Ask any employee whether their happiness makes for a great business strategy. They’ll all answer “Yes.” When we feel better at work, we also perform better at work.
Nic Marks from the New Economics Foundation (Nef), a researcher who has spent over 10 years working in the field, believes the link between people’s happiness and their productivity can range between 10-50%. That’s “10% for non-complex repetitive tasks” and “40-50% in service and creative industries.”
In an effort to ensure that their employees remain happy, healthy and motivated, it’s no wonder then that huge companies such as Google (Number 1 of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, 2012) invest so heavily in treats and amenities like subsidized massages, wellness centers and even basketball courts.
However, only a very small number of companies can afford to provide employees with these types of benefits. Luckily, bolstering employee happiness doesn’t need to cost a lot. With just a little creativity and some forward planning, every business can have happier employees if they really want to. Here are a few ways to get started.
Five ways to make employees happier and more productive
Paint the big picture: Creating a great team begins with ensuring that everyone is pulling in the same direction. The leadership within an organization should effectively and consistently communicate the big picture – the vision for the business. They must explain in a way that employees understand how their work will contribute to this vision and, ultimately, the difference they will make.
Do more than just listen: Human nature dictates that criticism is hard to swallow; however, it is also a liberating and productive experience when we learn how to take it well. Creating a truly open communication with an employee means that we have to learn to both give and take criticism. Employees regularly cite “Not being listened to” as their number one workplace frustration. However, listening is not enough; we must also learn to listen and then follow up. Only then can employees see that they are being taken seriously and their opinions count.
Provide lots of opportunities for growth: Opportunity for growth should not just include financial reward, further education or career advancement. Growth can easily become a bigger part of the daily routine. Giving unfamiliar tasks, opportunities to work with different people and even short-term leadership challenges can all serve to keep the working environment fresh and exciting.
Offer flexible working options: The advent of globalization and technological advancements such as Podio mean that work is no longer 9-5 or from one location. And while the office has its advantages, it can also have a disruptive effect on people’s home life, families and social time. Businesses needs to be aware and provide employees with greater opportunity and flexibility on when they work and where they work. Continuing to dictate the terms around time or place is no longer in anyone’s best interests.
Make technology serve people: Throwing technology at a problem does not mean the problem will be fixed. There are many times I have seen management introduce technology and later find out that it did not solve the problems – or it created new ones. Most of the time this occurs when the employees that were expected to use this technology were only consulted after the technology had already been introduced. Technology must meet both the needs of the organization and the needs of the individual employee to be effective. Therefore, it is critical that an organization considering new technology consult with and include its employees.
Internal collaboration using work platforms such as Podio has now being proven to contribute to the bottom line of companies who first strategize and plan how they will roll out their internal adoption. By empowering your employees and tapping into their intrinsic motivation, your company will benefit.
What other suggestions do you have for making employees happier and more productive? Please share them in the comments below.