In this article, we’ll cover 5 key concepts to getting happier employees, as well as key ways to start each step.
Keys for Happy Employees and Better Retention
1. Listen to Employee Concerns
Get feedback from your employees on all aspects of the workplace. Yes, everything. How do they like the equipment they use for the job? The food that’s available on site or in the nearby area? What are their relationships like with their coworkers and their managers?
Why ask all these questions? Simple. You can’t improve anything without knowing where people stand.
To work towards keeping employees happy you’ve got to start with knowing where their sources of work happiness come from. And on the flip side, what’s keeping them from feeling better about work?
Send anonymous surveys to employees. Ask about all aspects of their jobs. What do they like and dislike, what’s working and what’s broken, and what do they want more and less of regarding their jobs? Capture results and distill the information into digestible data points.
Let everyone see the results and start a company-wide discussion about changes that need to be made.
2. Get Employee Buy-In
When you think of starting a new program, ask your employees what they think about it before diving in. This brings their ideas to the table as well as allowing for employee buy-in.
Why is buy-in so important? People are more likely to feel satisfied with something if they’ve taken part in creating it.
In the workplace, that means it’s best to talk to your staff first, before making a big change. Otherwise, you spend time on the back end trying to convince people to like the change — or worse, not caring if they like it or not.
Take a look at any new program or change you’re thinking about making. Before moving forward, ask your employees what they think.
And here’s the key — really listen to what they say. It might mean you change your game plan or scrap the idea altogether. But it’s certainly possible that getting the whole team involved will create something even better.
3. Keep Employees Learning
Nothing kills morale faster than feeling like you’re stuck in a dead-end job. Employees need to know there is a possibility for advancement in the organization, if they want it.
Barring that, there should support systems in place for employees to take continuing education classes, or attend seminars on topics in their field. Encouraging (and supporting) employees to grow beyond the day you met them is a great way to keep them happy.
Ensure there are opportunities for advancement within the organization. Keep hiring practices aligned to this by recruiting internally as much as possible. Create a policy and plan about continuing education programs. And finally, keep an eye on upcoming conferences in your industry, and offer to send some staff members.
4. Focus on Communication
If you’re working on getting buy-in from your employees, you’re well on your way to good communication. But it takes more than that.
Having an open-door policy around communication — and really using it — is another key to positive company culture. We’ve all worked for companies where a list of values and policies was just lip service — while any employee could tell you their experience didn’t match the list of values posted in the employee handbook.
Start by vetting your company values and goals around communication. Do they ring true? (Hint: ask your employees with another anonymous survey.) Create space and opportunities for good communication to happen. This could look like regular open office hours when employees are encouraged to check in or just chat with the company’s leaders.
5. Give Employee Wellness a Boost
Being healthy and stress-free is another key aspect of happiness. Employers can do well to invest in employees’ health by promoting wellness programs at work.
Nutrition, fitness, and stress reduction are the basic framework for a wellness program at work. That means healthy food options on site, encouraging fitness with gym passes, and incorporating meditation, mindfulness, and massage programs at work.
The most basic way to start is to offer a free or discounted gym pass. If you don’t know where to start, you can even buy them in bulk at Costco for a few popular gyms. Your next step is making sure there is plenty of healthy food available for your employees. Replace vending machines if you can. And lastly, look into what it would take to bring on site chair massage to your company.