04 Jul 2020

Are your employees happy?

I’ve seen some great role titles appearing across New Zealand lately – “chief happiness officer, chief people officer, happiness commander” and the list goes on. It seems that the concept of “happy employees make happy workplaces” is starting to cotton on. But why?

Whether it’s reducing the hours in a work week or brining puppies into the office, companies all over the world are prioritising employees’ happiness because it’s proven to increase productivity. When your employees are happy, life is better for everyone – including your customers. Here’s how happy employees make your business more productive.

Happy employees mean happy customers
No matter how great your product or service, or how brilliant your idea is, if no one is buying it, your business will fail. I’ve walked into dozens of businesses over the years, meeting people who are unhappy and don’t like their jobs. Personally, I’m generally in a hurry to leave the business, don’t often return and overall find the interaction unpleasant.  How many of you can relate to that feeling? However, when customers receive a welcome and positive interaction with you and your staff, you will find that they are more likely to purchase your products. Customer loyalty increases as does profit. People like doing business with people they like!

Happy employees perform at a higher level
Study after study shows that when employees are happy, they’re more engaged. As a result, they’re more productive, more likely to deliver high quality results and be more loyal to the company.  Not only does this ensure that the business runs smooth, but again it increases profits and reduces turnover.    

How do I create happiness opportunities?
While perks and benefits may help increase employee happiness, it’s not really all about beanbag chairs and ping-pong tables – at the end of the day it’s all about the company’s culture. The culture in your business is a sure-fire way to retain employees and keep them satisfied.  But how do you build a company culture that thrives and ensure the team are happy? Start with your team in mind – enlist, encourage and empower your employees to shape business culture so they feel they are influential and a valuable part of the team. As a business owner, you alone cannot dictate what the company culture should feel and look like – you need to find out what your team think.  Ask the questions. Happiness and satisfaction are subjective concepts – while for some us of monetary benefits can equal job satisfaction, some might strive for recognition for their hard work.

How do you spot happy employees?
You can survey your team and ask questions, but there are also some visible signs you might like to look for to gauge happiness. 

• Smiling – yes one of the signs of a happy employee is a smiley employee. When talking with your team look around and observe their body language. Do they smile regularly?

• Showing up early at work – take note, employees who are happy don’t mind coming in earlier to prepare for morning meetings or staying behind a few minutes here and there to get a task completed.

• Establishing positive relationships with colleagues – happy employees are infectious (not literally) and they like to engage positively with their co-workers. 

• Taking part in after-hours work events – employees who engage with others after hours and show interest in the company are typically reflecting happiness with their jobs. Voluntarily attending events after spending all day together is a great sign that your employees are happy and don’t mind hanging out.

• Optimistic attitude – if you want to gauge this consider asking your employees their thoughts on business accomplishments and the company’s future. Listen for positive and negative comments given!

• Cost saving initiatives – another habit of a happy employee is when they find ways to save company resources.

• Supportive of colleagues – a great workplace makes each employee feel encouraged by other members of the team. One of the habits of a happy employee is when they are supportive of their colleagues.

When employees are happy at work, they are more motivated, typically they will invest their personal time and efforts, and regularly look for ways to overcome obstacles. Take a moment to reflect now and consider whether your employees are demonstrating any of the signs above. If not it’s time to make some change.