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The Importance of a Happy Workforce

13 January 2022

3,507 is the average number of days that a British person spends at work over their lifetime. The fact that we spend over 10 years of our whole life at the workplace means only one thing: we need to love what we do.

Employees play a vital role in any company. They represent your brand and keep the business going. If your employees are unhappy, your whole business will suffer from the roots upwards. Here is how to keep your workforce satisfied and productive.

Why do you need a happy workforce?

Employees are 13% more productive when they’re happy, shows a study performed by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. The research was based on a case study of the workforce at BT, a British telecommunications firm. Those employees who were happier made more phone calls per hour worked and converted more calls to sales.

Happy employees = a pleasant environment

But that’s not all; happiness is proven to reduce stress. Research shows that fatigue in the workplace can lead to longer reaction times, decreased concentration, reduced task motivation, and lower vigilance. This leads to decreased productivity, poor communication, irritation, and even accidents in the workplace. With the festive period approaching, it’s common that your staff might feel more stressed and overworked than usual.

Furthermore, stressed-out employees are more likely to be absent from work, mainly due to poor mental health.

Happy employees = better customer experience and brand image

Stressed and frowning employees can come across as unwelcoming, whereas a smile and a greeting at the checkout point can significantly increase customer retention.

Of course, unhappy employees can still be polite and professional with customers. However, their dissatisfaction will affect the quality of customer service they offer. When your staff are happy, they’re more likely to engage with customers, upsell, think of creative solutions, and pay more attention to their workflow. This results in a positive company reputation and higher customer retention.

Changing employee attitudes

What do employees value more: happiness or salary? A survey conducted by Wildgoose UK shows that 58% of respondents prioritise happiness over salary in 2021. That’s a slight decrease from 2017 when 61% of respondents considered happiness over salary.

That’s not to say that the monetary component is of no importance when it comes to employee satisfaction, but there is more to it than that. In fact, according to the Mercer global engagement scale that includes employee data from the UK, US, Japan, India, Germany, France, and China, “base pay” is towards the bottom in the list of motivating factors for employees.

The leading motivator was revealed to be “respect”, followed by “type of work”, “providing good service to customers”, “the people you work with”, and “good work-life balance”.

How to increase your employees’ happiness?

Congratulations, you’ve learnt the first lesson of how to keep your employees happy. Now it’s time to implement the key motivators into your employee wellbeing program. There are many ways you can spread a little joy at the workplace and thrive as a business but here are some starting points.

Let your employees know their value

Is the monetary reward enough to show your employees you really value them and their efforts? Oftentimes, it’s best to boost the monetary reward with additional bonuses and prizes. Christmas is the ideal time to organise little competitions or simply give away gifts on a daily basis in the countdown to the holidays.

Appreciation, however, isn’t manifested solely through physical gifts. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to motivate, encourage, and congratulate your staff on wins both big and small. Send them a “well done” email, talk about their strengths regularly, and position yourself as a person they can trust with any issues. Additionally, provide an array of training and courses in areas where your staff want to improve. This will show them that you’re interested in their career growth.

Facilitate a greater sense of purpose

What motivates employees to work towards a company goal is knowing that their efforts really matter. Initiate them into the company strategy and keep them updated about your business’ performance.

Fostering a sense of belonging and purpose, also known as “epic meaning”, is vital. That is, the bigger picture in which each employee is a superhero working to benefit the company rather than themselves. One tool that can help you foster a sense of belonging is workwear clothing.

According to Ann Dowdeswell, Sales and Marketing Director at Jermyn Street Design, a global specialist in corporate clothing: “Uniforms not only promote unity and equality at the workplace, but they’re also a great way to uplift team spirit and enhance corporate social responsibility.”

Your employees are more likely to be engaged with your company and their work if they feel like they’re essential to the business. A recent survey by Market Inspector shows that 72% of the respondents think of their role as a job and only 28% perceive it as a career.

Foster friendships

57% of the respondents of a survey conducted by Wildgoose UK feel like having a “work best friend” makes the workplace more enjoyable, while 22% feel that they are equally or more productive. As an employer, you can nurture these positive relationships at the workplace.

Start by dedicating a social/break room at work, where employees can have meaningful conversations and play games together, such as darts and pool. It’s also a good idea to organise team-building activities and socials, such as yoga classes, bowling, and drinks after work.

 

Happiness at the workplace starts with facilitating a healthy, inspiring environment for your workforce. As an employer, you play a vital role in boosting your employees’ satisfaction, and there are many initiatives you can implement to help with that, from bonding activities to a rewards scheme. In return, you will have a productive and motivated workforce that really cares for your organisation.

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