September 2014 saw the announcement that Pharrell William’s hit song “Happy” was the UK’s most downloaded track of all time! No surprise, really, given the upbeat, feel-good tune and the positive message the song promotes.  After all, we all want to feel happy as much as possible, so we’re very likely to embrace anything that helps us to feel that way.  Likewise, we are very likely to try to avoid anything that makes us feel less than happy too.

It’s a message that most employers would do well to heed if they want to maintain a consistent and productive workforce.  Happiness in the workplace has a huge impact on staff morale and even a company’s profitability.  After all, it costs less to invest in and retain current staff than it does to advertise, recruit for and train new employees! So how can companies keep their workforce feeling happy and in the mood for working?

Communication is a really important point, be it informing your employees about company developments or actively asking for input when it comes to policy making.  This sort of interaction makes employees feel that their views are worthwhile and it doesn’t cost a penny!  Feeling valued is a big contributor to happiness.  Whereas allowing your staff to hear important news on the grapevine will leave them feeling under appreciated and even suspicious.

employee happiness

Similarly acknowledging good performance goes a long way toward staff happiness.  Today it is common for people to put in long hours and lots of effort to prove themselves at work, and a lack of recognition can cause animosity.  This can negatively impact staff morale; if peers see effort going unnoticed it is likely to discourage them from trying hard.  Recognition doesn’t even need to cost.  It can be as simple as making an announcement to demonstrate appreciation for an accomplishment and effort.  Recognizing somebody’s hard work will only make them feel happy.

Of course there are other ways to recognise your staff’s dedication.  Implementing simple perks into the workplace not only rewards staff for hard work, but encourages them to work harder if they want an award.  A win-win situation for both employer and employee! Whether it’s sports tickets, shopping vouchers, or even a weekend away – this sort of incentive really drives staff to perform and keeps them feeling happy and valued at the same time.  It could even be a regular event in the office, such as laying on a takeaway lunch for a high-performing team each month.  All of these ideas promote positive feeling in the office and keep staff smiling.

Rewards like these can also help to boost work-life balance, which is at the forefront of everybody’s thinking these days.  We all spend a great deal of time at work, so we want time spent at home to be enjoyable and as lengthy as possible.  Rewards that help staff to spend quality time with family, be it a meal out or an extra day of holiday, will also be a popular choice and help to keep staff feeling happy. Working for a company that demonstrates an understanding of work-life balance is becoming an increasingly enviable thing and will make your staff want to stick around.

From a work perspective, development and career progression are enormously important when it comes to staff satisfaction.  Having no clear path can be both dispiriting and demotivating as it can seem as though there’s nothing to work towards.  This sort of unhappiness will make for a very unproductive workforce and have a detrimental effect on any business.  Simply implementing regular reviews, with achievable targets in place can successfully combat this.  Employees with constant goals to strive for and regular opportunities to obtain praise and recognition will naturally be happier.

All of these ideas can help your company atmosphere to be happy and positive, creating an appealing environment for your workforce.  Happiness breeds happiness, so the more of your staff who are cheerful and upbeat, the better.  It is sure to have a knock-on effect across the workforce so that you hopefully end up with ubiquitous positivity and a seriously desirable office environment!

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