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Topic: Wellbeing

What makes employees happy at work?

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Happy employees contribute more to your company’s success than nearly anything else. Learn how to keep employees happy, engaged, and thriving at their jobs. 

In the past, you generally had to live with the job you were born into. If your father was a blacksmith, then you’d better develop a quick interest in metalworking—or baking bread, or sheering sheep. Opportunity was hard to come by.  

In our modern world, we’re spoiled for choice—and the countless available job options are  one reason many people find themselves increasingly dissatisfied with their current jobs. In our 2018 Global Culture Study, 55% of the surveyed employees said they would accept if offered a job at a different company with a similar role, pay, and benefits.

It’s not enough to provide decent pay and working conditions anymore—you need your employees to want to come to work every day. After all, happy employees work harder and are less likely to look elsewhere for fulfillment. Let’s take a look at ten proven ways to ensure your employees walk in and out of work with a smile.

1. Find the purpose behind the work

On average, people spend a third of their lives working. As a result, employees who find a meaningful purpose in their work are three times more likely to stay with their current organization. No matter what your company does, find the greater purpose behind it (a soup company doesn’t just sell a product, they want to feed the world). Share your purpose with your team members and let them take ownership of it. 

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2. Strike a healthy balance between work and home life

For employees to feel focused and happy at work, many require a career that more smoothly accommodates their personal lives—but only 40% of organizations foster happiness both in and outside of work. You can change that by providing more flexible hours, keeping work at work, and offering benefits that support your people’s home lives.

3. Be transparent about company wins and losses

Running a business comes with both ups and downs. Your employees understand this and will appreciate your honesty when you share company updates. If you don’t tell them, they will likely find out one way or another. This way, they’ll feel that you trust them enough to treat them like adults.

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4. Give employees special projects 

You hired your people for a reason—don’t be afraid to trust them. Our research found that when an employee participates in a special project, they are 50% more likely to believe they learn new and valuable things in their current role. Empower your people and save them from routine burnout by challenging them with something new.

5. Provide learning and career opportunities

Some employers think what makes employees happy at work is working less. Often, the opposite is true. In a recent survey, employees listed “opportunity for professional growth” as one of their top drivers of engagement, and exiting employees cited a lack of opportunity as their second-highest reason for quitting. Give your employees the room (and opportunity) to grow.

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6. Encourage interoffice communication and comradery

An extensive survey showed that only 56% of employees feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in their current employment. Cultivate a workplace where your people feel encouraged to collaborate and make friends—and watch as your employee happiness skyrockets. 

7. Hire fantastic management

Nearly everyone has had one nightmare manager who made their work life miserable. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that half of surveyed employees said they would turn down a 10% wage increase to remain with a great manager. Because of this, it’s crucial that you hire and train managers who encourage and inspire your people. 

8. Provide personalized benefits

Many employers understand the benefits of having happy employees, but they don’t recognize how offering benefits can lead to happy employees. Provide unique insurance, retirement, and other personal benefits to show your employees how much their welfare means to you.

9. Recognize and celebrate your people

There are few things less motivating than putting your heart and soul into your work and having it go unrecognized. You have the opportunity to celebrate and encourage good work. Seize it. Keep your employees engaged by fostering a culture where private and public recognition is commonplace. In return, they’ll want to work even harder.

10. Make employees feel invaluable

Sometimes, the simplest things are the most effective. Let your employees know how much they mean to you. Show them the direct impact their work has on your company. Help them understand how invaluable they are. You’ll find that the more you cultivate a workplace culture dedicated to making your people happy, the more your employees will be perfectly happy to stay.

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