Every organization or establishment largely depends on its employee hence the need to keep employees happy.
As a business owner, you definitely have the best intentions and plans for your business or company.
However, it is impossible to do it alone, especially if you plan to build the enterprise into a big brand generating huge income/revenue.
That is why sooner or later, whether at the early stages of the business or along the line, you would need to employ people to work for you and with you.
These are known as employees.
Without a doubt, your employees’ productivity should be very paramount to you as an employer.
This is because their performance would determine how well the business performs.
One simple way to ensure that your employees’ performance stays optimal is by keeping them happy always.
When you understand the secret of keeping employees happy, you have unlocked the key to building a thriving business enterprise.
Therefore, let’s discover how to keep your employees happy.
How to Keep Employees Happy – Understanding who Employees Are
An employee is someone hired or recruited by a business owner, usually called an employer or representative(s).
They are hired to perform a particular job or roles in an establishment.
The employee can either be hired to work on a full-time or part-time basis.
Also, he or she might be working on a permanent role or temporary.
Additionally, depending on the nature of the job, the employee might be expected to work in-house or remotely.
There must be an agreement between you and the individual who is working as an employee.
Employees are usually hired through a recruitment process.
Whereby they would most likely take an assessment and undergo an interview with the recruiter(s).
When you find them qualified for the vacant role, based on their performance during the recruitment process, then they come on board.
Regardless of their roles and positions, from the janitor to the manager, all employees contribute to the smooth operations of an establishment.
Therefore, you as an employer must follow a thorough recruitment process to fill the roles available in your firm.
Additionally, as in most organizations, a new employee might need to go through a probationary period before the role gets permanent.
This period is meant to test the employee’s capabilities to ensure they are well suited for the role they are hired for.
It is only after that period (which could range from 3-6 months or more) that the employee’s employment can be made permanent if his/her performance is deemed satisfactory.
Who Is A Happy Employee?
The concept of happy employees is not actually as straightforward as it might sound.
This is because every individual’s perception of happiness differs.
Hence, when we talk about a happy employee, it doesn’t mean that your company’s staff is happy at all times.
That is actually unrealistic.
Because of life’s challenges and problems, it would be unwise to expect that you can get 100% happiness from your employees.
There are times when they have to ‘fight their own battles, and as such might not put up a smiling face or feel down.
That being said, who then is a happy employee?
Simply put, a happy employee strives to maintain a positive attitude towards work.
This is irrespective of the various challenges and difficulties he/she goes through.
Additionally, a happy employee always looks forward to resuming work every day because he/she finds great satisfaction in it.
Happy employees do not complain or grumble at every problem or difficulty in the workplace.
Instead, they always look for ways to overcome the present circumstances and be at their best performance.
While striving to make employees happy, an employer needs to understand that other factors affect or determine happiness.
These factors range from genetic makeup to present life situations or circumstances and even personality differences.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, for you to control these factors.
Thankfully though, other factors contribute to happiness, which is what you as an employer can control.
This is the individual’s outlook on life and approach to work/work situations.
Hence, that’ll be our focus as we consider how to keep employees happy.
Characteristics of Happy Employees or How to Recognize Happy Employees
Let’s say you have employees in their tens, hundreds, or maybe thousands working for you.
You might begin to wonder whether or not they are happy with their jobs and with you as the employer.
Well, finding out if your employees are happy is not rocket science; neither does it take a soothsayer.
Certain characteristics or attributes come with happiness, which, if you notice in your employees, you can really tell that they are happy.
As you review these characteristics or traits, picture your office environment and see if you notice these in your employees.
Also, consider if you actually have more of the opposite of these traits, as it could also be a sign that they are unhappy.
Some of these traits of happy employees are:
Strong Work Ethic
Attitude towards work is one of the great indicators of happiness in an employee.
When an employee is dissatisfied or unhappy with his/her job, they usually demonstrate a lackadaisical attitude towards work.
This is when you see them making excuses for not getting things done promptly or neglecting their duties/responsibilities.
On the other hand, a happy employee is dedicated to working and gets on with his duties with the utmost seriousness and dedication.
He/She shows this strong work ethic by resuming work on time and not lazying around the place.
If you notice a weak work ethic from some of your employees, it might indicate that they are not satisfied and/or happy.
Loyalty to the Brand
A happy employee does not look for the slightest opportunity to jump ship when a new opportunity comes around.
Sometimes, you see employees who turn down other job offers to stick to a job, even when the new offers seem more profitable.
This is not because they don’t want the extra income, but they do that out of loyalty to their organization.
You can only get this level of loyalty from a happy employee.
If your employee is unhappy, they see no reason not to leave the job when the opportunity presents itself.
Not all employees have marketing roles in an organization.
Some of your employees are customer service agents or administrative positions.
Granted, they are not obligated to spread the word about the business or pitch to customers.
However, when you have happy employees, they are the number one fan of your business.
These go out of their way to promote the business, get new prospects, and convert leads to active customers.
This they do even when they are not being paid for their services or when you as the employer are not watching.
On the other hand, an unhappy employee does not care about business growth as long as he does his job and gets paid.
Every other thing to him is ‘background noise.’
Friendly and Sociable
While it is true that individuals have different personality traits, happy employees are generally sociable.
You do not see them staying on their own at all times and refusing to interact with their fellow employees.
