Instant employee happiness: Easy as 1-2-3

Have you ever wondered what makes employees unhappy and how to solve the problem? The solution is right in front of you, and it won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

While every organization is different, there are easy steps that you can take to make a positive impact on employee happiness and retention.  Don’t start with employee relationships and team building just yet, this will manifest after you improve the foundation. You have to crawl before you can walk.

In the recent Inc.com article, 3 Simple Ways to Make People Happy at Work, serial CEO Margaret Heffernan reveals three realistic ways to build staff contentment. Amidst today’s war-for-talent and current economic state, it’s critical for organizations to target a scalable retention strategy, without burning through precious resources.

So, to make people immediately happy at work, without additional investments, organizations should focus on three areas for improvement:

  1. Professional Growth:

According to the Achievers Class of 2012 study, almost half of today’s employees, especially the Millennial generation and class of 2012, want to stay at a company for 5 to 10 years; however, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees will only spend 1.5 years with their employer. What’s causing the huge gap? The answer: retention. It’s important to provide options for career development and professional growth so that employees believe their organization is invested in their success. In the Class of 2012 study, Millennials indicated career advancement opportunities as their number one motivation factor in the workplace.

  1. Strong Community:

Employees want to be proud of where they work and feel that their time is invested in something that matters. Go beyond your company mission statement and demonstrate how you positively impact the community. It’s important to create direct links between the successes of the business and the community you serve. Create a Social Responsibility Team (SRT) and involve the entire workforce, so that efforts are active, public, visible and long lasting. The SRT can choose the organizations or charities to support, based on feedback from the organization as a whole, and arrange necessary logistics so all employees need to do is show up.

  1. Fair Treatment:

Treat all of your employees with love and respect, from the moment they sign their employment contract. Your employees are your first customer; since they are accountable for driving results that create business success. Go the extra mile to ensure that employees enjoy coming to work; make them feel special from the moment they walk in the door with personal appreciation. Recognize employees for a job well done, and make sure the feedback is timely and specific, so that the right behaviors are reinforced to be repeated.

If you look after your people, your people will look after your business. There are many steps you can take to ensure employee happiness, but start with the three principles above to make an immediate impact on retention and lower turnover.

As an employee, what kinds of gestures from your company make you the happiest at work?

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