A happy team is one of the most powerful resources any organisation can have in their arsenal. Happier people are less stressed, less inclined to suffer from burnout, and more effective when they are at work. Research carried out in 2014 at the University of Warwick found that “happiness made people about 12 percent more productive”. Google discovered when they invested in employee support, employee satisfaction rose by 37 percent.
It is in a CEO’s interest to develop a happy workplace. This is a pretty vague statement, and everyone is different, but there are some areas employers can focus on to increase the happiness index among their team:
Everyone wants to feel that their contribution is valued. However, often people do not realize how important their role is to the overall success of organization and this directly affects their decision making on task urgency and absenteeism. It is the manager’s responsibility to recognise each staff member’s contribution on a regular basis. A great story that shows effective recognition in action involves JFK at NASA:
During a visit to the NASA space center in 1962, President Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”
“Well, Mr. President” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
Build a Community
It is easy to walk into a room when there is a friend waiting inside for you. Building a team that is focused on encouraging and supporting each other is just as important as building a team with a business objective. When people feel like they know each other, they will ask more questions, they will engage in more open dialogue, they will challenge and encourage each other and they will arrive at better decisions. In addition, social interaction is an important consideration when people are deciding whether to join or remain with a company.
Promote Exercise and Sleep
Exercise and sleep are directly linked to energy levels, focus, creativity and mood. Maslow’s needs support and reinforce each other. Encouraging people to develop a regular sleep pattern and exercise regime should be high on any manager’s priority list. Every business goes through busy periods where patterns may need to be disrupted but managers need to be aware that long term disruptions will end up being counterproductive for the organisation. An employee’s productivity levels off after working 48 hours in any given week. Forcing employees to work more than 48 hours in consecutive weeks will almost certainly reduce the 48 hour baseline as lethargy overtakes motivation.
Listen and Communicate
When feedback is offered from the team, it should never be ignored. If it is not acted upon or acknowledged, communicating with the management team will soon be seen as a pointless exercise. Often the feedback is offered to improve the organization or highlight a problem an employee is having understanding the importance of a task. Either way, not acting will have a long term impact on the business.
Finally, trust and transparency are integral to building a happy workplace. When everyone understands their role and what the organization is trying to achieve, productivity and performance will improve. And going into work won’t seem like hard work.