What is your company's most valuable asset?
- Is it the equipment?
- The real estate?
- The data?
- How about the Intellectual Property?
While all of these are valuable, you have something far more significant.
Your company's most valuable asset is the minds and hearts of your employees. Each one of them is unique and irreplaceable. It makes good business sense to ensure you keep your assets and derive the maximum value from them. This is accomplished by empowering your employees and keeping them happy.
Yes, I said, happy! Why is happiness such a big deal?
Happy engaged employees are an essential component for a successful business. Based on research done by Delivering Happiness and programmed into their ROI Calculator, happy employees sell 37% more than their unhappy co-workers. Engaged employees have 59% less employee turnover and a potential 21% increase in productivity.
A 2004 article by the American Psychological Association reports that "workplace stress is estimated to cost U.S. industry $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity and medical, legal and insurance fees." There is a direct correlation between employee well-being and happiness and your business's bottom line.
Download our free Employer Toolkit to learn more about how values, trust, and well-being can lead to happier, more productive employees.
Encourage Employee Happiness & Engagement!
To do so, you will need to change and create new company policies. Your specific changes will be based on the dynamics of your organization. The policies you put into place should implement the following principles.
- Avoid unfulfilled expectations. The cause of most emotional pain is unfulfilled expectations. Think about the last time you were upset about something. You were upset because something did not work out how you wanted – how you expected it should have. When your employees have an expectation about how things should "be" at work, and their work environment does not fulfill their expectations, they will be upset.
As management, you do not always need to fulfill your employees' expectations, but you must manage them. Ask your employees regularly if there is anything at work making them unhappy. Sit down and talk with each person regularly. Encourage them to talk about work. Ask, "If you were the CEO, how would you do things?" Discuss what they bring up and work to resolve any discontent. The result of this activity will be happier, more engaged employees.
The concept of unfilled expectations works both ways. You, as management, also have expectations. Discuss your expectations with your employees. Be open and accepting of push-back. Explain the why behind your expectations and encourage discussion. You and your employees will be much happier with the results.
- Develop and maintain a safe environment for employees to express themselves. Foster a cooperative relationship between management and staff. When one is free to voice when they disagree, they are also genuinely free to say when they do agree.
- Cultivate a sense of belonging. When a person has a stake in the outcome and the results of their actions, they are more cooperative and participate more fully – that is, they are happier and more engaged.
- Provide recognition and reward. There are two ways to motivate a person with pain and pleasure. While pain may be the stronger motivator for an immediate response, it is much less effective than pleasure in the long run. Create an environment where doing the right thing for you and the company is recognized and rewarded. When a member of your staff goes above and beyond, make a big deal of it. If another member helps their teammate, recognize that act with "The Good Samaritan Award." The objective is to foster happiness, enjoyment, and pleasure around working for your company.
- Empower your employees to be innovative and creative. I understand that random ideas, when acted upon, could be detrimental to your business. In this case, empower your employees to present their ideas for approval first. Encouraging employees to present their ideas has the potential to bring you the best idea your company has ever had.
- Be Authentic. All the principles discussed above will have little or no effect on your employees if they feel you are being disingenuous. This time in history is the dawn of the Age of Authenticity. Authenticity is the essence of what defines a good working relationship. Genuinely care for your employees, their desires, and their goals, and they will care for yours.
At the start of this article, I mentioned that the specific policies you implement will be as unique as your company's. When deciding what those policies will be, put yourself in the position of the people affected by the policy, and ask yourself, "Am I happy with this?" If a company policy makes someone unhappy, that policy will have a cost. Strive to make everyone happy because that becomes money in the bank.
WHEN EMPLOYEES ARE HAPPIER AT WORK, YOUR BUSINESS THRIVES. That's why we offer virtual and on-site solutions designed for the individual and the team, so you can start thriving at work and in life.
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