Kelsie Davis, BambooHR
Some business leaders dismiss happiness as something that employees can do on their own time. Unfortunately, a lack of attention to employee happiness isn’t just bad business practice because it makes your workplace miserable, it also has a negative impact on employee productivity. In fact, one study found that when employees are happier, workplace productivity is increased by 12 percent, while unhappy employees result in 10 percent decreased productivity.
So, how can you help employees be happier at work and, therefore, increase productivity?
1. Get Connected
Looming deadlines, differences of opinion, high-stakes projects, and increasing industry competition can make employees forget that they’re on the same team. After a while, they could start treating each other like enemies as opposed to allies.
“Emotions are contagious. Just like the flu. If you’ve got one employee who is resentful and unhappy, it’s very likely their mood may start to influence others. It’s easy for folks to get defensive, offensive, or engage in power struggles – all without consciously understanding the real underlying issue. It’s how toxic work cultures are born,” said Stella Grizont, founder and CEO of Woopaah—a company dedicated to helping organizations and individuals flourish through speaking, coaching, and training services.
If you’ve noticed that friendly fire seems to be a regular occurrence within your organization, it might be time to help employees reconnect. Dedicating some time to team building and relationship maintenance can help employees feel more comfortable working through tough situations together and remind them that everyone is working toward the same goal.
One study found that when employees are happier, workplace productivity is increased by 12 percent.
2. Give Support
While perks and fun might give employees a spike in happiness, only more meaningful support within the organization can help employees reach long-term satisfaction.
Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick said, “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37 percent…Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”
While you might not have the budget Google does, you can still provide meaningful support to employees. For instance, even when BambooHR was a small company, we gave employees the flexibility necessary to lead a well-balanced life. As we added benefits, we focused on selecting ones that would have the most positive, long-term impact on employee well-being. As we continue to grow, we work with employees to develop skills and map their careers so that they can grow with us.
Supporting employees doesn’t have to be expensive. All it takes is careful thought from those leading the organization.
3. Provide Purpose
Chances are, some of your employees are sitting at their desks at this very moment pondering, “Why am I even here? Does this project even matter?” Unfortunately, this lack of purpose tanks productivity.
In one study of more than 1,000 executives, 93 percent reported that “understanding and embracing the mission/purpose of your organization increase[s] employee productivity” to some or great extent. What’s more, 73 percent reported that their principal driver is the belief that their work has purpose or meaning.
Perhaps one of the reasons employees at your company aren’t working toward the same goal and purpose (see above) is because they don’t know what that goal or purpose is. Clearly communicating organizational goals, the purpose of individual roles, and company culture—including mission and vision—are critical to helping employees understand the impact of their work.
Taking time to analyze workplace happiness can have a major impact on your organization. By helping employees connect with each other, giving them the support they need, and providing them with purpose, you can help employees be more satisfied and increase workplace productivity.
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