Figuring out how to keep good employees happy has kept many business leaders awake at night. It doesn’t have to be that way, and you deserve to be able to have solid advice on ways to create a workplace where your employees are excited to be.
Our goal is to come alongside you as a busy small business owner and equip you with proven principles that will help you grow your business with a team you enjoy working with. If employee unhappiness is something your company is struggling with (or needs to avoid), this post is for you!
Employee Happiness In The Workplace
According to the most recent Gallup Employee Engagement Data, only 36% of the American workforce reports being “engaged” with their work. The flip side of that statistic is that over 60% are “disengaged”…they are simply performing a J-O-B. That should be concerning to those of us who run small businesses since our employees are the ones who really make the difference in whether or not our companies succeed.
- 91% of US workers who report being “engaged” also report being happy in their work. (Bonusly) When your employees are doing a job that they feel a connection to (work that matters for a company that values them), they are naturally going to be happier, perform better, and less likely to leave for greener pastures.
- 51% of Americans report that their job gives them a sense of identity. (Pew Research Center) This statistic makes sense; we connect our work to who we are. It’s usually one of the first questions we ask when we meet someone: “So, what do you do?” Being happy in our occupation and proud to tell others about it is an important part of our lives.
- 79% told Speakap that company culture was a big reason they like their job. (Go back and read a previous post we did on how creating a positive work environment can help grow your business.) If it’s important to that many employees, it should definitely be a priority for you as a business owner.
What Makes Employees Happy At Work
Employee happiness is a difficult thing to measure. It can’t be put into a formula or approached with a “cookie cutter” mindset. Every business is unique, and so are the employees who work there. In some industries, it might not matter at all whether people are happy or not. They just simply have to show up and perform basic repetitious functions. But in most others, it matters a great deal.
Breathe HR did a survey of their employees and came up with 8 things that contribute to making their employees happy at work. We think this is a good list for any business, so here are a few of their findings:
1. Helping Others
When employees realize that they work they do is bringing happiness to someone else, they naturally feel better about their jobs. Helping others in meaningful ways triggers dopamine and oxytocin in our brains, creating a sense of satisfaction known as the “helper’s high.”
2. A Positive Work Environment
From the way the office is arranged and lit to the “vibe” in the room created by the people there, the environment we work in matters. Since we spend more time during our day at work than anywhere else, making sure we space around us and our employees is the best it can be can go a long way towards increasing that sense of happiness.
3. Good Breaks
No one can work at 100% all of the time. Our minds and bodies need regular breaks in order to recharge. Encouraging good lunch breaks (avoiding the temptation to work/eat at your desk instead) and getting up to move around for a change or scenery throughout the day helps keep employees performing at their best.
4. Being Challenged
If we get into a rut with our work, we can quickly get bored. Then our productivity suffers. If it goes on long enough, we begin thinking we should go look for something else to do. In order to keep ourselves and our employees happy and engaged, we need to regularly provide challenging work that pushes us to new levels. This could take the form of letting someone participate in a project that is outside the scope of their regular duties, take an online class to get a new certification, or finding a new way to do “old” work.
Your company and your people aren’t going to be exactly like any other company, but we believe your employees deserve to be given the best opportunity for workplace happiness possible. Talk it over with your team and find out what makes them happiest at work. The answers may surprise you and could lead you to make some positive changes.
Things Companies Do To Keep Employees Happy
As we’ve mentioned before in a post on 5 creative ways to retain employees, you don’t have to break the bank in order to keep employees happy and prevent a lot of employee turnover. Things like these can go a long way in improving job satisfaction on your team:
- Health reimbursements
- Generous product discounts
- Professional growth opportunities
- Identity theft insurance
- Financial wellness programs
Beyond that, the US Chamber of Commerce gives us “10 Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy in 2022”. Some of their suggestions include:
- Flexible hours
- More time off
- Appropriate compensation
- Celebrate success frequently
- Non-monetary benefits
How to Keep Good Employees Happy
Many times as business owners, we default to the practical checklist approach to management. “Just give me the steps to take, so I can move on to the next task.” However, since we’re dealing with people, no one list is going to apply universally.
Business News Daily gets to the heart of the matter in their article on “12 Tips for Happy Employees.” Many of their suggestions include ones we’ve already mentioned here. The rest go deeper to include making improvements in the “soft skills” of management.
- Include your employees in the “big picture” vision of what your company is all about.
- Create spaces that encourage casual conversation that builds a sense of community.
- Be a leader who is transparent and honest about issues affecting your business.
- Set the example with your own attitude and demeanor.
- Thank them…a lot.
You need to know your employees and tailor your methods to what works best for them. As you create happy employees, they will in turn help create happy customers who make it possible for your entire company to stay in business…something that should make everyone happy!
Increase Employee Happiness By Partnering With Us
Located in West Tennessee, our firm has served small businesses, farming operations, nonprofits, and government entities for over 40 years. One thing they all have in common is employees.
No matter what product or service you provide, keeping your team happy in order to deliver outstanding quality to your customers is essential to your success. Our team of business experts can help you do exactly that.
We care about your whole business, not just taxes. Schedule a call today to learn more! (Or download our free guide on 9 Simple Accounting Mistakes That Are Costing Your Business Money.)