Your job is a big part of your life. After all, you spend the best part of 40 hours a week at work, so if you're unhappy in your job this is going to have a huge impact on your overall happiness and wellbeing outside of work.
And this is a two-way street. Businesses who have unhappy staff are going to suffer the consequences. Because of this, employee engagement has become increasingly important to organizations and their HR teams in recent years. Though not everyone agrees this should be a top priority, at the end of the day, a job is a job, right? Wrong.
In this guide, we’ll offer our top tips on how you can find employee happiness and boost engagement, and why it is so important to do so.
Why employee engagement is so important for happiness
Nothing pushes an employee to hand in their resignation faster than dissatisfaction and low morale. Not to mention that unhappy staff will be less productive, disengaged, and less creative. Don’t believe us? A 2018 study found that employees who were happy at work stay in their jobs up to four times longer than those who aren't. What’s more, a similar study looking at the link between employee happiness and productivity, found that those who enjoyed their job were likely to be 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts.
These two figures alone show just how important employee happiness and engagement is to your organization. But what exactly do staff want and what is it that keeps them smiling? Below, we’ll look at seven ways you can improve employee engagement and create a happy, productive, and successful workforce.
1. Get your onboarding process right
Employee happiness starts from the moment a new hire joins your organization, so you need to make them feel as welcome as possible. Getting a strong onboarding process in place can help them to quickly settle into their team and you should set them a progression plan for their future. By showing them right away how they’ll contribute towards the success of the company, new employees will feel like a welcome and important part of the workforce.
2. Carve out career paths
Staff who feel stuck or like they don't have any real opportunities for development may quickly become complacent and dissatisfied in their role. Carving out a career path early on is so important for engagement. It helps your employee understand what they're working towards and the steps they have to take to progress to the next level in the business. This can be extremely motivating and shows you're invested in their future within the organization.
3. Give regular feedback
Feedback is key to letting staff know how they're getting on and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. It’s beneficial to arrange regular catch-ups with individuals and to use these meetings to set targets and offer feedback. This can help to keep them on the right track and progressing towards their bigger goals.
4. Prioritize their health
Employees who are both physically and mentally healthy are going to be more productive and happier at work. So how can you help to support their overall health? Perks such as free healthy snacks in the break room or discounted (or even free) gym memberships can be useful ways to support the physical health of your staff. You could also organize company clubs and social events such as running groups or sponsored walks for charity.
When it comes to their mental wellbeing, you could arrange discounts for local counseling services or perhaps hire a staff counselor if the organization is big enough. You should also ensure staff are getting the support they need by way of feedback and ensuring that they aren't becoming too stressed or overworked.
5. Reward hard work
While we’re not at work to be praised for doing our job, if you never even acknowledge the effort your team is putting in, this can be extremely demotivating. As such, it’s a good idea to recognize and reward staff for their hard work where you can. You might want to set up an employee of the month scheme, offer company lunches when teams exceed their targets, or even just send a thank you email every now and then to show their efforts are not going unnoticed. This can motivate employees to keep working hard.
6. Conduct regular surveys
It’s not just about offering feedback to your staff, you also need to listen to them and show you're prepared to make changes to meet their needs. Running regular surveys can be the perfect way to get feedback on the working environment and see if there’s more you can be doing to support your employees. It’s a good idea to allow for anonymous surveys as this will encourage staff to be more open and honest.
7. Run social events
Another important aspect of our working lives is our colleagues. Employees can spend upwards of 40 hours a week with their co-workers, so positive, friendly relationships are key. By running social events you encourage staff to socialize and get to know one another outside the office environment. This shows that your organization isn't just ‘all work and no play’ and it gives them a chance to blow off some steam and have some fun.