It is probably well known by now that happy employees are more productive – in fact, according to research from Oxford University, those employees that are happier are around 13% more productive.
But ‘happiness’ is one of those elusive terms, in the sense that it can relate to a lot of different factors. For employers to figure out how they can contribute to creating happier, and in turn more productive, teams they need to consider what the ingredients for a happy employee might be.
So, what could employers be throwing into the mix to produce a happy employee?
- Aligning values – nowadays, employees want their values to align with their employers. One study found that 56% of workers won’t even consider a workplace that doesn’t share their values, and this suggests that a key aspect to an employee being happy at their place of work is feeling like they are amongst likeminded people. This highlights the importance of companies having clear mission statements, values, and goals that are openly shared during the recruitment and onboarding process, to demonstrate what the company is passionate about and, as a result, attract the most suitable talent.
- A sense of purpose – purpose is a driving force for feeling happy. Not only does a sense of purpose tend to foster positive emotions, it also leads to employees feeling like their work is more meaningful and so they are more productive as a result. Leaders should lead with a sense of purpose, and continually be reminding staff what it is that their role does to contribute to the bigger picture. This can help foster this sense of purpose and value, as it is outlining exactly how their role makes a difference to the organization and the world beyond it.
- Recognition – recognition is a great way of reminding staff how much they are valued for what they do and give to a company. While having formal recognition programs and procedures in place is a great thing, recognition can also be as simple as saying ‘thank you’ and showing appreciation in real time. This can make all the difference to someone’s mood, and promote a positive affirmation culture amongst teams as well.
- Intersectional inclusion – in addition to recognition for one’s efforts, it is so important for employers to be able to recognise the intersectionality of different employees. Ensuring that a culture of inclusion and belonging are created in the workplace will mean that each individual feels that they can bring their entire self to work every day, and will be appreciated for their differences and understood on a deeper, individual level. Those that feel seen at work are much more likely to be happy where they work and retained in the future.
- Human touch – while I appreciate the value of clear policies, so that everyone has the clarity they need around the way things work in an organization, some of the most moving stories I’ve heard in my career have been when companies know when to apply that human touch in unforeseen circumstances. For example, being flexible about bereavement policies and offering an employee the time they need rather than a strict numerical amount. This generates significant loyalty amongst staff, improving their happiness for where they work, and subsequently their retention likelihood.
There is no one size fits all approach to making every employee happy, but there are a range of different ingredients that should be consistently leveraged to ensure the best results. Once an employer is able to perfect this recipe for happiness and contentment in their workplace, they will see sharp increases in productivity, loyalty, trust, and retention.
If you would like to discuss how OrgShakers can help you embed these ‘happiness strategies’ into your workplace, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org