“If you love what you do every day you never have to work another day in your life” Confucious Happy? Don’t dismiss the sentiment as soft. Experience shows that happy employees equal happy customers. That means everybody else-including the boss and the shareholders-will be happy, too. Sometimes happiness takes the form of a goldfish. Is your company’s atmosphere helping you succeed or paving the road to failure? In these increasingly difficult economic times, an enjoyable office can translate into a competitive advantage for your business. Escalating workplace happiness can benefit a company with increased productivity, reduced turnover, and greater employee flexibility. Happy employees may be more likely to shift gears, take on additional responsibility, and do whatever is necessary to help you stay in business. A manager or business owner can do several things to facilitate an enjoyable business environment including:
Communicate, communicate, communicate: Excellent, two-way communication is the cornerstone of a happy workplace. Employees feel valued when their ideas are heard and they are trusted with important or confidential information. From the bottom up, encourage opinions and suggestions, give employees a part in their own goal setting, and seek out any hidden challenges or frustrations so you can lend a hand. From the top down, communicate regularly and honestly about company direction, ideas under consideration, and changes taking place in the workplace.
Exhibit confidence: Instil confidence and optimism within employees by portraying it yourself. A positive attitude can lead an employee to persevere and think creatively in challenging times.
Set high expectations: Believe that employees can grow and progress and encourage them to push themselves to reach new heights. If you believe in them, they will believe in themselves.
Make goals attainable: Give employees what they need to obtain goals including suitable staffing, proper training, cross-departmental support, and necessary technology. Providing the proper tools will help employees achieve and aspire to improve.
Reward exceptional performance: Recognize and reward employees who have achieved goals, put forth extraordinary efforts, and fostered a positive company environment. A suitable level of appreciation goes a long way in motivating employees to continue to do their best.
Trust employees: Empower employees to think through important decisions on their own, providing the necessary mentoring and support along the way. An employee who plays an important role in the business is more likely to derive fulfilment and happiness from the job.
Supply advancement opportunities: Offer education, training, and opportunities for advancement. Encourage employees to take on new skills and responsibilities to realize their desire for growth. Employees are often happier when they are developing and learning.
Provide entertainment: Use and encourage humour, social activities outside of work, celebrations, and impromptu rewards for a job well done. Proactively make the workplace an amusing place to be so employees enjoy spending time there.
Encourage life outside of work: A balanced employee who has time for friends, family, and outside interests can be much more dedicated and focused when at work. Be flexible with time when possible as long as the work is getting done. Get to know employees by taking an interest in their lives outside of work and value each of them as a person, not just as an employee.
Build the right team: Hire happy, optimistic people and create a “work family” atmosphere. If an office is filled with positive, friendly co-workers, your employees are more likely to want to be there. It is up to business leaders and managers to create an enjoyable work culture that encourages communication, ideas, growth, and work-life balance. Taking a proactive role in cultivating this environment can result in a workplace that fulfils, motivates, and inspires employees each and every day. We coach them about appropriate resolutions, adding that the manager will have a conversation with the employee after the fact about what level of attention would have been appropriate in that situation. The benefits of giving them full reign to do whatever they need to do to take care of a guest far outweigh any mistakes that get made.