Engaged professionals are better professionals. But how do you make them engaged and happy? We got 18 ways for you to achieve that.
As an employer or HR professional you’re probably looking for ways to make your team members happy. Right? If not, you definitely should. Studies have shown that happier people work harder. Employees with high job satisfaction are generally more productive, engaged and loyal towards their companies. Conversely, low employee engagement leads to low productivity, high personnel turnover, and financial losses. So, keep ‘em happy and engaged. But that’s easier said than done. That’s why we got 18 ways for you to increase your employees’ engagement and happiness.
A healthy work-life balance is one of the main reasons why working parents and millennials take on a job. It’s an absolute necessity for most of us. The most straight-forward way to assure a healthy work-life balance is by allowing them to work wherever and whenever they want. Flexible working has undeniable positive effects on your employees’ well-being and therefore on their productivity. They might work longer hours because flexible arrangements could reduce their commuting time. They might choose to work during their personal productivity prime time. Or work extra hours during the organization’s peak times in exchange for flexibility at other times.
Flexible working will give your employees the tools to plan work and private life. They’ll have the opportunity to create a fulfilling and balanced life, without stress, guilt, and conflict. Enable them to make work a part of their routine, instead of an obstacle for a balanced life. They’ll be more relaxed and better professionals for it. According to David Ballard, assistant executive director for organizational excellence at the American Psychological Association:
“To engage the workforce and remain competitive, it's no longer sufficient to focus solely on benefits. Top employers create an environment where employees feel connected to the organization and have a positive work experience that's part of a rich, fulfilling life."
There you have it.
Giving your employees tasks won’t cut it. Make your employees part of the bigger picture, it’ll make them happier, give them direction and add meaning to their work. Employees want to be involved. And they want to contribute. But in order to contribute, they need to know where the company is headed. Every task, even the seemingly futile ones, gets meaning when it’s part of a bigger goal. That’s why you should involve your employees in your long-term plans and in your mission.
Nowadays, employees expect an employer to offer more than just a stable income. They are looking at the values a company carries across, the office culture and meaning the work offers them as employees. They want to be part of an organization that matches their personality. But how can you achieve this?
The best way to achieve the previous point is to involve your employees. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, defining company values should be a family affair. You want every member of your team to buy in, right? Involve your employees when you define your values. Let them define values not only on what you want your company to be, but also on what impact the employees want to have on your customers and society as a whole. You’ll establish a sense of commitment and ownership, and consequently engagement at work.
Transparency and honesty can go a long way. This piggybacks right on the previous two points. In order to keep your employees happy and engaged you need to be transparent. How else will they know the bigger picture or be able to define the values? Your employees need and have the right to know where your company’s headed. Uncertainty and ambiguity lead to unrest.
But you need to be transparent and honest on an even more basic level. Allow them to be honest towards you, and reciprocate their feedback with honest and constructive communication. Be clear in what you expect on a day-to-day basis and allow them to chime in without any inhibition. This will only make you more trustworthy as an employer, more reliable to your employees and increase employee engagement and retention.
Career advancement is a major reason why employees remain engaged. While it’s slightly less valued than work-life balance, your employees still need an overview over where they’re headed personally. Not only do you need to offer them perspectives, but you also need to establish a roadmap with them.
A study performed by Maria Kraimer has shown that providing developmental support to employees pays dividends for your company and employees alike. Your employees will be happier and more motivated.
Just like a company, employees want to grow and improve. If you manage to create a set of near-future and long-term perspectives for every employee, your entire team might be in it for the long haul.
A simple ‘Thank you’ goes a long way. There are some studies that suggest that a mere expression of appreciation is the No.1 factor for employee happiness. Debatable, but the positive effect of appreciation is undeniable.
If you do want to reward your employees, be mindful. There’s a whole plethora of rewards out there. You can reward your highest performing employees with incremental vacation days, a salary bump, an extra level of life insurance or disability insurance, gym memberships etc., It’s important to provide higher benefits so your employees know that you truly care about them and their families.
Having said that, you should keep in mind that reward frequency is more important than size. Smaller frequent positive feedback and rewards will keep people happy longer than a single large infrequent happy event. Even the biggest awards or raises wear out in less than a year, with most employees responding better to small doses every few days.
...is the basis of everything. Without communication, all is for nought.
You want your employees to be happy? Lead by example. Walk into the office with a smile on your face, be diligent in want you do and make everyone feel important. Your employees will reciprocate.
When it comes to their respective jobs, your employees are probably right most of the time. So, trust their judgment. You’re already a coach, allow yourself to become a coachee, and learn from them. Stop acting like you know the answer to every question, your employees see through that all-knowing front. Instead, be honest, and admit that you don't know everything that's being told in a meeting. Allow them to share their expertise with you. You'll only gain in employee engagement, goodwill, and knowledge.
Although repetition can improve productivity, it can also be very tedious. Consider breaking up your employees’ week by having them ‘buddy’ up with someone from another department, or get them working for a few hours a week on something charitable.
Money. Not the No.1 factor for employee engagement, but it’s pretty close. This piggybacks on the point I made about rewarding. Money is a commodity, but it’s also a tool to show appreciation. An employee might be engaged and performing very well, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that he or she might be shy to breach the subject. So, it’s up to you as the leader or the HR official to discuss the topic. Do it sooner, rather than later. There’s no point in offering more money to an employee who’s about to leave.
I’ve mentioned transparency earlier. That entails transparency about job security. If an employee’s nervous, his or her engagement and productivity drops. No one wants to feel anxious about their position each week. Have a regular discussion about the company's direction, and where you hope every team member will be in the future. Your employees’ engagement and loyalty will go through the roof.
Most organizations aren’t keen on sharing their financial situation. Not even towards their team. However the profitability and therefore longevity of an organization are often questioned by those within it. Talking about the finances in detail might be unnecessary, bu. This will reassure your employees, and improve trust and employee engagement.
Prioritize relationships. Your employees’ engagement does depend on their relationship with you. You needn’t be best friends. But you should be able to be respectful, honest and transparent with one another. Nip any semblance of a conflict between you and an employee in the bud with a private conversation. This will keep the morale high.
Again, prioritize relationships. Amongst your employees. Make sure your employees get along nicely or interact respectfully at least. There’s nothing worse for an employee than being stuck in a team with someone whose personality doesn’t match theirs at all. When colleagues get along great, employee engagement rises.
There’s nothing worse than being bored at work. Employees who are consistently unsatisfied with work that doesn’t engage, won’t stick around long. Work isn’t always going to be fascinating and fulfilling, but it’s important to incorporate interesting projects into the day-to-day work to help keep people engaged.
These tips are bound to keep your employees engaged and happy. But this list is definitely not finite. Don’t hesitate to contact us with you ways to increase happiness and engagement in your company. We’ve got plenty more tips for you to apply in your company. Discover 7 ways to build a community.