How to Keep Employees Engaged and Happy

A 700-person experiment conducted by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy in Britain showed that productivity increased by an average of 12% in employees who were happy, and reached as high as 20% above the control group. These results show that happy employees are indeed more productive.

But how do you get happy employees and how do you keep them that way?

The status quo is shifting away from just good pay and benefits packages. Employees also want to feel happy at work and enjoy the company of their coworkers. Creative solutions for creating a positive, happy work environment are becoming more necessary to have employees gravitate towards your company. While this means a greater investment of both time and money, it also comes with the benefit of increased productivity which leads to an increase in profits.

An office with a high level of productivity-based competition between coworkers with no form of interaction outside of the office has a high chance of creating a toxic environment. This environment can lead to feelings of dread amongst employees and a decrease in their productivity.

This post breaks down three effective ways to keep employees motivated and happy with a limited budget. It discusses how employee satisfaction and engagement influences a company’s ability to succeed and how to address issues regarding declining employee engagement.

Feedback and Strong Communication

Matt Edstrom Chief Marketing Officer of GoodLife Home Loans encourages teams to meet on a regular basis for improved communication:

“Holding frequent meetings to help to maintain and develop interpersonal relationships. Meetings can help employees feel familiarized with management and can help create a sense of accountability. Holding a consistent meeting where employees can count on the business being reliable will show that management is consistent. If management is not engaged and regularly scheduling and keeping meeting times, employees may lose motivation.”

In addition to meetings, boosting employee morale is critical to employee engagement. One of the most effective things that you can do to boost morale is simply let someone know when you saw that they did a good job. Conducting proper engagement with employees and giving consistent feedback extends well beyond conducting a performance review once or twice a year. It takes checking in, sometimes on a daily basis, and letting them know you’re there to inspire employees and want them to feel inspired as well. Many new employees are looking for a certain degree of mentorship, and a mentor/mentee relationship must be nurtured like any other.

While constructive criticism is necessary to help employees improve in their current position and grow into new ones, it is equally important to praise an employee when they demonstrate excellent performance and strong values in the workplace.

Praise for a job well done can be as simple as an email, instant message, or verbal compliment. You can also recognize outstanding performance at a team or company meeting.

Recognition of a job well done helps an employee to feel seen, valued, and appreciated, encourages those values to grow, and can lead to an enormous boost in morale and self-esteem.

Additionally, Jason Yau from CanvasPeople believes that you should go beyond the walls of the office when recognizing employees:

“If you want to reinforce a culture of appreciation and kindness at work, then you need to show your employees that you are invested in them as more than just workers. Congratulate someone on getting married or purchasing a new home. Ask how their band’s first live gig went and ask if you can get tickets to the next one. If you don’t already have these kinds of personal relationships with your employees and team members, then that is step one.”

Get-togethers outside of the office

Organizing events outside of the office can be a great way to build camaraderie, allow employees to interact in a more relaxed environment, and meet team members who they might not see regularly. This can lead to friendships in the office, which in turn will make employees happier to come into work.

Not every company can afford to take their employees on an annual vacation, but there are still plenty of cost-effective events that could be organized locally, such as a company BBQ, going to a sporting event, happy hours, dinner or lunch at a restaurant.

If alcohol will be available at the event, you can provide a coupon for one free drink and be sure to address guidelines or expectations for behavior before the event in an email to employees to be clear that you want a safe work environment.

Fun competitions and prizes

Setting up competitions with prizes or rewards that people can win is a great way to encourage productivity and help employees feel that management appreciates their hard work.

Businesses can hold a monthly or even weekly competition with small prizes. Keep the rewards simple. Prizes such as gift cards for a local restaurant or tickets to a local event or a movie are ideal. If you over emphasize competition and only distribute a few, big prizes amongst a large team, only a small number of people with a specific skill set will ever have a chance to win the prize, which could lead to feelings of frustration or that those people are being favored at the expense of others.

If you do make competitions productivity based, consider these options, allowing multiple winners and rewarding anyone who exceeds a certain threshold, or allowing the whole team to earn a prize if they reach an average threshold.

Balancing entertainment and fun with productivity will certainly help workers feel good about where they work and what they do.

Happy employees are productive employees

People want to work in an environment where they feel recognized for the good work they do and have coworkers that they get along with. It is crucial to ensure that employees have the team player attitude to help mitigate any unhealthy competition.

It all boils down to finding the balance between the requirements and expectations.

Recognizing employees for doing a good job, whether that be a quick pat on the shoulder or recognizing them at a meeting, can help improve morale and self-esteem not only for that employee, but the whole team. Events outside of the office can allow coworkers to interact in a less formal environment, which can help develop camaraderie and even friendships. Offering multiple prizes for achieving goals and even the occasional competition for a larger prize can help boost productivity.

Motivating employees and keeping them happy at work doesn’t have to be expensive and it can be of enormous benefit to your company!

About the Author: Noelle Fauver is a contributing editor for 365 Business. She has a B.A. in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge and experience in marketing, finance, and small business management.

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