Top Tips for Making your Workplace a Happy One
In opinion / By Charlotte Tobulevicius / 21 January 2020
According to the 2020 Investors in People’s annual Job Exodus Survey, 1 in 4 people in the UK are unhappy at work and 1 in 2 are looking for a new job. These shocking statistics show the scale of the problem that employers have when it comes to attracting and retaining staff by keeping happiness and staff wellbeing at the top of the agenda.
So, as an employer, you’ll be wondering how to create happiness in the workplace and ensure that your staff feel valued enough to stay with your organisation. We’ll give you a clue… it’s not enough to install a football table or vending machine! Your happy workplace ideas must be more varied. We’ve put together our top 5 ideas for making your workplace better and happier.
Give Staff a Sense of Meaning
In 1983, Steve Jobs asked future Apple CEO, John Sculley, to leave his job at PepsiCo by posing him one question: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”
This seemingly simple question sparked curiosity and imagination for John, which in turn gave him the chance to do meaningful work that would bring a sense of purpose and joy to his day-to-day life. When we give employees meaningful work that has a positive impact, it instils a sense of empowerment and allows them to truly feel happy about the work they are doing. In addition, employees who know their work has meaning tend to be more productive too.
We’re not expecting you to change the world, but it’s worth thinking about some of the work you ask your employees to complete and determine whether these tasks would have meaning to you. If not, change it up a bit to ensure that it does have meaning and isn’t just a menial task that ‘needs to be done’. It can be something as simple as working together with a colleague to learn or teach something new that can have a huge positive effect.
Promote a Positive Work/Life Balance
When you ask yourself what makes employees happy at work, you have to think about their circumstances away from the workplace.
The Investors in People survey also reported that 66% of people are looking for a better work/life balance. If an employee feels like they don’t have this, it can have a detrimental effect on both their productivity and mental wellbeing. It’s important for employers to remember that their employees have lives outside of the office. So, what can you do?
If you don’t have a remote/flexible working policy in place at the moment, it’s definitely something you need to adopt. More and more people expect companies to offer remote working at least some of the time and if your organisation isn’t, not only will you be at risk of affecting staff wellbeing and happiness at work, but you’ll also risk losing top talent to your competitors.
If remote working is a leap too far for your business, consider more of a flexible working model where your staff can opt to work flexible working hours to meet plans in their personal lives; whether that be finishing early to attend a friend’s birthday meal or working from home to take delivery of a new washing machine.
Launch Personal Development Plans
Without a career and personal development plan, it can leave people feeling like they're just ‘going through the motions’ and as though they don’t have tangible goals to work towards. This can be particularly damaging for your business because demotivated employees are less productive and tend to disengage with the organisation.
It’s important to gain an understanding of your employees, taking their strengths and areas for improvement into consideration. To put personal development plans in place, you should sit with each employee to discuss what goals they would like to be included in the plan and also what you think they should strive for; whether it be training in a new skill or working towards a promotion.
You should make it clear to your employees that you’re invested in them as individuals and want them to succeed, not just from a business perspective, but also to ensure they are meeting their own personal ambitions and career milestones. This will improve employee engagement, increase productivity and create a positive work environment with team members who have a clear path in their role.
Say ‘Thank You’
Receiving recognition at the company annual awards ceremony is great but receiving praise and a thank you from your boss right after meeting a tough deadline is much more validating.
When it comes to giving thanks, simple is better and most employees just want to hear ‘thank you’ a little more often. It’s not about creating a big song and dance months after the achievement in front of the whole company, a quick email showing appreciation in real-time can have a significant impact on an employee’s wellbeing, making them feel like a valued member of the team.
It’s important to be consistent and timely when it comes to thanks and praise, ensure you thank your staff at the time of the achievement and don’t just do it once; likewise, don’t thank your employee every time they do something. Look for occasions where your staff are going above and beyond, out of their normal job function and use these as your benchmark for giving thanks.
Encouraging your employees to praise each other is also a great way to make sure everyone feels appreciated, valued and has good job satisfaction – perhaps suggest that each department has a ‘feedback Friday’ session where they each take turns to praise a colleague for something they did that week.
Input Systems to Make Work Easier
Do you waste precious time waiting for outdated systems to load just so you can get on with your job every morning? Are you spending too much time completing menial tasks which could be automated?
If you answered yes to these questions, just think how much time is being wasted across your entire workforce for those using these outdated systems. And when you’ve done that, think about it in terms of revenue and how much that wasted time is costing you.
Implementing technology to help your workforce become more efficient is not only a great way to save time and money, but it also helps with staff wellbeing and happiness at work. Less efficient systems can lead to frustration for your teams who feel like their time is being wasted on getting their machines to work and simply put, they should just be able to come into work and get on with their jobs.
The first step is to take stock of your systems, review what everyone is using and then think about areas which could be improved to have the biggest impact. We’re not saying you should change everything at once, but even small changes such as automating admin tasks can have a positive impact on the workforce and give them the time back to focus on more important aspects of their job.
If you need help with reviewing your systems to find out where you could be more efficient, get in touch with our strategic consultancy team today to discuss how we can help with this.