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5 tips to keep your staff happy
While a workforce of happy minions may be nothing more than a pipe dream, moulding your current troop of Daves, Carls and Kevins into a team of Pharrell-esque employees can prove to be a lot simpler and worthwhile than you might have thought.
Studies have proven that happy workers are productive workers and though we can all hardly take the Google approach of scooters and slides, there are a few steps you can employ to put some smiles back onto the office floor.
Money Can't Buy Happiness
Money might make the world go round, but it appears there's little correlation between bank balance and happiness when it comes to your average worker. Though a healthy pay package may be an incentive to begin with, the motivation of money soon wears off after a few early mornings and lunchtime meal deals.
Employees aren't mindless drones (well not all of them) and need to have their human needs met as well as being fulfilled on a corporate level in order to be truly enamored in their job. Trust, stability and respect are all elements around which your business should be built, although I'd also recommend Earth, Wind and Fire as elements to boost morale...."Ba De Ya."
Though nobody is arguing that Casper wouldn't have made a great boss, being transparent in conversation rather than appearance is more likely to result in a content labour force than it is a Ghostly Trio.
Staff like to be kept in the loop and suspecting that decisions are being made behind closed doors is a sure fire way to create an atmosphere of disillusionment and distrust. This isn't to say that the work experience temp needs access to the company accounts, but it does mean that employers should create a platform for open communication where both management and staff can discuss concerns. This can take place in the office or over drinks, but just remember, a drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts.
Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that you hand the company reigns over to your very own Philip J. Fry, but staff need to feel some possession of their job role and workplace. A lack of ownership breeds a lack of responsibility and if workers don't feel attached to what they're doing, why would they do it effectively?
Now while shuffling around in a dressing gown and slippers may be taking it one step too far, your employees need to feel like they own the place and this can be achieved by encouraging role rotation and ensuring that everyone has an input on the bigger picture.
Recognise and Reward
Rewarding good work might seem like nothing more than gold star conditioning, but staff who go above and beyond need to know that their efforts have been noticed and appreciated. Giving staff the impression that their endeavor isn't valued will only produce unenthused clock watchers with little incentive or motivation to maintain high standards.
Not every company comes right out of the script of Brewster's Millions though and consistently rewarding staff with monetary bonuses isn't feasible for everyone. As already discussed however, money isn't everything and praising a hardworking employee in a one on one discussion might do more for extending the longevity of their good work than loosening the company purse strings.
Stop Thinking That Your Employees Are Below You
Staff will always be receptive to good leadership, but even more so when bosses talk to them on their level. There's inevitably going to be a hierarchy in any business, so it's important that employers try to close the human gap between those at the top and bottom of the ladder and generate more of a 'we're all in this together' mentality.
I'm not for one moment suggesting that you don a David Brent persona and try and learn all the names of your receptionist's cats, but stepping down off your throne every now and again and taking an interest in staff can go a long way. Employees like to think that you care about their lives beyond the office wall and not just whether they're capable of moving numbers from one spreadsheet to another. So talk to workers, get involved and never ask someone to do something you wouldn't do yourself.
Aristotle once said that happiness depends on ourselves and this is certainly the case when trying to create a team of happy go-getters. While many employers think that this addresses itself in the signing of a pay cheque, most will find that taking a proactive and softer approach will go someway to attaining that workforce of productive, loyal and ultimately happy minions.