The past few years have come with a quite a few ~trendy~ new office fads. No, I'm not referring to the never-ending debate of open vs. closed office space. I'm talking about the snack bars, Waffle Wednesday's, nap pods (that most offices discourage employees from using), and game rooms. As just one millennial, I cannot speak for the entire generation, but if I predict that these "cool" workplaces and toys will live its cycle until someone researches it and finds that gimmicks, in fact, do not create workplace satisfaction and employee happiness.
If the Millennials and Gen Zers aren't happy with fancy toys and free food at work, what are they happy with?
Why Employee Happiness is Important
If you feel no moral obligation to provide a happy workplace for your employees, think about employee happiness as an investment. A study by the Social Market Foundation found that happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees. Not convinced? The 2018 Happiness Survey revealed that 39% of workers would work harder if they are happy.
Beyond the immediate productivity benefits, employee satisfaction is the number one indicator for employee retention. 60% of employees claim to have left jobs because they did not like their supervisor.
You're relationship and treatment of employees have a direct impact on their quality of work. The more time you spend cultivating relationships with employees and creating a positive workplace where people thrive, the less time you are spending going throw the hiring process, conducting interviews, and training new employees.
Be prepared for an uphill battle... 79% of employees believe their boss does not care about workplace happiness.
Let's Define Happiness
Patrick Lencioni, author of The Truth About Employee Engagement, states that the three strongest indicators of employee satisfaction are:
- Being recognized by someone of authority
- Feel that the work they do is important
- Is able to measure their own process and success
To cultivate a happy and productive workforce, incorporate some of these ideas into your office today!
Employees have higher workplace satisfaction if they enjoy the people that they work with. You might be worried about employees getting distracting if they work with a friend, but employees with a best friend at work are 7X more likely to be engaged in their work. Create an environment that encourages coworkers to engage with one another.
Yes, you can cultivate employee happiness by giving them more work (sort of)! Do not give an employee so much work that they are stressed. This shows that you trust the employee and are investing in growing his or her potential. Remember that employees who feel that their work is valuable have higher workplace satisfaction.
Promote Employee Wellness
Happy employees are not just cultivated in the office. Pay for fitness events and activities for your employees to participate in.
Have a generous vacation policy (or don't have a vacation policy at all). Everyone gets burnt out and needs a refresh, encouraging personal time off and vacations keeps employee stress levels low.
Act like a Human Being
You can start this today! Talk to your employees and be aware of their needs. Take employees out to eat for lunch to get to know them. It's important to build a strong bond. Creating a positive relationship goes a long way. Just be polite and treat your employees with respect.
Piggy-backing off of the last idea, be understanding with your employees. Now more than ever, companies are offering flexible hours and remote working availability. If your employee has a sick child, is waiting for a plumber, or whatever the circumstance may be, allow them to work from home.
Show Employee Appreciation
Honestly, I could've written an entire article about ways to show your employees that you appreciate them. Whether it be public or private, everyone wants to be recognized for the work they do and know that they are valued. Here are a few ideas on how you can show employee appreciation.
- Acknowledge milestones. Whether it be an amazing verdict on a case, a good review, or going above and beyond what was required.
- Celebrate "workiversarys." Silly word, but a valuable concept. Take an employee out for lunch on his or her yearly anniversary working at your law firm.
- Small Rewards. If your team had a great quarter, surprise everyone with lunch or let people go home a few hours early on a Friday.