Happy employees are good for business. They're less likely to quit, and more likely to focus on customer satisfaction. But you can't buy happiness – this is true for companies as well as for individuals. Bigger paychecks only go so far. One study shows less than six percent of an employee’s happiness comes from how much they make.
The rest of their happiness comes from social factors, like intellectual achievement, recognition, work-life balance, and friendships on the job. These can be challenging to achieve at work, but the good news for businesses is that it doesn't always take a lot of money to boost employee satisfaction and engagement. Use these tips to improve employee happiness:
1. Keep employees challenged. Some workers may be happy doing the same thing over and over again, but for most it gets tedious and unsatisfying. Give your staff variety in their assignments. They'll get to use their brains in new ways and develop new skills, which makes both them and you happy.
2. Give employees autonomy. People derive more satisfaction from completing tasks through their own efforts. Micromanaging the details of how employees do their jobs takes away that satisfaction, and also leaves the sense that you don't trust them.
3. Give employees the tools they need to succeed. Giving employees autonomy to solve problems themselves doesn't mean withholding support. Make sure your staff has the training needed to complete an assignment. If there's a software package that will make completing the task simpler, go ahead and buy it.
4. Recognize their accomplishments. Public recognition lets employees know that their work is important and that you value it. Giving certificates of recognition, mugs emblazoned with sayings, or gift cards isn't necessary; it's the public expression of worth that matters.
5. Accept that employees have a life outside the office. Help employees achieve work-life balance. This can mean offering an employee-assistance program to help with counseling when needed, but it can also be as simple as planning realistic and achievable project schedules. In the long term, you'll get more out of your employees when they're able to take a break and recharge away from the office.