Unless you're a sole proprietor or freelancer, your employees are the very foundation of your business. You can't operate without them, and you rely on them for the legwork needed to succeed as well as for the varied skillsets and perspectives they bring.
Too many managers focus on "making" their employees be productive or think that they can just let things go. The truth is that the route to productivity is through happiness and good relationships. Engaged, satisfied employees will do much better work. Generally, they do not work longer hours. You want to avoid the association between staying late and being a good worker, as this only encourages burnout.
Happier Workers are More Productive
Ever had a job you hated? How much did you get done? It's crucial that your employees love their job. Or at the very least have a positive relationship with their job.
Enthusiasm increases dedication, improves relationships between coworkers, and gives employees a stake in your success. A happy employee wants to work for you for longer, which is helps you by keeping institutional knowledge in your organization and save costs by not having to continually train new employees. Happy employees also want you to stay in business and will perform better to keep the business running.
All of this improves productivity, and happy workers are 13% more productive. Genuine happiness is particularly important for employees in customer-facing jobs such as sales, as their enthusiasm will be noticed by the customer and make it more likely that they will close the deal. While you can't force happiness, you can create an environment that supports it and try to choose employees who will fit in with the team and support your office culture.
Make sure that your office culture is positive and that you are not micromanaging people or bringing them down. Building that ideal relationship with your job takes work on both sides, and not every employee is going to be willing to put it in right away. However, there are ways to encourage it by providing a supportive environment.
Helping Employees Increases Loyalty
Happiness makes employees want to stick around. So does a better outside work life, which allows your employees to recharge and come in more ready to work.
By helping and supporting your employees, you can improve their physical and emotional health, which cuts down on the number of sick days they need to use. It also shows your appreciation, which increases happiness and loyalty. Providing consistent and positive feedback keeps employees informed and feeling more confident in their role. That’s not to say you can’t include criticism in cases where it’s needed, but delivering it tactfully keeps employees feeling reassured.
You can achieve this by checking in on employees regularly with one-on-one calls (especially if they are working remotely), offering fitness challenges and encouraging employees to share healthy meals. Also talk to employees about the kind of support they want and need and how you can best help with their individual challenges. For example, if your employees are concerned about sitting all day, turning some meetings into walking meetings (especially on a nice day) can help everyone involved.
Avoid anything that might resemble "mandatory fun." Post work happy hours are great for those who enjoy them but understand that not everyone is going to partake. Make sure, too, that out of work socialization does not always involve alcohol, as this can make those who can't or choose not to drink feel left out. A heavy office drinking culture can also cause various other problems. Consider alternatives such as board or card games, crafting time, or trivia nights. Make sure that you respect the diversity of your team and let them come up with ideas for activities or food to order for meetings. Doing so also helps demonstrate trust, which is vital for a positive relationship.
Positivity is Contagious
...and so is negativity. Happy workers help everyone else be happy, whilst people who are down are likely to spread that through the office. Positivity, thus, breeds more positivity. It makes people more pleasant to work with and supports a better environment when customers come into the equation. Customers who see everyone is having fun are more likely to buy, especially if the relationship is going to be extended, such as subscription software or memberships. Many customers now care a lot about how employees are treated when they choose a product or service.
Because positivity is contagious, happiness and wellness should start at the top and also with your HR team. Set a good wellness example by keeping an eye on your own work life balance. If you are working too hard, your employees will feel that it is also expected of them. They may then become burnt out and resentful. By improving your own attitude, you improve everyone else’s attitude. It's vital not to take out your own mood on anyone else.
The same goes for anything else which might be affecting you negatively in your non-work life. Try to leave your problems at home (or avoid people until you have fixed your mood). Work on, and share, things which might help you stay positive, such as continuing to learn (and teach), taking breaks when you need to and making your workplace pretty. Plants can go a long way towards creating a positive office environment.
HR and upper management set the tone for the entire work environment, even amongst people who might not have day-to-day contact with them.
Happy employees are productive employees and helping them establish a good work-life balance and stay healthy is key to happiness. You should make sure to provide employees with what they need, support their happiness, and set a good example yourself. HR is the crucial driver here, and outsourcing routine HR services frees their time so they can spend it on supporting employees and improving company culture.