This week (23rdSeptember) is the International Week of Happiness at Work. The initiative originated in the Netherlands and aims to promote “meaningful work, healthy relationships, development and having fun.”
A happier workplace culture is beneficial to both individuals and organisations. Happy employees are more productive, flexible, resilient, creative, make and work better with their colleagues.
But how can employers make their workplace a happier place? Here are a few tips on how to boost morale in ways that are more than just a short-term fix.
Listen to employees
Nobody likes to be ignored, so not giving employees a voice is a guaranteed way to foster unhappiness at work. An employee engagement survey can allow managers to find out the issues employees feel strongly about, and therefore what can be improved.
It also provides an opportunity for employees to anonymously share ideas about what constitutes a happier workplace. It can help employers become proactive about workplace wellbeing, rather than simply reacting to morale issues as they occur.
Create a workplace wellbeing strategy
Once the results of an employee engagement survey are in, it’s time to create a workplace wellbeing strategy. Looking at what employees have said, do you have the policies and schemes in place that can lead to their needs being fulfilled?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be established and reviewed so the results of the programme are clear to see on an ongoing basis. Factors to be monitored can include absence, staff turnover, grievances, and the number of employees with wellbeing-related training.
The strategy can include employee perks, but they alone will not guarantee workplace happiness!
Evaluate your corporate culture
Any perks must be part of a corporate culture dedicated to workplace wellbeing. After all, a discount for the gym would nice, but in the long term it will not help reduce a stressful workload.
Senior managers should lead by example – if the boss is acting like a workaholic who arrives early, leaves late and never takes holidays, then employees will naturally believe that this is the type of behaviour valued within the organisation.
However, making a habit of these work patterns will lead to overwork, stress, and an unhappy workplace.
Allow a healthy work-life balance
Employees are only human, so it should be assumed that work isn’t always going to be their number one priority. Employees who are unable to both work and fulfil family duties are likely to be unhappy, and eventually leave.
Employees have the right to request flexible working, with employers having a legal obligation to consider granting it. However, actively encouraging flexible working can bring many benefits. As well as retaining staff, it can improve the image of the company, reduce absence levels, and mean a larger pool of potential employees to recruit from. Employees working from home will also reduce costs for the organisation.
After a workplace wellbeing strategy has been implemented, it’s important to continue to monitor the mood of the workforce. The way to do so is by enquiring during performance reviews and informal chats. Managers should be trained in the soft skills necessary for these conversations, as difficult subjects are likely to come up.
To find out more about how to implement a workplace wellbeing strategy, we recommend taking the free questionnaire by our affiliate partner, BounceBack.