By Bernie Dixon
Trend Series Blogs
We all inherently know that employee happiness is crucial for our business. We know that the business gauge has evolved from the old measuring system for employee satisfaction to the new data dashboard for employee happiness. It has occurred mainly because employee happiness was a more effective indicator of employee engagement, productivity, and turnover. At first, I thought that focusing on engagement and happiness is simply a new age thing that millennials like to trumpet. Like another entitlement due to their generation. However, my mind abruptly pivoted to a completely different perspective when I saw these 11 trends that are downright shocking to those of us who are not working in the Human Resources industry. These trends will blow you away:
- Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%
- Happy employees are 12% more productive
- 67% of full-time employees with access to free food at work are “extremely” or “very” happy at their current job
- Happy salespeople produce 37% greater sales
- 36% of all employees would give up $5,000 a year in salary to be happier at work
- Close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%
- People with a best friend at work are healthier and 7x more likely to engage fully in their work
- The top 3 factors contributing to job satisfaction are: 1) job security, 2) opportunities to use skills and abilities and, 3) the organization’s financial stability
- Employees who report being happy at work take 10 times fewer sick days than unhappy employees
- Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” enjoyed a raise in stock prices of 14% per year, compared to 6% for the overall market
- 42% of employees are happy with the rewards and recognition their company offers. 50% are not.
There is no passing fad here either. These statistics are tracking with increases over the past five years. They are trends now. Now I get it. Employee happiness is the new measurement that is integral to every company.
In 2020 due to the pandemic, remote work arrangements, and the distributed work model, employee happiness has become a tough task for employers to manage. In fact, I found other stats reflective of the overwhelming level of stress among remote workers. There are many employees who have experienced record stress for their careers. Some stress was due to their own salary cuts or being laid off. A lot of stress was triggered by workforce reductions that forced an increased workload onto remaining employees. 70 % of the employees mentioned in a survey that this COVID-19 time has been the most stressful for them, more than 9/11 or any economic recessions. Data has also revealed that employees are now expected to log in for an extra 60 hours in a month because they are working from home or remotely.
Employees who are now expected to be available on voice calls and video meetings along with messages 24×7 feel like they are living at work or homing at work. Digital connectivity has helped significantly in improving what could be silos when working independently from home. Brainstorming is still possible albeit different on a video call, but the constant pressure to be available is taking a massive toll. And Zoom fatigue is real. I feel it.
With all the stress levied on remote workers, and the recognizable depletion of employee happiness, here’s a few suggestions for CEOs to promote employee happiness. Some are as easy as taking the time to ask individuals how they are doing, how their partner or roommate is getting along or how their kids are coping. I find those discussions to be rewarding for me to get a peek into their lives. It also gives me a bit of social contact, a virtual hug so to speak and even a few laughs. Here are a few suggestions that you might find helpful as well.
- Promote a healthier work-life balance with fixed schedules and hours. Follow fixed work hours and keep them flexible only when required. Make sure to keep the communication limited to professional apps only like Zoom, Gmail, or company communications apps. Try not to barge in with a workgroup on WhatsApp. There is no room for the CEO to influence EVERY bit of communications. Otherwise, it will turn into a habit to discuss your company’s work day in and day out. You can also encourage your team to have a routine and work on a priority basis by making two buckets – important and urgent. This will bring in more clarity and productivity in their work. I review priorities with our team weekly. I let them lead those meetings while I explore what I can do to either help them sort priorities or what I can do to support the achievement of priorities. A strong team lead like Christy can be an invaluable asset.
- Offer relevant training and development. It can be a big hit. Employees really enjoy it when you offer a relevant online course or webinar. It needs to be relevant or fun, of course. The key here is to ensure that you are not requiring them to take the training as an additional task. Offering them time to learn about relevant issues like your supply chain management, sales techniques that work or even how US trade import policies shape your strategy can be useful. Giving your employees the time and flexibility for learning and expansion can really pay off. Adjusting their workload to enable the learning is even stronger in building employee loyalty. Even a fun educational video is useful. I recently shared a video with our team of my daughter’s class of second graders performing a fashion show on biomimicry. It was fun and mind expanding and keeps our team in close relationship without taxing their already heavy workload. It was team building and expansive and memorable.
- Drive a culture of appreciation. This one is so easy. I carefully ensure to add a notable thanks or compliment whenever I can in my communications. Your team members will be inspired when you offer them compliments on how quickly they created a solution or accomplished their work. I often tell our team members how great it is to be able to depend on them to take tasks and responsibility off my plate. When you think about it, you will surely see that some of your team members have become more productive, taken on additional responsibilities, reskilled themselves, or performed urgent tasks before time or perfectly on time. I wish you all had someone like Holly who can perform miracles with our Launchpad2X plans and schedules. I’m recognizing her right here. She is amazing and deeply appreciated.
- On a related note, don’t forget to reward your team when you can. Appreciating them is good while sending a bonus for the extra efforts can be exceptional in driving employee happiness and loyalty. Even passes for online food, services or shopping can do the trick in keeping motivation stoked.
- Share the relevant data. Our team cannot have a meaningful brainstorming session without sharing information and documents. Keeping your work in shared folders for all to access is a total boost to both productivity and engagement of the team. Our challenge has been version control of the parent document, yet we are learning to mark a lead for document control and filing everything is a shared file structure. It takes time to be comfortable with that approach if you are not already doing it. Collaboration becomes effortless when the relevant information is shared.
All in all, I have learned that happy team members are the ones who care about the organization and have a strong desire to help your company achieve success. When your employees are happy, they care more, they like what they do, they perform at higher levels and work better together. It can be a dream team for the CEO with a few easy actions to promote employee happiness.