Happy Staff Make You More MoneyMarch 30, 2018
Why you should care about your staff
The people who work for you are the heart of your business. Without them, you would find it impossible to get anything done, and your company would collapse. Unhappy staff is more likely to make mistakes, not care so much about their work and not put all their efforts and energies into doing a good job. They may be more likely to have sick days because they lack the motivation to get to work no matter what. They’re also more likely to leave, and staff turnover is a costly affair. Even if they are performing adequately now, you’re almost certainly missing out on the added value they could bring to the business if they were more motivated and felt loyalty to you. All these factors will affect your efficiency and productivity, and will, therefore, have an impact on your profitability.
Finding out how happy your staff are
The first task to undertake in finding out how happy everyone is will be to ask them. Depending on the size of your team and how you believe they will respond to being asked, you can conduct some face to face meetings or ask everyone to complete a questionnaire. It could be anonymized if you think it will facilitate more honest answers. Encourage staff to put forward any suggestions they have on how to improve the working environment too. Gather all your data together and analyze what information you have collected. See if there are common themes that are affecting the majority of the team, and any single issues that may only affect a few individuals. You should then have a much better idea of what your staff thinks of working for you, and what is influencing their enjoyment of their roles.
Why higher pay isn’t the answer
Getting paid is one of the primary motivating factors as to why people work. Unless they have money, they can’t support themselves and their families, live the life they want to or pursue any dreams they may have. Relying on a regular income is one of the most important parts of anyone’s life, but while it may be a motivating factor in getting people to work, it isn’t what makes them happy in their job. If they’re severely underpaid, that will make them unhappy, and getting salaries right is very important from that point of view. People will push themselves to keep going for the money they will earn, but the need for repayment is not what provides the enjoyment and satisfaction of being at work. Giving everyone a significant pay rise might make them feel happy at first, but unless you can back it up with better working conditions, your financial generosity will be a short-lived fix. For people to be satisfied at work, they need to feel valued for what they do, and fulfilled in their endeavors.
Inject some fun into the workplace
Running a business is a serious affair, and a lot is riding on the success of the venture. It’s entirely reasonable to expect your staff to work hard and do their best for you, but that doesn’t mean you have to operate in a humorless, draconian atmosphere. Being able to have a joke and a laugh and having a natter at coffee break time all help build better working relationships and keep things more relaxed. The concept of introducing elements of gameplay to the workplace is something that has proven popular, as it promotes fun and competitive ways to reach personal and company goals. Take call center gamification for example. Giving staff additional incentives to perform well in what can be a high-pressure environment like a call center gives them a new drive to achieve their targets and makes the work far more rewarding.
What can you do to improve staff happiness?
One of the best things you can do is make sure your staff knows they are valued and respected. Simply telling people they’re doing a good job can work wonders for boosting morale, because it is human nature to enjoy the feeling of being praised. It doesn’t have to be lavish expressions of gratitude every day. In fact, that’s something to avoid because for one thing, praise loses its impact if it is continual, and for another, most people would find it uncomfortable having constant, excessive attention thrust upon them. Show them that you genuinely appreciate what they do. You should also get into the habit of listening to your staff and paying attention to them, rather than always being too busy to notice them unless something goes wrong. Being able to pass the time of day, ask them how they are and what they’ve been up to, remember special events in their lives and being supportive of their activities outside work are all examples of ways that you can demonstrate that you value them as a person as well as for their contribution to the business. You should also be open to hearing their suggestions and complaints, and acting on them where appropriate. Knowing that you respect them as human beings and want them to be comfortable in their surroundings is also important. Look after the facilities, make sure everyone has the equipment they need to do their job efficiently and safely and do everything you can to make the physical environment a pleasant place to be. Make sure you have staff appraisal systems in place and that you operate a productive and enjoyable staff training program.
Happy staff will work harder, take more care and be more loyal, and any investment of time and resources towards this objective are well worth making.