It is certainly no secret that a happy worker, is a productive worker. In as much as the world continues to change in unprecedented and unpredictable ways, there are still some of the oldies but goodies that ring as true today as they ever have.
Perhaps one of the silver linings of the massive upheaval that the global economy has faced over the past couple of years has been a greater awareness of employee well-being and even a greater inclination to do something about it than ever before. The truth is that a big reset in how companies treat workers, for the most part, has been something of a long time coming and as of right now, you can either be the employer that has workers fighting to work for you – or the employer fighting to get workers to work for you.
By now you have no doubt heard the term the great resignation, and it’s no joke. Seemingly overnight over 4 million American workers simply downed tools and left their posts as, after months of working from home, the importance of a more generous and healthier work-life balance became the priority – not the money.
So what does this mean for you as an employer? How are you going to ensure that your business retains optimum productivity and operational efficiency, while still relooking the way your workers experience their time with you? Do you have an employee retention program at all, and most important of all – how are you planning on keeping your best teammates?
Your worker’s experience at their place of work matters, and here’s why.
WHY IS EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT NECESSARY?
Employee engagement is two words that you’re going to be hearing more about and from, not less and it’s because this relatively new but always evolving element of human resources has become one of the most important indicators in understanding and testing work satisfaction amongst your teams.
Today’s employee wants to be more involved with their work on a molecular level. They want to feel valued by their employer and they want further and enthusiastic engagement with their employer too. Over and above that, they also want more flexibility in working hours and locations and if all of that seems too much, well – research is also showing that employers that are prepared to meet their teams halfway are enjoying higher levels of productivity, more creative problem solving and a deeper sense of loyalty from their teams.
In a recent survey by accounting and auditing firm Deloitte, it was found that 79% of respondents said that fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace was the number 1 consideration for both employers and employees, but have a look at this: 93% agreed that it would be a driving factor in the companies success.
This means that when interpreted another way, that the majority of workers currently feel disengaged at work, and that’s dangerous for any employer. So no matter what your intentions are as an employer, if you’re not thinking of new ways to create meaningful connections in the lives of your workers, you’re going to be losing out – one way or another.
WHY DOES HAPPINESS AT WORK MATTER?
Simply put, happy workers – work harder. But, it goes a lot deeper than that. On a very human level, no matter how far up the chain we go, we all want to know that what we’re doing makes a difference, that we matter, and how we conduct ourselves is recognized and celebrated. Performance breeds performance, much like success breeds success, and working on the “like attracts like” principle, the more workers you have that are actively engaged with their job functions and roles, the greater the likelihood that they’re going to “rub off” on the workers around them.
On a more clinical level, the happier we are, the more likely we are to be creative in our thinking and the benefits of that are certainly obvious. If you need examples of where this works well – take a look at companies like Virgin or Google. Employees there work under massive pressure and work some of the longest hours in the industry, yet they’re also some of the top performers in business and industry. That’s not just because they’re paid well. If you need help, companies like Motivosity can be invaluable in helping you understand this landscape better.
HOW CAN YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR TEAMS?
It starts at the top. Literally. No one is going to do what you want them to do until they see you doing it first. The evolution of creative and effective management means that practical experience is valued more than just paper qualifications, so if you don’t know how to handle stress properly, don’t think your worker does either.
Programs that make a difference start with understanding who your workers are, knowing what their goals and responsibilities are and how this career is going to aid them in maintaining and achieving those dreams. Anyone can pay and earn a salary – anyone, but for your business to thrive, you don’t just want anyone on your work team. So start by knowing who your workers are.
Then, know what your operational goals and requirements are and communicate this to your teams – get their feedback and see where your thoughts mirror theirs and where it doesn’t, ask yourself why? Sometimes seemingly negative feedback can be way more productive and important than just positive feedback.
Foster a two-way street environment. Make it easy for your teams to feel like they can talk to you whenever they want to and that your open-door policy, isn’t just a nice line to have on your mission statement.
Meet your teams where they’re at. This doesn’t mean acquiescing to every request or being the “yes” man – sometimes, no is also an answer but at least have the grace to show your teams that you were prepared to listen and understand, being heard goes a long way to achieving workplace harmony.
And finally, be prepared for and to change. Know what works and find ways to make that better, but also know when to let go – and give credit where it’s due if that understanding didn’t come from you.