The Pursuit of Happiness
- Date: Friday 22nd February 2019
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Do you sometimes look at your business and ask the question: “Why aren’t my employees happy”?
It’s strange how sometimes we look at different organisations in similar industries and find huge discrepancies in staff engagement and workplace happiness. But why is it that some get it right and others don’t?
We find that communication is usually the root of all evil. Employers with an engaged workforce are often led by more confident directors and managers, who aren’t afraid to engage in an argument. Conflict is usually seen as negative but clever minds quickly realise that they can lead to positive results, if handled appropriately. Conflict breeds ideas…if you let it.
ACTION: Be open. Be honest. Don’t hide behind legislation. Stand by your decisions. And listen (!) to your people.
Managing expectations is an area of communication that is often neglected. We frequently speak to customers who put up with underperformance or bad conduct because they are trying to avoid the inevitable uncomfortable conversation. But what happens when you do that? Employees won’t improve because they don’t know that there is an issue. Colleagues become frustrated because they feel they are compensating for shortfalls or are forced to make allowances for bad behaviour. Throw in your own disgruntlement and you have the perfect recipe for an unhappy workplace!
ACTION: Set goals and objectives that are SMART (yes, we’re saying it again!). And follow through if somebody doesn’t pull their weight. This doesn’t always have to be a formal process – sometimes a quiet word is enough to re-align expectations.
Although this sounds a lot like the carrot/stick principle, praise is just as important! The general principle is: discipline in private, praise in public!
ACTION: Find your own way to celebrate with your team. Had a busy, successful week? How about a takeaway on a Friday? A new staff member passed their probation? Maybe a quick speech could provide recognition.
Pay and Reward is notably at the bottom of our list. Statistically, employees don’t stay because of pay. However, they are attracted by a good package. So, you’re risking the loss of good team members if you don’t keep your ears to the ground.
ACTION: Compare and look at the whole package. If you can’t afford pay rises across the board, you might want to implement a grading system, that rewards higher skilled staff members. Or you may want to consider a bonus structure, which is linked to company profits. Whatever you do, make sure you keep it fair, transparent and consistent.