10 Small Things That Create Happy Employees
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take a lot to make some happy employees. Here are 10 small things that will improve your employee’s morale from 0 to 100 in no time at all!
Let’s face it: we spend eight hours a day (or more!) at work, which means we spend a lot of time with our fellow employees. And because we all want to spend our time in positive, energizing environments, this means that happy employees are a must!
Read on to learn ten easy ways to ensure your employees are happy at work.
1. Recognize Employees on a Regular Basis…
This one’s a no-brainer: the best way to retain satisfied employees is to thank and recognize them often. This includes big employee contributions, like cutting company costs by 10%, and little things, like remembering to mail a document with a time-sensitive deadline.
What happens if you don’t recognize employees? Well, it’s not so good: employees will quickly learn that their positive impact results in nothing in return. This means unhappy employees who are likely to slack off.
2. …But Keep it a Surprise!
While regular, consistent recognition is important, don’t make it so routine that it loses its meaning. Employees like to feel as though their contributions are genuinely appreciated, and this won’t be the case if you’re giving a back-pat every other day.
Recognition can be as a simple as a passing “thank you” or as grand as a cash bonus. But don’t forget to stay creative: consider a gift card to a local restaurant, a free month of yoga, or a box of chocolate macarons.
3. Sit Down & Find Out What Makes Happy Employees
One mistake that many employers make is assuming that all employees value the same things. Remember, rewards can come in many forms: cash, vacation time, gift cards, cupcakes. But how will you know if you don’t ask?
Whether you’re a new leader or this is an old gig for you, sit down with each employee individually and ask them about the things that fulfill them. Maybe Sandra wants to leave an hour early on Fridays, whereas Chris needs cash for a boat he’s looking to buy.
4. Offer Flexibility
One of the surest ways to make your employees happy? Get off their backs and give them something breathing space.
This means not micro-managing work assignments, but it also means respecting the fact that employees have a life outside of work. Grant employees the flexibility to leave for appointments or kids’ ball games, and show empathy when employees are dealing with marital or health issues that require flexible schedules.
Studies routinely show that work-life balance and flexibility are very highly-valued by employees. Consider working with HR on the ways to implement such practices.
5. Schedule Team Outings
Ever taken your employees kayaking on a Friday afternoon? If you haven’t, give it a shot. This is one of the most fun ways to engage employees and keep an energetic workplace.
Team outings don’t need to be expensive, timely affairs. A monthly themed potluck lunch is one idea, or perhaps a quarterly happy hour where everyone leaves work an hourly early.
6. Bagels & Coffee, Please
Surprise, surprise, we all love food and drinks! Take your employees by surprise once and a while and bring them a coffee service, hook them up with breakfast or lunch, paid for by you or the company.
This is especially important during high-stress periods, like before a quarterly deadline or just after the New Year when everyone is missing their time at home.
Feel free to get employees involved, too: send around a menu and tell everyone to place their order by 11 am, for a free lunch at noon. Then take lunch outside or to a conference room, giving everyone the chance to step away from the hustle.
7. Happiness Comes From the Inside
One of the best ways to keep employees happy? Start with them, not you.
An employee’s health – mental and physical – is crucial to their satisfaction at work. In fact, some companies now cover mental health counseling or gym memberships for their employees, since the relationship between health and work is so apparent.
How can you help? Encourage healthy habits, like “standing meetings” where everyone stands around the table instead of sitting, or drinking 5 glasses of water during the workday. Friendly weight-loss competitions are also popular.
8. Give Employees Decision-Making Abilities
To be happy at work, you need to feel as though you have meaning in the workplace. And nothing does that more than having the ability to make decisions about your job.
Give employees this freedom, particularly those that have demonstrated they are trustworthy and hard-working. By granting decision rights, you are allowing an employee to own the success of their projects, and many view this as its own form of positive recognition.
Decision-making abilities should always be assigned according to a person’s job level. You obviously wouldn’t let an intern sign off on legal documents, but if your junior IT guy wants to find a way to streamline business mailings, give him the resources to do so.
9. A Happy Environment is Key
Office environments today are not like they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. Gone are the gray cubicles and pale, empty walls. These days, offices are trendy, bright, and encourage movement and freedom.
Consider incorporating some of these fun ideas into your office space. Some ideas include beanbags, treadmills, or break rooms with cozy sofas and crazy paint colors on the walls.
Bring in as much natural light as possible, and consider placing whiteboards or other creative mediums throughout the office that will allow people to draw, diagram, or otherwise “play” with their work.
10. Perks Are (Almost) As Important as Cash
Last but not least, don’t overlook job perks. This may include things like a pension or 401k match, maternity and paternity leave, discounted health insurance, etc.
Your Human Resources team is a good place to start when considering changes to perks like these. Consider setting up time with your HR rep to ask about opportunities to keep employees happy with their non-financial incentives.
Where Can You Do Better?
As we’ve described above, there are many simple ways to keep your employees happy at work. Take a look around at your own organization and see what small steps you can take today.
For more tips on a happy and efficient workplace, check out our other business tips and solutions on our site!