Turning any old team into a dream team takes time. What it doesn’t necessarily take is a lot of extra cash. Sure, happiness in the business world usually translates into dollars and cents versus grins and giggles – though you might be surprised at how motivational those can be. Economists at the UK’s University of Warwick and a partnering German university found that happier people are roughly 12 percent more productive.
What makes employees happy? Things like knowing that their contributions are understood and appreciated, feelings of project ownership and, yes, stuff like free soda in the canteen. What might surprise you is that many of the things that make employees feel good about work are also good for employers. For instance:
Some companies do require on-site employees during specific hours, but in our global economy the 9-5 is on a slow path toward extinction. Giving workers more control over their own schedules is one of the easiest ways to boost satisfaction and productivity so everyone wins.
You don’t have to ditch office hours entirely to have a positive net effect on employee productivity. Try a temporary one-day-per-week arrangement and see how it goes. It seems counterintuitive but many people work harder and faster when they’re allowed to work where they feel energized and inspired.
The “bring your own device” movement is popular with employees because they can utilize the tech and platforms they’re comfortable with. And it’s popular with employers because training costs go down when workers are familiar with technology. The one caveat is security, but as long as there’s a mobile device management strategy, which is also a must-have when telecommuters are on the payroll, protecting sensitive info is easy.
This holdover from the 1990s is back on employer radars as a way to increase worker satisfaction. Decades of studies have shown that employees self-report higher happiness and productivity when allowed to wear jeans and a t-shirt in place of suits and ties.
No Strings Time Off
A solid employee will more than make up for a day of rest in productive hours, which means that extra vacation days given for meeting goals are a good trade. Create a clear incentive policy that rewards benchmarks with half or even full days off and employees will strive to make the grade.
Workers who know they not only have a voice but also influence will contribute more ideas – but only if those ideas are taken seriously and successes are acknowledged. When employees have great ideas make sure they get the credit, and every hand will be up at your next meeting.
Opportunity for Growth
Just like companies have long-term goals, good employees will have an idea about where they want to be in five or ten years. Give them the tools they need to grow (think training and the knowledge that hiring happens from within) and employee loyalty will soar.
Just remember: What’s good for the goose is usually good for the gander. Make sure employees are happy and they’ll make sure your business booms.