Nothing should make an employer happier than to have happy employees. For one, it makes life a lot easier when you don’t have to deal with a bunch of malcontent grumps who do their work grudgingly and race each other to the door when the day is over. For another, happy employees are good employees who are invested in the company’s success and contribute meaningfully to the bottom line.
So, how do you create that happy workforce? Here’s what people say makes them love their jobs, and what you can do to make it happen:
The Job Challenges Them
People who love their jobs say that their work challenges them. It keeps their minds active, teaches them new things, and presents them with ways to use their talents and skills to solve problems and do good work. An employee who’s bored and not engaged is someone who soon loses interest, starts putting in less effort, and ultimately starts looking for somewhere else to work.
Some people are wired to make challenges for themselves, but even at that, they need the room to do it. For them, and for the ones who may need even more encouragement, you’ve got to provide the opportunities for independent thinking, creative problem-solving, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with the successful outcomes they’ve created by it. Dana Case, Director of Operations at MyCorporation says,
A great workforce is made up of individuals that get to do meaningful work that excites and challenges them. They are able to work alongside their colleagues and commit to reaching certain goals and completing projects that have the ability to reshape the organization or move their department in a new, progressive direction.
My best advice for creating a workforce invested in the success of a business is to hire individuals with a can-do, enthusiastic attitude that are willing to learn and grow. Give them assignments and workloads that challenge them to take initiative and work alongside their team members to reach a common goal together.
That means supervising without hovering. It means asking for employees’ input on tough assignments. It means letting people run with new ideas to see where it takes them. It means giving them opportunities to grow and learn new skills that will help them be better employees and individuals.It also means that you need to create career pathways and make employees aware of the promotional opportunities that await them. Identify key employees and prepare them with additional training for advancement into more and more challenging leadership positions in your organization.
They Feel Connected to the Company
What’s one of the first things you do when you meet someone? You ask what he or she does. Like it or not, in so many ways a job defines a person. The workplace is where people spend at least half their waking hours most days, and for many, it consumes their thoughts for a far greater time than that.
Firstly, being proud of what you do makes a massive difference. People who share the values, vision and goals of the company will find much more fulfilment in what they do, as the companies successes become their own. People who love their job know what’s expected of them and often they feel they can make a real difference in their role, this sense of purpose is such a large driver of motivation and happiness at work.
A way to help employees feel connected to the company is to keep them informed on what the company is doing and what the future plans are. They should be aware of the company vision and mission statement and be actively involved in implementing it.
You should do everything you can to make employees know that they’re part of the company’s successes and progress, whether it’s through a newsletter, team-building activities, or social get-togethers outside of the workplace.
They Know You Want Them to Succeed
No one wants to stay on the same rung of the ladder forever. People want to know that there’s a pathway to promotion, and it’s up to you to lay out the steps and requirements for it. Mentoring your employees brings out the best in them, which is a total win-win. Not every position on the organization chart has another title to step up to, but there’s always a way to offer greater responsibility and acknowledgment.For some people, success may not be all about rising in the ranks and getting huge pay raises. Each individual employee may have different ideas on what will motivate them to perform and give them satisfaction from their jobs. Christopher Prasad Marketing Manager at JookSMS says it best:
'I think the best way to know if people are enjoying their job is to ask how fulfilling it is to them. Fulfillment is something we want in every aspect of life, so if you have it at your job, you will be happy as you are doing something that not only makes your financially more stable, but makes your soul happy. For a company, one actionable thing they can do is ask what people expected to be doing when they signed up for the job,and make sure that that is happening. If it isn't, maybe look at their role and see how you can manage their role so that they can do more things that give fulfillment, as well as help the company in some way.'
One way to help employees reach new heights is to offer full or partial tuition reimbursement for graduate school. An advanced degree is an investment that pays dividends to both the employee and the company. With the wide variety of technology currently available, an employee can even enroll in an online MBA program in California, for example, no matter where you’re located.
Other things you can do to show them you’re invested in their success give employees the opportunity to attend outside seminars and conferences or bring in speakers with professional insight into your field or the specialties within it. As they learn new skills and grow as a person, they will appreciate your role in helping them achieve their idea of success.
They Have the Freedom to Do Their Jobs
Nobody likes to be micromanaged and told what to do all the time. Employees want autonomy, they want to be able to make decisions and be trusted with responsibility. Having to jump through hoops and get permission for every little thing will stifle creativity and give you a workforce that shows up to do the minimum required for a paycheck.
