Every employer wants their employees to be happy at work. The benefits of a happy workforce are well-known. Happier employees make for a better working environment, efficient teams and boosted productivity. If satisfied at work, people are less likely to leave, and they’ll be more motivated to do a good job.
A recent study uncovered some of the major drivers behind workplace happiness. For the majority of respondents (52.6 per cent), it was a hefty pay package that gave them the greatest satisfaction. It was completing a task with zero faults. In other words, the satisfaction of knowing they’ve done a good job and fulfilled their role.
Knowing this, employers can implement activities that give their workers this satisfaction. Providing regular feedback, especially when a task or project is completed, will boost happiness. This doesn’t have to involve a structured session; an informal coffee meeting also works. As would ‘retrospective’ meetings, made popular in the Agile Manifesto.
Helping colleagues came in at second place for workplace happiness. Providing opportunities for teamwork and team building can tap into this need. Beyond daily work, office and team away days can help employees feel useful. As will volunteer work, mentoring (and reverse mentoring) and stretch assignments in another team.
Having a stretch assignment programme will also boost the third biggest driver of employee happiness: testing skills on a difficult task. 30.5 per cent of employees stated that they wanted to be challenged at work and that it contributed to their job satisfaction.
Everyone wants to feel like they are improving their skills and experience at work. Employees want to feel mentally stimulated. However, there’s a fine balance to strike between challenging employees and over-taxing them. Regular feedback sessions will quickly identify when an employee is over-challenged and at risk of burning out.
Peer feedback is also important. Receiving a compliment from a colleague comes in almost equal to getting praised by a manager (24.8 per cent versus 27.7 per cent). The aforementioned retrospectives come in useful here. 360 reviews are a more formal way of collecting colleague feedback, usually as part of an annual appraisal. They are best used with more regular mediums. Informal team nominations and voting for a ‘team member of the week’ encourage quick compliments. Finally, technology like HeyTaco can plug into messaging systems to make praising others as easy as clicking a button.
It’s also worth noting the differences in happiness drivers between age groups. Unsurprisingly, Millennials and Baby Boomers report different factors behind their workplace satisfaction. A quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds were happiest when receiving praise from a manager. Almost half of 45 to 54-year-olds enjoyed helping others the most. Finally, a fifth of 55 to 64-year-olds felt the most joy when a task was done with no faults.
This highlights the need for a tailored approach. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to employee happiness. On a more granular level, each employee may have a different driver.
So, you should always start with the individual. Work out what makes them tick. Gather their feedback. Then adapt your approach to each employee. Seeing their employer go the extra mile for them will ultimately make every employee happy.
Having trouble finding your ideal candidate for your manufacturing or engineering company? We can help with that! Contact our experts at Theo James Recruitment.