It ought to go without saying that happy staff are productive staff. Any workforce that is stressed and miserable will inevitably relay its negative state of mind to customers – and that is very bad for business.
Sadly, misery does indeed love company, so a disgruntled employee is likely to try to spread their disheartened feelings around and bring everyone down in the process. Unfortunately, more and more surveys are showing that workplace stress is on the rise. Recent economic woes have taken their toll and the pressure is on everyone. However, action can be taken to turn things around and, by following the five tips outlined below, it is possible to take charge and improve the situation.
Strong leadership and team building
Source – mccolin
A workforce needs strong leadership to be happy. A manager’s job is to motivate and increase productivity. If staff members can look up to their manager and share with them a positive vision for the company, then they are likely to feel better about themselves and their job.
Team building is an essential part of leadership and a key element to ensuring the happiness of workers. Setting the mood for the day is vital, so managers should consider team building activities first thing in the morning. Staff can be encouraged to leave their hellish commute to work and personal problems behind, by being guided to focus on their tasks and goals for the day. It is not unheard of these days for companies to incorporate ‘exercises’ into morning team building activities, but any way to get endorphins flowing by setting the mood, sharing a joke or a smile and reinforcing recent positive activity will help staff feel happier throughout the rest of the day.
Communication is the basis upon which all else is formed. Staff that feel listened to invariably feel respected. Respected members of staff are happier members of staff, so give your staff a voice.
Managers should take time to empathize with and ‘hear’ their workforce, whether this means operating an ‘open door’ policy, whereby employees feel they can enter a manager’s office with their problems as they arise, or even by conducting scheduled sessions, such as monthly meetings. Effectively communicating with staff should allow them a platform to talk through their problems before they build up and escalate. But effective communication also means mangers providing structure and a commanding voice that others can follow.
With increasing globalization and work flexibility, it may mean that staff could be spread all over the country, or indeed the world. As well as holding face to face meetings as often as possible, regular conference calls will ensure that everyone still feels part of the team and that they still have a voice.
Holding regular appraisals are a great way to improve morale and job satisfaction. Appraisals help staff to feel as if they are being recognized for their work. Importantly, appraisals also ensure staff know what is expected of them on a day-to-day basis. Setting boundaries and helping employees understand their exact role can help to ease any pressure they may have been feeling.
Improve the workspace
There is no need to dismiss Feng shui and calming paint colors as pop psychology! An uncluttered, newly painted workspace can do wonders for morale! Plan a big clean-up as a surprise for staff, or get the whole team involved to make everyone feel a part of the action. Invest in plants and paintings and, budget allowing, new office equipment, to create a calm and welcoming environment for staff to work in.
Perks, pay rises and privileges – aka bribery
If your staff deserve it, and you can afford it, money goes a long way towards making everyone happy. There is no need to overvalue employees or stretch beyond your means, but treating staff to lunch, dinner or drinks, bringing doughnuts into the office, holding an ’employee of the month’ award or structuring a performance related pay scheme, can do wonders for staff happiness and improve job satisfaction.