Nothing brings an organization to a screeching halt faster than a dysfunctional team. They are the face of your company, the ones who get it done and if they aren’t happy, then you won’t be either. Does it REALLY make a difference whether or not employees are happy or not? The answer: a resounding YES!
Between 55 percent and 80 percent of employees report that it is normal to feel that work is something to be endured rather than enjoyed, this according to Gallup. As an employer, I have always tried to provide the best workplace possible for my team. I have long had the firm belief that employees are a companies’ most important asset(that will be a post of its own)! Other business owners that I’ve associated with have often asked my why I try so hard to make my employees happy. My answer is simple: happy employees are more productive than unhappy employees. Its simple math. And it’s not just me. Forbes Magazine reported that happy employees are nearly 20 percent more productive. Back to simple math…how much to the bottom line does 20 percent more productivity add? Fostering happy employees is not only the right thing to do, its cost effective. A classic Win-Win.
Companies like Google, Apple, Patagonia and Adobe have made news by providing a list of perks for employees that might seem extreme. Working out on the sales floor, free food, sleep pods and recliner chairs for reading are just some of the unique things that these companies provide to make their employees happier. Making a correlation between these kinds of perks and increased revenue or other positive results can be a stretch for some but all of these companies have at least two things in common: they have uncommonly happy employees and their productivity is substantially higher than companies of similar size and workforce. It boils down to having an engaged workforce and developing that workforce on a personal level.
Imagine your employees coming in to work more rested, recharged and ready to tackle whatever might come their way and they know that their employer cares about their overall well being. When employees feel you care about them, they will respond. It builds trust, confidence and loyalty…all things that add directly to the bottom line.
One of the most expensive costs associated with unhappy employees is retention. Did you know that the average time an employee stays with an employer is 4.6 years. According to the Department of Labor, Millennial’s have an even shorter stay- on average 3.2 years. Employees who feel that they are valued stay longer while employees who feel undervalued are likely to leave.
So What Are The 6 Methods?
1. Continuing Education
Helping your employees pursue their professional and personal goals by furthering their education will pay high dividends. It encourages your team to learn new skills that they can immediately apply in their jobs, helping them to be more productive. In the United States, higher education can be a huge expense. Your participation in their personal development sends a strong signal that you care about them as an individual.
2. Offer Flex Time
If an employee is pursuing higher education or just going after something that has great meaning to them but it happens to conflict with their work schedule, you might consider offering flexible work time. Flex time requires a minimum amount of hours from an employee but lets them to do it on days and times that allow them to pursue other interests while still getting their work done. They get to pursue their passion and you get an employee who gets the job done and is much more likely to stay at their job.
3. Offer Personal Time Instead of Sick Time
Its a small thing and you’ve already budgeted for a set amount of sick time so allow your employees to take the time as they see fit. Calling it personal time lets your employees use their time without worrying about what the’re going to tell you when they call in. And it makes it more likely that they will take a break when they really need it.
4. Provide Learning Opportunities
Offer opportunities to educate employees on the latest advancements in training, technology, and industry. In addition to offering leadership development and training, stay up-to-date on unique opportunities such as local learning events and online courses. Offer to cover entry or sign-up fees if possible.
5. Be a Mentor
Share your experience, knowledge and ideas on specific topics with a staff member in order to encourage him/her to try new approaches to solving problems.
Mentoring program can help to align organizational goals with employees’ personal career goals (of progressing within the organization). It gives employees the ability to advance professionally and learn more about their work. This collaboration also gives employees a feeling of engagement which can lead to better retention rates and increased employee satisfaction. I’ve had friends tell me that while they didn’t really care for their job, they REALLY liked their boss and so wouldn’t consider moving on.
6. Talk to Them!
Have a conversation with employees individually. Ask them how they want to develop and what would help them feel more supported and satisfied. There’s no better way to provide personal development opportunities that will make a real impact at your organization than by asking employees directly what would make them happier workers.
Employee satisfaction is critical to the bottom line of any organization. As I said at the beginning of this post, happy employees will be more productive and just more pleasant to be around. It can help change and uplift the entire culture of your company. If you let your employees know that you support their personal growth goals and follow through with actual opportunities to grow, you will be well on your way to fattening that bottom line…oh, and they will love working for you.