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Happiness at work

It’s International week of happiness at work, and we’re celebrating by reviewing what happiness at work means within our company, and by offering tips to create your own happy workplace.

A lot of organizations come by happiness at work naturally and need no other reason for creating a warm and engaged environment. Even if that’s the main motivation, a happy workplace does have benefits to your bottom line. Happier employees are more engaged, productive, creative, and loyal.

Not sure you have the resources to create a happier workplace? A lot of our tips cost nothing and take just a little effort. Not to mention the cost of disengagement.

A study cited by Harvard Business Review shows that disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects. Organizations with low employee engagement experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time.

As you may already know, a happy employee becomes one based on more factors than salary alone. Here are the best ways to keep your employees—and keep them happy—when compensation isn’t the problem.

1. Two-way communication

According to a Kronos survey, only 21% of employees feel their leadership values them. Effective communication is important to a business’s success. It’s how we share objectives and targets, and gain insights into how processes and services can be improved. When staff and management have an open two-way communication channel, they have better relationships. With more and more millennials entering the workforce, it’s become clear that annual reviews are no longer the best way to relay constructive feedback. These workers want instant feedback to adjust as often as needed, not just once a year.

How do you get started?

Say hello.

We told you a lot of these tips would cost nothing and take little effort. Greeting your team in the morning helps bridge the gap between staff and management. It helps obliterate the ‘us vs. them’ dynamic, and it instantly creates a more comfortable environment where team members are free to approach leadership as people and mentors alike.

2. Recognize performance

 Constructive criticism is important, but positive feedback and reward frequency increases motivation and engagement even more. Showing that you value your employee’s skills and contributions is critical for retention, when you consider that the number one reason people leave their jobs is due to feeling underappreciated.

And ‘reward’ doesn’t always mean money. Frequent positive shout outs keep people happy on a daily basis, more so than a single large reward.

How do you get started?

Ask your team members how they want to be recognized via a short email or team huddle. Some people are thrilled to grab a coffee with the boss or enjoy being acknowledged in the company newsletter.

However you give praise, the key is to be consistent. Don’t wait for their review. By offering consistent recognition, your team will stay excited and eager to contribute.

3. Work/life balance

 When employees feel their needs are being met they will maximize performance. Not to mention flexibility and the remote option is a high priority for many workers. When you make work/life balance a priority, you show your staff that you care about them as people and not just employees.

How do you get started?

Establish work-from-home Fridays, discounts on wellness programs, unlimited vacation days, and flex schedules to show you care about their overall quality of life.

4. Workplace wellness

There are lots of ways to live a healthy life, and so there are many ways organizations can provide wellness in the workplace. Whether through food, exercise or meditation, various programs are easy to employ and improve the work environment.

How do you get started?

  • If you don’t have a lot of resources, preparing and distributing a list of local healthy fooderies is a good start—the dining spot may even offer coupons
  • Set up bike racks and encourage those who can to bike to work
  • Negotiate discounts for gym memberships
  • Hire a yoga instructor or meditation specialist for in-office sessions once a week or month

5. Training and development

Continual training allows employees to develop and build on their strengths. When training and development is not offered, millennials especially will switch jobs to gain new skills and purpose. Training and development opportunities helps engage employees, while maximizing performance at a lower cost than onboarding someone new.

How do you get started?

Launch a companywide IDP (Individual Development Plan). The tool will help employees in their career and personal development by establishing dynamic short- and long-term goals, and it will give you a better understanding of their strengths and areas to improve.

Make it clear you plan to use the IDP to invest in them as individuals, and not just to identify skills gaps. The point is to help everyone reach their goals, build on their strengths, provide new challenges, and create opportunities for promotions and transitions.

6. Employee fun days (that are actually fun)  

Even if you love your job, it’s important to get out of the office from time to time if only to get to know your team members better. Social get togethers or team building activities outside of work help build deeper relationships that will boost communication and cooperation back on the job.

How do you get started?

At Infinia, we have a wheel not unlike the Wheel of Fortune—just at a much smaller scale. During a team huddle, we ask everyone to come up with an activity they’d like to do as a team. Then, once a month, we spin the wheel and coordinate a day the team can duck out early and have a little fun.

This helps avoid ‘mandatory fun’ by making it about what employees actually want to do outside of work.

A happy workplace is more successful because it increases positivity, relationships and productivity, and it’s pretty easy to implement if you follow the tips we laid out. You can also ask yourself what makes you happy in and out of work and what perks you personally would want. Your employees are people first—just like you. Chances are they’ll enjoy what you do! Once you make it a point to learn more about them and what makes them happy, you’ll start to make the change to a happier workplace.