Although most employers believe that increasing a worker’s salary will make them happy, this is simply not true. In order to boost workers’ overall job satisfaction, you need more than splashing dollar bills at them. In fact, there are at least 12 things that employees appreciate at the work station.
Respect from superiors and peers
Workers are somewhat infantile in the sense that concepts like “fairness” and “respect” mean a world to them. In order for any person to feel happy, they should feel respected in every sense possible. For employed people, this means their work should be appreciated by the company’s management.
Respect shouldn’t only come from senior levels of management but workers should learn to appreciate their peers. This is the apex of works ethics and it is nurtured by superiors who treat their employees equally and value the work in more than one way.
There are various ways to show respect, from oral commendation to a formal letter of gratitude. Even a short stick-it note on the monitor is a sign of respect. However, if these small tokens of appreciation are missing, then worker’s dissatisfaction with their job will slowly grow, resulting in decreased productivity.
Less intrusive team-building activities
Respect isn’t just demonstrated through positive comments and a bigger paycheck. Workers expect you to respect them as people, so respecting their time is another important contributor to workplace happiness. The work-life balance is not something that should be high on a worker’s agenda but on the employer’s as well.
In this sense, team-building activities should be scheduled to take place within existing workhours. The HR department often gets carried away with planning team-building activities booking the entire weekend for whitewater rafting or a paintball matchup.
Employees cherish and need free time to be with their families and engage in leisure activities of their own. That’s why hanging out with their peers should be carefully scheduled not to take a huge chunk of their free time. For instance, you can plan a tennis table tournament on a Friday afternoon from 3 PM to 5 PM.
Building trust takes time
If the work your staff puts every day in the office is truly appreciated, then they will learn to trust their superiors over time. Trust is an important happiness factor, both among employees and between management and workers. After people learn to trust each other, they will start performing better at work.
The same principle applies in professional sport, if the team spirit is high and there is a strong bond between players, good results are a natural consequence of this cohesion. A manager is like a coach and players (employees) must trust him or her to excel at the game of business.
“My boss is great!”
Superiors have a key role in workers’ satisfaction. This is one of those instances where a single person can truly make a difference. A bad boss is a reason why employees rapidly quit their job, while an excellent boss is a reason why people stay and give their A-game every day at work.
When hiring and promoting individuals to make managerial positions, you should their character into consideration. A professional in the field might seem like the logical choice but unless they have excellent people skills, then better hire a different candidate.
More often than not, a good boss is a person who treats his/her subordinates as equals and is always open to communication. A good manager is sympathetic, fair, transparent, and tries to solve problems, rather than create them.
There is a fine line between being a true boss and being petty and bossy; try not to cross it!
Enough room for individual growth
Once a graduate straight out of college lands his/her first job, their biggest priority is to learn about the industry they are employed in. Afterward, a bigger salary and executive positions become a priority but the need to grow personally and professionally never goes away.
If you employ a worker who is stuck in the same job without the ability to advance or learn new skills for years on end, they become disgruntled and for a good reason. When a person feels they cannot make a difference to the company they work for, they cannot possibly feel happy. They will feel like robots, performing menial tasks out of management’s sight.
The aforementioned team-building activities are just one segment of helping people develop on both personal and professional plain. Training courses, higher formal education, new challenges, and changing work roles every couple of years are among other measures that help professionals grow.
Like in the army, after you notice that a person is putting in a great effort in their job from day to day, they should be promoted into a higher rank. Even if they fail at their new role, this doesn’t mean that they should be given a fair chance to grow under your auspices. If you play your cards right, you won’t just get a happy employee but a loyal employee willing to commit their professional future to your company.
Create a chill zone
As the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” and nowhere could this be more true than in an office environment. Quality rest is just as important as the work itself, so you need to make sure employees have a chill zone where they can unwind from work.
The list of commodities a lounge area or a chill zone can contain is endless, as it ranges from gaming consoles to hiring a professional chef to cater to employees’ dietary habits. The best way to know how your staff likes to unwind is to conduct a poll asking them which amenities they would like the chill zone to feature.
However, there are some staples, such as a sport area (a tennis table or a billiard table are the most popular) and a coffee machine: the prize possession of every office kitchen. If you find it hard to manage the latter, you can always rent a coffee machine and not have to worry that the quality of coffee workers consume.
