The lines between work and life are increasingly blurred in today’s fast-paced and hyper-competitive business environment. The pandemic and current economic downturns have further exacerbated this, they have phased out several workplace trends.
Only in the past years would employees trudge through working hours like sloths, gazing at the clock, eagerly anticipating the 4/5 pm exit time. In today’s tech-enabled, fast-paced work environment, employees have a new reality.
Clearly defined metrics of evaluation and the ‘advantage’ of technology means set objectives must be met and, time as well as location constraints are not welcomed excuses. Sadly, employees work, anytime (or should, I say, at all times), and everywhere. The availability of remote working tools, means some managers are less concerned about duration or place of work, the only concern these days seem to be deliverables and targets.
The implication is, employees have to multi-task and work at odd or out-of-work hours to meet job expectations, at least for those who still value their job. Twenty-four hours for an average employee passes before you snap a finger. The reality? The employee has ‘no life’ outside of work, denying themselves rest, leisure and quality time with friends and loved ones. The result? An unhappy and unmotivated workforce. The ripple effect? Productivity goes south, employee turnover goes north, and the company suffers. Making it crucial that managers seek ways to keep their employees happy.
Yes, it can be difficult to clearly understand the true cause of an employee’s emotions, given, external factors can have an impact on happiness and those are often out of your control. This exposé thus comes in handy. In it, I described in steps, globally proven strategies that the business manager and every talent manager should adopt to create a productive and happy workforce. You kill two birds with one stone, productivity and a happy workforce, coexisting in the workplace. Ready to throw the stone? Let’s dive right in.
Step 1: Nurture A Culture Of Genuine Appreciation
A simple “thank you”, sometimes often works like a magic wand breaking through the toughest of resistance and bringing back a long-lost smile and dedication. Now, imagine a workplace where genuine gratitude is in the air. It wields the power to motivate and energise employees like nothing else. Nurture a culture of recognition, where colleagues acknowledge and celebrate each other’s milestones and contributions. Demonstrated through simple gestures like thank you notes to public acknowledgement. Watch the workplace blossom with unending smiles and productivity. Every organisation should make a culture of appreciation, it works magic!
Step 2: Allow Flexible Work Schedules
The pandemic has opened us to a possibility that has always been with us. The power of flexible work! The rigid 9-to-5 routine is fast becoming a relic of the past. Flexible work arrangements-while it has its critics-allows employees to juggle their personal and professional responsibilities. Recent findings have shown that the option for flexible work influences individuals’ job choices. Whether it’s flexible work hours, remote work options, or a compressed work week, embracing flexible work options has been found to enhance employees’ morale and increase job satisfaction leading to overall productivity and employee retention.
Step 3: Create Career Mobility
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” A famous interview question, right? Now, as a manager, ask yourself, where do you see your employees in five years? If your answer to the question is not clear-cut, you need to pay more attention to this. A stagnant workplace breeds dissatisfaction. A clearly defined career growth path drives engagement and motivation. Providing ample opportunities for growth and development cannot be overemphasised. Offer training programs, mentorship initiatives, and cross-functional projects that challenge individuals to expand their skill sets. A workplace that has a defined career path and nurtures learning, not only invests in your employees’ future, it also creates a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. The employee anticipates growth, and dreams of a future within the organization. Those are sweet dreams.
Step 4: Foster A Sense Of Purpose
An opportunity to be part of a greater purpose, to be able to brag about the importance of one’s role. Sounds refreshing, right? When one’s job is part of a sequence of events that culminates into a greater purpose that in itself brings a sense of fulfilment. And in such a manner should the workplace be defined. This could be by contributing to society, saving the environment, liberating people out of poverty, and helping children and other vulnerable groups. Being part of the greater good. Every employee should be made to see their job in this light. Create a clear vision that employees can rally behind. Communicate how their roles contribute to the bigger picture. Encourage open dialogue about the impact of the organisation’s work on society, and regularly highlight success stories to remind everyone of the positive difference they are making.
Step 5: Promote Collaboration, Connection
Teamwork, knowledge-sharing, and open communication are the bedrock of a feeling of belonging. Foster a collaborative atmosphere, where every employee feels and sees their importance in the grand scheme of things. Break down silos and banish solitary confinement. Create spaces where employees from different departments can interact and collaborate. Embrace technologies that facilitate seamless collaboration, both in-person and virtually, enabling teams to connect and work together effortlessly.
Step 6: Prioritise Work-Life Balance, Encourage Breaks
Work-Life balance has become a buzzword, in corporate discussions. A cliché of some sort. Work-life balance is, allowing flexibility between work commitments and family or personal commitments. A happy workplace acknowledges the importance of a healthy work-life balance. Encourage employees to take breaks, recharge, and maintain their well-being. Promote initiatives such as wellness programmes, flexible vacation policies, and mental health support services. By prioritising work-life balance, you can be assured employees work with no personal or family hangovers. A refreshed mind would mean happiness and improved productivity.
Step 7: Offer Extensive Benefits
Heard about the Carrot Principle? Give something to get something. When employees are convinced their employer cares about their welfare, it’s a no-brainer. It’s a guaranteed way to keep employees happy.
Getting the right and satisfying benefit can be tricky, what constitutes a gracious benefit may vary among employees. The joker then, would be to communicate. Use surveys and listen to opinions. For instance, the married woman might find a maternity leave more appealing, while the man may look for a salary raise. I recommend the use of surveys and a feedback system. Understand what your employees want, by listening to them. Whether it be giving a better health benefit, extended leave or some education benefits. The key thing is to truly listen to their needs. If you truly listen and fulfil their needs, chances are, they will be much happier.
By engaging in these interactive steps, organisations can create a working environment where happiness and productivity thrive. It requires communication, mutual trust and consistency. So let us embark on this transformative journey in our workplace and unlock the potential for a happy and productive landscape.
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