4 Things Every Manager Should Know About Workplace Happiness

We all want to be part of a happy workplace.

While more and more companies are recognising the benefits of a happy team, many don’t yet know the best way to go about it.

Paying employees more to keep them happy seems like an obvious answer, but according to Eric Siu, CEO of San Francisco-based digital marketing agency Single Grain, it’s not that simple…

“Businesses need to prioritize bringing fulfillment and happiness to employees. The obvious choice might seem like paying them more, but that does not directly correlate with long-term happiness. Money is a reward that aids as a fuel for a temporary period. Once it’s exhausted, employees lose interest.”

So if money isn’t the answer, what is? Here are 4 things you should know about workplace happiness…

Your employees think speaking up is pointless

Most companies these days value employee feedback. If you want a happy, productive and engaged team, you have to listen to what they want.

But is it enough to just listen to your employees? Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Company, remembers being unhappy in her last job. Although she was a little scared of that her boss would interpret her feedback as a personal attack, that’s not what stopped her from talking through her problems…

“The biggest reason I didn’t give my boss feedback is I believed that even if I did speak up, nothing would change. I believed my boss wouldn’t do anything with my feedback. No action would be taken. And if nothing was going to change, what was the point of me saying anything?”

If you want your team to be happy, it’s important that you act on their feedback.

Of course, there will be times when you simply can’t make changes that your employees ask for. In this case, make sure you explain to your team why you can’t make these changes, so they don’t feel like you’re just ignoring their feedback.

People want to be themselves at work

Of course you want your team to be professional, but do you really want them to sacrifice their personalities when they’re at work?

Geoffrey James, author of the Sales Source column on Inc.com, points out the importance of letting people be themselves at work…

“Workers are happier when they can be who they really are, rather than pretending to be “all work.” Therefore, rather than looking to hire nose-to-the-grindstone workaholics, actively encourage employees to be themselves and try being who you really are.”

Spend time with your team so they feel comfortable at work. Encourage hobbies and praise individuality to let people know you just want them to be themselves.

Workplace attitudes come from the top

You can’t expect your team to be happy and engaged if your managers aren’t.

As Jen Agustin, director of marketing at Bizo, points out, positive attitudes start at the top and trickle down…

“At most companies, no matter the size, the “tone” ultimately gets set at the very top and trickles down to every employee. That tone can express positivity in the form of fun, honesty and transparency, or in some unfortunate cases, convey feelings of intimidation and mistrust.”

Make sure you are open, honest, passionate and optimistic around your team and watch as your positivity catches on. When hiring, make sure you hire not only for skill, but for attitude and culture fit, especially with managers.

Happiness doesn’t guarantee engagement

Don’t forget that happiness is not the same as employee engagement.

Stephanie Reyes of TribeHR, points out how engaged employees might not be happy and vice versa…

“While happiness does not ensure employee engagement; happy employees generate a cycle of positive reinforcement that helps sustain their level of engagement and satisfaction even when things get tough. On the other hand, an actively disengaged employee may be happy about a particular benefit or perk, yet still fail to contribute at the level of an engaged employee. And striving to keep employees happy by simply indulging them will not necessarily increase employee engagement.”

You need to show your employees that you value their happiness, but don’t forget to make sure you’re keeping them engaged too.

How do you keep your team happy? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: seanbjack via Compfight cc