How to keep employees happy
7 steps to satisfied employees – and skyrocketing profits
Employee happiness is getting a lot of attention in today’s workplace – but why should you care? It’s easy: Research demonstrates the link between happy employees and thriving business. One indicator found that happy employees are 20% more productive than their counterparts; that figure rose to 37% when assessing sales people. Discovering how to keep employees happy doesn’t just make sense – it makes dollars.
If employee stats aren’t enough, look to the stock market, where stock prices rose by 14% per year between 1998 and 2005 for companies listed under Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Wondering what makes employees happy? You’ll need to take a look at your own company culture.
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How to make employees happy
Understanding the basics of how to make employees happy in the workplace doesn’t always translate into concrete results. You know what makes employees happy, but how do you incorporate those things into your culture? Here are 7 practical strategies to get you started.
1. Understand employees’ personalities
If you want to know how to keep employees happy, you must first understand them. Getting to know your employees not only helps you place them in a position befitting their skills and disposition, but can also give you the information you need to reward them in ways that will inspire them the most. Create protocol for hiring, training and rewards and promotions that assesses an employee’s DISC profile (an employee’s dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness) – categories derived from Dr. William Marston’s behavioral dimensions.
People who operate best when allowed to be direct, results-oriented, decisive and competitive are often skilled negotiators, problem-solvers, managers and leaders.
People who are largely charming, enthusiastic, optimistic, persuasive and inspiring are “influencers” capable of working collaboratively with diverse teams.
People who consistently exhibit traits like being understanding, team-minded, patient, stable and sincere are often dependable in managing or collaborating with others.
People who are known for being analytical, diplomatic, precise, compliant and objective are valued as “work horses” in business due to their ability to remain objective on the job.
2. Understand your own business identity
As a business owner, you must understand your business identity. What makes you “tick”? Depending on your skill set, talents and interests, you likely fall under one of the following categories more than the other: artist, manager or entrepreneur. By understanding yourself and your perspective, you’re better able to assess staff in a fair, accurate and non-judgmental manner.
3. Cement your highest vision
A viable, long-lasting business is characterized by far more than just record profits. Embracing what makes employees happy means creating a workplace where all staff feel they’re part of something bigger. Successful companies are also categorized by a culture of innovation and excellence, inspired by visionary leadership. When employees know what they are working toward and are inspired, rather than dictated to, they’ll take pride in their work and you’ll get the ultimate outcome: employee happiness.
4. Build trust
Research indicates that what makes employees happy at work requires something far less tangible than money: trust. Researchers measured the brain activity of people at work, and the results were clear: Trust in the workplace makes staff more productive, excited and innovative on the job. The study also found hormonal components in workplace trust. The brain chemical oxytocin facilitated trust, connection and generosity on the job, which generated employee contentment. Start with being open and honest with your team, truly listening to them and working on relationship-building with fun outings and collaborative brainstorming sessions. Trust builds naturally from there.
5. Reduce stress
While high oxytocin facilitates trust, low oxytocin can decrease interstaff bonding on the job – and stress lowers oxytocin. As you learn how to keep employees happy, take every measure possible to minimize workplace stress so that employees can get their jobs done efficiently and without burnout. Promote work-life balance, encourage vacation days, create a collaborative environment, give clear direction and get your team the tools they need to do their jobs well. Stressed employees are not productive employees.
6. Provide recognition
Your employees are human, and like any human, they want to feel appreciated. They want their contribution to the company to be celebrated. The best news for managers is that this part of how to make employees happy in the workplace doesn’t have to be complicated. Verbal acknowledgment, quick handwritten thank-you cards or an announcement at an all-company meeting go a long way toward making employees feel recognized.
7. Ensure smooth sailing
Running a smooth-sailing business is one of the most rudimentary components of what makes employees happy in the workplace. Imagine sailing a ship without adequate supplies, technology or crew to keep the ship afloat. How long would you stick around? The scenario applies to modern businesses. When a company’s systems fail, decreasing productivity and overall job satisfaction, it’s likely (if not inevitable) that employees will look for more stable options. To ensure you really have happy employees, make sure all your business operations run smoothly. Then, and only then, can you achieve lasting business growth.
How to keep employees happy
The answer is more straightforward than you might think – and it’s not salary. Today’s worker wants professional and personal development opportunities, a job and company they feel proud of and personal recognition for their accomplishments. One study found that salary ranked dead last of seven criteria when participants were asked what was important to them.
That’s not to say salary isn’t important at all – you’ll certainly attract better talent if you offer a good salary. But salary only goes so far. What will really set you apart from your competitors is building an organizational culture that provides purpose, passion and personal development and truly revolves around how to make employees happy.
Understanding how to keep employees happy requires diligence, patience and commitment to your company’s long-term health. Get a jump-start on creating happy employees by assessing your and your staff’s workplace personalities. Take Tony Robbins’ DISC assessment to obtain the data and know-how you need to take your business to the next level.
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