Learn to depend on your employees and get them involved early on. Make them feel personally invested in their jobs and the success of the company by allowing them to participate in creating new innovation. Chris Brenchley, Co-Founder and CEO of Surehand says,
In order to keep the morale of your employees high, you need to be able to listen to them. Listen to their ideas, their pitches, what makes them comfortable, and what doesn't. Also, give your employees some freedom for creativity. You do not want them to be bogged down and doing the same thing every day. Let the employees collaborate with you on important projects and give them the freedom to speak their mind because they might have more experience in certain places that you just don't.
Your role as a leader is to layout overall goals for the organization. Employees should have some say in how those goals are accomplished. Don't ruin things by micromanaging and taking control away from them. Allow them to achieve your goals in their own way. Laurie Wilkins, Founder of Call Outdoors shares his personal experiences,
I love my job because my leaders and colleagues listen to each other's concerns, and it felt like everyone had a voice in the workplace. There were times I get to choose my own projects and make my own decisions about the process. Having this freedom while knowing what's expected of me made me feel a trusted and worthy member of the team.
To leave your employees autonomous implies trusting them to do the jobs they were hired to do. Backing off allows you to focus on what really matters and your business will ultimately flourish as a result, and it will increase productivity from your team members. People tend to hold themselves accountable and have a natural desire to do well, so trust the process.
They Are Recognized and Appreciated
Yes, employees are paid to do their jobs, but that does not mean that their efforts should be taken for granted! The bottom line is to regularly recognize your employees’ efforts when they perform exceptionally well and do so in a way that’s personal to them. Your goal should be to create an environment where people realize their work is noticed and appreciated. Joshua Strawczynski, Managing Director at JMarketing Agency says,
Look for opportunities to tell someone the work they complete is well done, insightful or above expectations. Each month we send out a company-wide email. We recognize every staff member, sharing what they have achieved publicly with the other staff. While in reality most people likely skip to the part about them, the impact is the same. They feel valued, they have been seen, and thus they feel happy.
I've had countless employees tell me over the years how much they love working with me/us. It's because we appeal to them on a very basic human level, that is respect and recognition.
A culture of appreciation is not an easy thing to create and do because not all people are good at giving feedback. Organizations must strategize on how to support and educate their people to do so correctly. Start by training management on how to recognize and appreciate their team members' efforts and contributions.
One way to let employees know their efforts are appreciated is to begin an employee recognition program. Organizations with peer to peer recognition programs report that peers have the biggest influence on employee engagement and have found that turnover rates decrease. Involving employees from all levels to participate in giving recognition and feedback means company-wide motivation and accountability. It's a great way to create a unified workforce while improving team camaraderie and friendship.
They Respect Their Bosses and Like Their Coworkers
Humans are social animals and even if they love their work, they can’t help but be affected and influenced by the people around them. People who are happy at work don’t have bosses whom they perceive as difficult or unreasonable. They also don’t have bosses who are unapproachable or, even worse, invisible.
Good bosses inspire their employees and serve as examples. They listen, offer constructive feedback, and give credit where it’s due. If you think you need to look in the mirror, there’s plenty to read on the subject.
As for coworkers, happy employees feel as if they’re part of a team working toward the same thing. The workplace doesn’t have to provide free lunches and ping pong tables, but a sense of camaraderie and mutual trust comes from knowing everyone is treated fairly and as individuals with value and talents to contribute. Their coworkers are the people that they spend most of their day with, help them get to know each other while building respect for one another. Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding.com says,
You've likely heard the saying that people don't leave companies, they leave bosses. However, you likely haven't heard the counterpoint: that people stay at companies because of friendships with their colleagues. These connections with our coworkers are a powerful enhancer to happiness at work, engagement, productivity, and more.
What you can do to promote these relationships and make sure your employees feel connected is to include time for teambuilding elements in your day to day activities. This way, you start to build connections and familiarity with the people you work with, which leads to friendships.
For example, you can start meetings off with a quick round of icebreaker questions like your name, role, and dream vacation. This way, you start to build connections and familiarity with the people you work with, which leads to friendships. Happy employees feel as if they’re united toward a common goal rather than against a common enemy.
It doesn’t take extraordinary efforts to create an environment that makes for happy employees. It only takes the willingness to see them as people who want to do their best for you and to provide the means to make that happen. Do your part to create a workplace that everyone will love working in.
See how our ProSky platform can help you achieve your company goals! Schedule a demo with one of our specialists and get more insights to get you happier employees.
Article Updated 7/14/2020
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