how to prioritize employee happiness

In a candidate-driven market, employers need to set themselves apart from their competition. Top performers have choices. With so many employers to pick from, will they choose you? You have to give them a reason to. Being a happy, positive place to work is a good start.

It’s important to understand what’s at stake. It’s estimated the average person spends 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. While no-one expects lollipops and unicorns all the time, it’s reasonable to hope – to want – most of that huge part of our lives to be happy. Otherwise why would anyone bother to get out of bed?

how to prioritize employee happiness

happy employees are better for the bottom line

In today’s world of work, employers who don’t give a fig about their employees’ physical and mental health and well-being are not only short-sighted but doomed to falling bottom lines and production levels that don’t come close to projections.

Science tells us happy employees work harder. They’re more collaborative, productive and perform at a higher, more accurate level because happiness breeds energy and is invigorating. They’re more flexible and agile, and take on extra work when necessary. They contribute to organizational value; in fact, stock prices of companies whose employees have high overall job satisfaction are higher than those who don’t.

Simply put: organizations perform better when employees perform better. Likewise, happy employees have fewer health issues, lose less time at work due to stress and illness, and generally live longer and are more productive. That’s a huge savings that offsets whatever costs are associated with improving the workplace environment. And most importantly, if your employees are happy, it’s likely your customers will be too.

Here’s what you can do to make your employees look forward to coming to work:

start at the top

It’s said people don’t leave a job as much as they leave a manager. Let your management level people know this is where the organization is going and get their buy-in. Employee stress and depression is often a result of a poor manager creating a toxic environment. Managers who can’t get on board need to get off at the next station. Once your employees see you whipping your management into shape, they’ll realize you mean business, that their happiness is your business.

pay attention

Talk to your employees, in person and/or by survey, to find out what their pain points are. You’ll not only be signaling that you care and want to work with them to make improvements but you’ll gain valuable insights into what it really will take to make them happy. 

compensate fairly

Make sure you’re compensating your employees fairly and competitively. While not all organizations can afford to pay top salaries, with drive and creativity there are benefits beyond salary every business, regardless of level, can implement to level the playing field. And think about how you can promote and reward hard workers; again, while money is a great motivator, extra time off, assistance in professional development, more responsibilities and management opportunities appeal to employees looking to grow within your organization.

communicate

Provide feedback – good and not so good – constructively. You don’t have to filter out negative comments to keep your workers happy as long as you frame it properly. People need and want to know how they’re doing and where they can improve. Your feedback should be encouraging and include suggestions for improvements.

  

So why should you care if your employees are happy? Happy employees are engaged. They’re loyal even when economies fall. They promote your business to customers and other top performers looking to change jobs. They contribute to organizational success and value. They work hard and exceed expectations. Make your employees happy and you’ll have an organization where people – including you - want to be.