The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetime, so it is every increasingly important to keep our own, and our employee happiness and satisfaction at work consistent and at high levels.
Workplace happiness is an underrated company goal. Research shows that building positive emotions in your company's employees can improve work performance, develop work-life balance in your employees, boost mental health, and create stronger workplace culture. Achor's positive psychology principles also showed that focus on happiness in KPMG during the 2008 banking crisis improved satisfaction in their personal life.
There are many ways to attempt to raise satisfaction and morale levels, some expensive and some for pretty much nothing. I have outlined the best 10 tried and test methods for improving the satisfaction of everyone.
1. Offer Benefit Packages or Raises
Hardly surprising that this is the number one solution to having happy employees. Most people are motivated by money or rewards, so therefore it is almost certainly guaranteed that an increase in salary or the offer of an attractive benefits package will provide an increase in employee satisfaction.
Motivated employees, who feel valued, appreciated and like they are earning enough for the work they do, will work harder - and this will have a huge impact on your companies productivity.
The best way to increase a salary is to make it competitive with other companies. Have a search around and see what similar companies are offering employees in similar roles - aim to match or beat their salaries.
To offer benefit packages, you could do one of two things:
Offer a standard benefits package. This is where everyone gets the same package that includes exactly the same benefits. For example, everyone gets a company phone, or everyone gets a monthly gym membership.
Offers personally tailored benefits packages. This means that everyone can pick their benefits based on their own unique needs. For instance Steve may need discounted childcare, whereas Lucy would really like her travel to and from work covered as part of her benefits package.
A final note on increasing pay and introducing comprehensive packages is that, although this originally may be costly to you, the long term benefits directly to your business are extensive. Having higher salaries and carefully thought through benefits packages will be attractive to potential recruits, meaning that you can source the best our of a large bunch of people who want to work for you. These implications in place to turn your employees into happy workers will also give your company a good name and the right sort of reputation.
2. Focus on growth and development
This isn't about company growth, this is about personal employee growth. Although we are all motivated by money, we do actually want more out of our jobs than just money. In exchange for their hard work, your employees will want to learn new skills that will benefit them in the long run.
It will therefore be beneficial to get to know your employees and their career aspirations, this way you can offer comprehensive training programmes for each employees that will provide them with the skills and experience that they will need in the future.
3. Set goals and a mission
Before doing this, of course, you and your team need to decide collectively what the overall goal and mission of the company is. Once this is decided, ensure that all employees are sure of how the company as a whole is aiming to get there, and the individual steps that they need to take in order to get there.
By setting clear goals and missions you are motivating employees to follow through to the end. It also builds a positive attitude towards work and manifests in lower levels of stress. That's because mission makes team members feel that their work matters and that they're filling an important role. Seligman's authentic happiness theory showed that one of the three basic orientations of happiness is meaning, giving people a sense of mission and higher purpose.
A top tip is that if employees are the type to struggle with working towards goal, or the type to lose motivation quickly, set small and achievable milestones within each goal for them to work towards and reach in a reasonable amount of time.
4. Create a positive working environment
One of the main reasons that employees leave businesses is because of a negative and unfavourable working environment. So, be sure to change this in your team - make your working environment a positive one.
In a positive working environment employees will feel like they can act like themselves, like they can speak their mind and express their opinion, and that others will not judge them or bully them for their thoughts. This is otherwise known as 'psychological safety', and Google swears by this tactic to build a happy work place environment and produce satisfied employees.
"We have found that creating a positive work environment, where employees have the ability to think creatively and express their opinion freely without extreme judgement, is one of the core philosophies to create happiness at work." - Machinery Indents
Of course, not everyone will get along with everyone, but it would be worthwhile investing some time into attempting to get everyone to understand each others personalities and how to interact with these, check out the best personality tools that can be used at work here.
5. Reward employees for big wins
Not only do benefit packages help, but rewarding the team for big wins will be really worthwhile as it will make each and every employee feel appreciated and like their leader is grateful for all their hard work. This will increase their satisfaction, and make them want to work just as hard, if not harder, on their next task.
These rewards could include: taking the whole team out to dinner after a successful win, by bringing in food or drink on the deadline day, by offering a half day of work to celebrate success, by arrange some form of group activity such as go karting, or by offering raises or bigger benefit packages for really successful wins.
6. Facilitate friendships
Another way to create a positive work environment, and therefore increase employee satisfaction, is to allow for friendships and bonds to form freely within the workplace. Naturally, some people will not feel this is necessary, so do not force it upon them to interact with others. However, most employees will welcome openly the idea of making new friends.
To promote these friendships, allow for an open working spaces, in which people can move around and speak to others. Or perhaps, create communal dining or 'chill out' areas for people to interact in, and finally, you could consider organising outside of work social activities, such as staff parties or team days out.
These in-team friendship will also be beneficial in terms of team trust and cooperation, allowing for not only increased employee satisfaction, but also for increased team effectiveness and productivity.
7. Improve communication
Improving communication within the team will increase employee satisfaction as they will feel like part of the team and that they are welcomed into discussion, like their opinion matters and like they are involved with decision making.
This increased communication will make employees feel more satisfied as they will feel valued and involved and needed. It will also promote a sense of shared responsibility and enhance psychological safety.
8. Focus on Team building activities
Team building activities are important ways of building trust within teams. They allow for employees to get to know each other and to learn each others strengths and weaknesses.
For the best fun and inexpensive team building activities, read this post. There are other ways to build trust within teams, checkout this article here.
9. Be personal
People strive off personal interactions - we are sociable beings and enjoy interacting with others. To make your employees feel more satisfied, you should get to know lots about them on a personal level. For instance, find out how many kids they have, where their going on holiday this year, if they have any pets, or what their partner is called.
10. Break up the routine
This is at the bottom because it is important to note that some people do not want their routine broken, so check before mixing it up. Others will be easily bored, so will enjoy having their days chopped and changed to keep the excitement in things - it will increase their satisfaction if they know that they are doing something different each day.