In fact, most people cannot imagine a morning without a cup of strong coffee blend, so be sure to invest in these seemingly trivial details. Heck, you might get some individuals to stay with your brand just because you have the best roast in the labor market!
“Wanna grab lunch together?”
Speaking of comestibles, when two or more people eat together, it creates a bond between them. In terms of workplace happiness, workers sitting down for lunch together is the surest sign that employees are bonding.
In fact, compatible coworkers are high on every employee’s agenda. Not all workers should become friends with one another but they need to have a professional rapport with everyone, from the business owner to the cleaning crew. Otherwise, the atmosphere at work will soon become full of animosity and no one would want to work in such a toxic environment.
Just like neighbors learn to live together, so should your employees enjoy working alongside each other. Their mutual relationship should be full of respect and trust. If these two factors are present, then a sense of camaraderie will develop over time, turning different employees into a true team, rather than a group of individuals.
A purpose in life and at work
In psychology, having a sense of purpose in life is among the most important factors of mental health. The same sense of professional purposefulness exists at work as well. A worker can feel appreciated and given enough room to grow but unless they feel purposeful in the overall company plans, then they cannot be happy even with all the bonuses at the end of the month.
Developing a sense of purposefulness has to do with the company’s hierarchy. Each and every role within the enterprise should be envisioned in such a way that it is crucial for doing business, at least in that segment or department.
Just like a firefighter or a doctor gets up every day and knows that they might easily save someone’s life that day, employees should arrive at work thinking they can make a real difference and that he company would not be the same without them.
Money makes the world go around
So far, we have tried to avoid the issue of financial compensation, i.e. the basic salary. The reasons are pretty obvious because a prospective worker is told the salary they will earn each month before they accept the post.
However, the basic or starting salary should fluctuate over time. For instance, every promotion should be accompanied by better basic pay. Furthermore, if you are trying to attract talent to your company, they might already have all the amenities listed above at their present firm, so the proposed salary will tip the scales or them to transfer to your company.
Apart from the monthly remuneration, you should provide workers with performance-based bonuses. These differ from industry to industry but in general, if you can establish an unambiguous link between a person’s recent performance at work, they should be rewarded for this.
It is only fair to share a piece of the profits with the workers who contributed to it, isn’t it?
Although a paper cut might not seem like a big deal, the deep wound can easily get infected and cause serious health issues. Just imagine what the consequences of poor safety standards at a construction site or on the surface of a mining operation could have!
Safety at work is definitely important for employees but luckily, most employees realize its significance, and workers are better protected nowadays than just a couple of decades ago. However, workplace safety shouldn’t just consist of handing out protective gear, fire drill, and posting safety signs.
Employees need to feel that someone is taking active care of their health on and off work. A health plan, dental insurance, and life insurance should all be incorporated into the standard health package you offer. Once a person knows they will get paid if they fall ill or get pregnant, they can perform their best knowing that they will be looked after if their health unexpectedly health deteriorates.
Granting autonomy to talented individuals
Did you know that the color red in most countries’ flags symbolizes the sacrifice their peoples took fighting for independence? Your workers might not have colorful banners but they are fighting a battle of their own every day at work. However, they don’t want to break free from the company but they rather wish to be granted extra autonomy.
The aforementioned individual growth is nearly impossible to achieve unless a particular worker is given a certain degree of autonomy and the ability to make decisions in their line of work. Micromanaging individual work posts should be left to the workers themselves.
The freedom to make independent decisions, share ideas and personal management of workloads allows workers to excel at their job. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s OK to decline executive orders but it merely implies that most employees perform better when aren’t constantly monitored.
Not only will this policy increase workplace happiness but you might discover unpolished talent among present employees.
A flexible work schedule
The 9 to 5 workday is slowly making history, as more and more people are either working from home or their employers have embraced flexible work hours. A flexible work schedule makes it is easier to maintain the work-life balance which is crucial for most professionals.
Promoting flexible working arrangements is a huge lure for prospective employees, as they get become managers of their time. Furthermore, once the focus is shifted from workouts to the work itself, productivity is bound to increase, as sooner a task gets completed, the sooner can people be back home spending quality time with their families.
Each employee is different and it is impossible to find two people who want the same from their workplace. However, the 12 things listed above form the core of employees’ wishes and hopes. After all, who wouldn’t want bonuses, a safe working environment, interesting coworkers, and a good cup of coffee in the office!