the entire day without seeing the sunshine (particularly during winter).
To make your employees happier, think about ways you can improve the layout of your office. Better yet, be on the lookout for new office space — and switch locations when the timing’s right. Large, open workspaces with lots of natural light can go a long way toward improving employee morale.
3. Offer the best perks you can think of
Everyone works for a paycheck. The heavier that paycheck is, the more likely the employee is to be happy at work. Beyond increasing their salaries, though, you can also make your employees happier by offering lots of perks.
For example, let them make their own schedules. Let them work where they want to work. Buy them catered lunches every so often. Build a company game room and don’t be mad at them when they spend a half hour playing ping-pong. They don’t have to be fancy perks — just ones that will make their lives easier.
4. Listen to your employees — their ideas and their complaints
One of the easiest ways to make your employees feel valued — and therefore happier — is to proactively solicit their feedback. But it’s not enough to simply ask questions. You need to actually listen to their responses.
If a worker has a killer idea, turn it into reality — and fast. Ask them how processes can improve. After all, they’re the ones in the trenches. They’ve probably figured out ways to do work more quickly and efficiently.
5. Give ample opportunities for professional development
Your employees want to advance in their careers; no one wants to be the newbie forever. Do what you can to invest in your employees’ futures. Let your workers attend relevant conferences. Host optional workshops aimed at developing (or enhancing) specific skills.
Your employees will notice your investment, and they’ll feel happier knowing you care about their careers.
There’s no reason your employees should be miserable at work. By thinking creatively and making a few changes here and there, you’ll almost certainly improve your team’s morale. And the corresponding boost in productivity will work wonders for your bottom line.
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