You might think that trying to cultivate a happy workforce as an elusive, time-consuming waste of important resources, but studies show that the opposite is true. Creating a positive company culture begins with fostering happy employees.
Happy employees are 85 percent more efficient, experience a 60 percent drop in absenteeism and stay twice as long in their jobs as their less happy colleagues, creating a measurable impact on engagement, retention, safety, wellness, employer brand and even cost control goals, according to the study, The Science of Happiness, conducted by Globoforce.
Here are six steps you can take toward nurturing happiness, creating a thriving culture and boosting your business.
1. Happiness is based on gratitude
Happiness is a habit that needs to be modeled. As a manager or business leader, your demeanor and attitude in the office has an impact on your employees. When you demonstrate happiness you’re training your employees to follow suit.
Get in the habit of being grateful and showing gratitude for what you have. It can be a small thing – I am thankful for this cup of coffee, for the sun coming out today. When you make an effort to find things to be grateful for, you’re training your brain to be on the watch for more of what is good in your world. By making gratitude a habit, you will set the example for others and create a positive work environment. Focus on the positive when interacting with your employees. Point out their accomplishments and abilities. Remind them that they are a positive force within your company and that they have much to offer. This is a powerful motivation tool and it will help to create a “can-do” attitude in your workforce.
2. Praise others
As a business leader you’re influential – your opinion matters, especially to your employees. Make it a goal to compliment people. Recognizing even small accomplishments and praising your team members in meetings or in an email can make a big impact. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture.
We all know that sometimes work can get monotonous and overwhelming. Say for example that Mike is feeling a bit underappreciated and is frustrated with his current project. He comes to a meeting feeling defeated and unmotivated. Then you, as his manager, compliment his efforts and praise him for a job well done. The impact is immediate – he feels valued. His demeanor changes, he becomes engaged and leaves the meeting with a newfound energy to tackle his project.
Make it a goal to compliment your employees and you will see remarkable results. It not only stimulates your brain, it has an effect on the person you are praising.
3. Have a sense of purpose
People need to have a sense of purpose at work. Their happiness is directly connected to knowing that they make a difference. It’s not enough for a manager to dole out tasks. Take the time to explain why the individual task is important to the company as a whole. This will give your employees a sense of purpose and belonging that will motivate them to strive for more. Engaged employees are efficient, enthusiastic and are willing to do what it takes to help your organization succeed. Creating a sense of purpose for your employees is an investment in your company’s future.
4. Provide social interaction
With our busy work schedules, sometimes all we want to do is close ourselves off from the rest of the world, focus on our computer and just get it done. But often the best thing to do when we’re in that mode is to take a break. Although it can seem counter-productive, taking a break can be rejuvenating.
The key here is to seek a bit of social interaction. Encourage your employees to take breaks and provide them with an area in the office to chill out and talk to one another. Taking breaks is important to both mood and concentration. Helping your employees relax and connect with each other during the day is a great way to help them stay motivated and productive. Everyone needs a break from the daily grind. Encouraging your employees to take breaks can increase productivity, improve mental acuity and even relieve pain.
What can you do to overcome the hard times?
Bad things happen — businesses are hit with economic recessions, people get fired, people quit, customers get angry. How do you overcome these situations and maintain a positive work environment?
5. Put things in perspective
Encourage your employees to look at the bigger picture. Say an employee is upset that a project didn’t go to her, or that she didn’t get the corner office. Try to direct her toward what she has to be proud of: the project that she excelled at, the tenure she has built with the company, her great leadership qualities.
Putting things in the right perspective can create positive momentum, even when times are tough. Leaders who demonstrate an optimistic attitude in times of hardship can steer their employees toward a more productive mindset during difficult times.
6. Encourage self-care and exercise
Cultivate a healthy environment at work for all employees to help lower stress. Encouraging your employees to focus on self-care, such as going for a walk outside during the day, is a great way to keep morale up. Provide them with information on how to reduce stress, the importance of getting enough sleep and eating healthy.
Being proactive as a leader shows you care about your workforce and that you’re there to help. Connecting with your employees and encouraging them to connect with each other during hard times will help lift morale and keep your business moving in a positive direction.
By creating a positive workplace you will retain top performing employees and increase your business success. For more tips on developing positive and productive employees, get our free e-book, How to Develop a Top-notch Workforce That Will Accelerate Your Business.