It seems like a no-brainer that employees that are happier will be more productive within an organization. Employees that are content are usually more willing to contribute cheerfully, fighting fires with more grace and not moaning and groaning about the pressures of daily operations. When you are very close to the subject, though, it may be difficult to spot the ways to improve employee satisfaction, contentment, and overall happiness.
- Stop the Micro-Managing
Employees that are micro-managed tend to feel that they are not trusted or worse, that they are not capable. When managers step back and encourage employees to think on their own, the results may be surprising. Employees will usually feel more capable and the work environment will be more pleasant for both employees and managers.
- Give Feedback Frequently
Knowing what is expected and how to accomplish it is key to the happiness of employees. Without feedback, employees will be neither content nor productive, in most cases. This can be highly damaging to an organization.
- Provide Incentives
Incentives should be a reward for employees that have reached a goal. Whether that goal is simply still being around when bagel Friday comes around or reaching certain previously defined accomplishments is up to the employer. Specific goals and incentives may be used to gear employees towards reaching specific accomplishments, but the use of incentives in general can help employees to feel more appreciated and challenged.
- Encourage Employee Socialization
Having a friend at work can make just about anyone feel better about coming to work. Employee socialization can be encouraged through company picnics, holiday celebrations, and many other small gatherings. Once a year get-togethers are apt to be less effective at bringing the team together than small weekly events.
- Promote Growth and Development
Good employees want to grow, both within the organization and personally. Providing opportunities for training and development within the company can increase contentment, but providing opportunities for employees to further education and growth outside of work can really make employees feel valued.
- Improve Work/Life Balance
Work/life balance is very important to keeping employees healthy as well as happy. Employers, managers, and HR professionals should be aware of how employees feel about their work/life balance. If employees feel that work is infringing upon the time that they get to spend enjoying their life, they may look for another job to find a better balance.
- Create a Pleasant Environment
The best way to create a pleasant environment may vary from workplace to workplace. It may be possible to allow employees to place pictures of family members in the office or to add “homey” touches in some offices. In other offices, professional standards may dictate décor, but managers may still be able to make employees feel welcomed and appreciated.
- Ask What Could Be Better
Last but not least, employers can find out how to make employees happy from the employees themselves. Suggestion boxes, employee satisfaction surveys, or even less formal conversations my all be productive to finding out what employees would like to change in order to be happier. Really listening and responding can improve contentment immediately, even if changes are not made.