Workplace happiness is a complex combination of external factors, internal motivations, and small day-to-day stressors or successes. As a leader, you want to be able to create a context where as many employees as possible can experience the most happiness. The research is clear that satisfied, happy employees benefit the company with a yield of lower turnover, greater productivity, and greater innovative potential. Here are some ways that leaders in your company can be part of the positivity revolution and promote happiness at work.Ask For Feedback and Codify How Policy Will Respond
According to the Muse, workplace happiness takes a lot more than just a quick "how's everyone doing?" during a meeting. By soliciting feedback in a way that is just as serious as you'd ask any project-related or customer-related question, you make it clear that the feedback matters. Next, you take that feedback through a vetting process, you create potential policy for making work a better place, and you see that policy through to implementation. Yes, these changes might seem scary, but you'll be surprised by how much gratitude you get from your employees.
If your company has plenty of work that doesn't require in-office presence, but there is no policy and inconsistent application for allowing remote work, you probably have some dedicated but dissatisfied employees who are coming in every day even when their work could be done remotely. Talk to your employees and see if there is a level at which remote work makes sense, like one day a week, with 24 hours notice to relevant team members. Consider the ramifications of the change, and then implement it. Opening these "cans of worms" actually is a wonderful way to establish rapport and trust with your employees, and new policies to promote happiness will result in grateful, productive employees.Remove Roadblocks for Great Workers to Thrive
When you become a manager, it can be easy to see yourself as "in charge" of them, working to make sure they do good work. However, for many of your stand-out employees, the problem is actually the red tape or procedural binds that keep your best workers from moving forward at a good clip. If you see yourself as a person who is there to get obstacles out of the way of your employees, you'll start to get impressive results that you could never get just by doing check-ins and follow-up meetings. Research has shown that a sense of progress really helps people be happier at work, and you can be part of your employees seeing how far they can go.Help Employees See How Their Work Matters to the Outcome
A connected problem plagues large organizations: an individual loses sight of why their work actually contributes to the larger goals and vision of the institution. As a leader, it is your responsibility to help all your employees see that their work is integral to the process, and so the quality of it matters. Yes, that creates some pressure, but the pressure of responsibility can be a positive stressor when people believe in the work they are doing. The thought leadership of your company have invested time in coming up with goals and aspirations for the company, but leaders in all areas must help every employee to see themselves as integral to that mission.Cut Your Micro-Managing Whenever Possible
Yes, there will be employees who need a hands-on management style, but as soon as employees prove themselves capable of reaching out when they need help, try to back off on the micro-management whenever you can. If there are two ways to do something well and they don't choose your way, let it go! Employees value autonomy and feel happier at work when they feel like they aren't constantly having small changes imposed on their method of accomplishing something. Excellent training is a big part of this: if you train your employees well at the beginning, you won't have to create endless reminders to get them to the point of producing great work over time.Help Others Become Leaders
When leaders are generous with their knowledge, they make opportunities for new people to enter leadership training. It can be daunting to imagine other leaders coming up through the ranks, but the vast majority of new leaders will be incredibly grateful that you saw potential in them and gave them the space to grow. Helping leaders mature also means that, when you are in charge of a large team, you have go-to individuals who are already prepared to take over as middle management. People are happier when they have high-quality, well-trained leadership at every level of the company, so always see the grooming of the next set of leaders as part of your purpose. This also means not ruling anyone out: if someone doesn't show immediate leadership potential but expresses interest, you will get amazing work from them while they are seeking to prove themselves. Don't rule anyone out completely.Offer Opportunities for Professional and Personal Development
When no immediate leadership opportunities are available, you can still offer professional development coursework, from in-person leadership development courses to online leadership training. Your company should recognize that having these options available will help good employees soldier through times in the company's trajectory where they aren't doing the exact work they want to do. Offering professional development that is meaningful and personalized allows you to say, "I recognize you are doing great work; keep it up, and we have plans for you as we grow." We mentioned before that the sense of progress is incredibly important to happiness at work: use leadership classes to empower your employees and promote enthusiasm about your mission.
Many great leaders cite a sense of purpose and an interesting challenge as reasons why they are excited to go to work every day; you can achieve those levels of happiness as a leader in your business. NexaLearning wants to come alongside your organization and help you promote satisfaction and passion in your employees. Contact us today to get started.
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