According to management experts the single greatest key to productivity is happy employees. Satisfied employees are usually energetic and tend to be highly motivated. But, determining what makes workers happy can be a mind-stretching exercise. For years, the belief was that money was the source of employee happiness and retention. While there is no question that money is important, management studies show that it does not buy employee happiness. While employees want to be fairly compensated for their efforts, they also want to be challenged and treated with respect.
The Better Business Bureau offers the following suggestions to managers for how to increase employee happiness:
- Understand why people are working and commit to help them achieve their goals on the job. Develop a plan that will assist them in getting where they want to go.
- Empower workers to do the job you hired them to do. A work environment in which employees are constantly monitored, micro-managed and bossed around can be stifling. While most employees are capable of receiving empowerment, not all will seek it, however. The overriding motivation for all employees is to be treated with respect.
- Keep employees informed. Share the big picture as to why they are being asked to do what they do and how their work can benefit others. Invite them to share their opinions. Allow them to actively participate in the discussions that lead to business decisions. By including them, you signal that you value their expertise and recognize that they are a valuable asset to the organization. Remember, involvement equals commitment!
- Communicate your expectations. Let your employees know what you expect from them in terms of work ethic, quality, honesty and job performance. Do not assume that employees somehow inherently understand what is required.
- Take care of the people who work for you. Recognize their accomplishments with frequent and sincere praise. Take time to single out employees who have gone well beyond the call of duty.
- Hire the best people for the job, give them directions and tools to do the job and step aside. But, be sure to follow up.
- Treat employees the way you would want to be treated. Think about how you would want to be informed of changes or acknowledged for a job well done. Then do the same with your employees.