They are fun to be around, and they also try to make the office environment as warm as possible.
When you see one of your employees always keeping to himself/herself and avoiding interaction with others, it could be a sign of unhappiness.
They are Peacemakers
One thing about happy people is that they cherish the feeling and satisfaction that comes from being happy.
Because of this, they try to avoid anything or anyone that will threaten their happiness.
You can also find this trait in your happy employees.
Happy employees generally do not hold grudges or refuse to forgive minor disagreements between them and others.
They are very eager to go out of their way to quickly settle misunderstandings, as they want to maintain the happiness they enjoy.
They Have a Volunteering Spirit in the Workplace
When your employees are happy, they do not hide away from offering themselves willingly when additional duties and responsibilities come up.
They do not have the ‘That’s not my job’ idea but promptly put their hands up when there is a need for something to be done at work.
Unhappy employees are just the opposite, as they care less about doing anything outside their job description.
Well, that is even if they do enough of the ones within their job description.
Great Team Players
A happy employee makes a great team player.
While unhappy employees are busy making complaints and proving difficult to work with, the happy ones spread joy in their team.
They are also very willing to help other team members complete their projects and even extend the help to other departments.
Their abiding interest is the growth and success of their organization, and they work together as a team to achieve this.
Fewer Complaints, More Action
Furthermore, happy employees are not dogmatic or unrealistic in their expectations.
They understand that everything cannot be a bed of roses in their place of employment.
Because of this, they expect challenges or certain difficulties from time to time.
These challenges might involve pressure from their bosses, delay in salary payment, change of assignment, angry customers, e.t.c.
However, because they are happy, they do not expend their energies complaining about every little difficulty.
Instead, they dust themselves and get to work, grabbing the problems by the neck and getting things done the way they are used to doing.
They Generally Look Good
It might surprise you, but do you know that sometimes, one of the key indicators of an unhappy employee is the way they look?
When employees are unhappy, it can affect their overall appearance, as they stop paying attention.
They might stop dressing well to work and have a poor outward appearance.
On the other hand, a happy employee always wants to look his best and put great effort into his personal appearance.
They radiate, and you can see it clearly.
Why Discuss How to Keep Employees Happy? – Importance of Having Happy Employees
Are happy employees really that important in the workplace?
Should you really bother yourself with the concept of keeping your employees happy as a business owner?
Well, the short answer to those questions is Yes.
In fact, it might surprise you to learn just how impactful having happy employees can be for your business and establishment.
Let’s consider some of the benefits that come from that:
A Calm and Peaceful Work Environment
It only makes sense that keeping your employees happy would lead to having a peaceful work environment.
This is in contrast to having employees that are not happy with their jobs.
These would get angry at the slightest provocation and could make your workspace anything but peaceful.
On the other hand, happy employees are more persevering, understanding, and calm, which invariably contributes to a happy workplace.
When you have happy employees, it automatically sets the tone for increased productivity in your organization.
How is that so?
You would recall that a strong work ethic is one of the characteristics of a happy employee.
Happy employees generally take their work seriously, come to work on time, and do not show laxity in carrying out their duties.
It is this dedication and hard work on their part that contributes to the increased productivity of such employees.
Customer Retention from Good Customer Service
Another benefit of keeping your employees happy is that they transfer this feeling to the way they treat customers.
Usually, happy employees indirectly mean happy customers because happiness is contagious.
This is not the case when you have a team of unhappy employees.
These can sap the joy in the workplace and make your customers too dissatisfied and unhappy.
Hence, before you know it, you will start losing customers gradually.
With happy employees, though, you have a great shot at increasing your customer retention rate.
Reduced Conflict Among Employees
Ask any employer or business owner, and they will tell you that one of the problems they’ve had to deal with oftentimes is conflicts between employees.
Probably you’ve had to deal with that too.
That is also another reason why it is important to keep your employees happy.
When you have happy employees, they spend most of their time bonding and sharing the love they have little time to cause trouble.
That way, you have a team of united employees and not soldiers at loggerheads.
You Spend Less in Recruitment/Replacements
What happens when you lose employees regularly by resignation?
You are right! Your overhead cost will increase because you will need to recruit more employees to replace them.
Experience has shown that the reason why most employees leave their jobs is not really to get better pay but because they don’t love what they do.
That is why you must work at keeping your employees happy.
When your employees are unhappy, it is only a matter of time before they leave and find alternatives.
This will increase your cost and expenditures, as you would spend a fortune recruiting and training new employees.
Improved Personal Well-being
Maintaining a happy and positive outlook can indeed improve the health and well-being of people, and your employees are not an exception.
When you, as an employer, make conscious efforts to keep your employees happy, they are more likely to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
This means you do not have to deal with frequent absenteeism from work owing to poor health or sadness.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation for you and your employees.
It Inspires Creativity
No doubt, one of the reasons you employ people is because you find their input, talents, and skills relevant to your organization.
Along the line, their creativity and innovative thinking would come in handy for your business.
It would be difficult to get such creativity when your employees are not happy.
Keeping your employees happy would give them the platform they need to get more creative and develop ideas that contribute to business growth and development.
How to Keep Employees Happy – Follow these Practical Tips
When it comes to keeping employees happy, there is a popular myth around it that will be debunked here.
Very likely, you’ve believed that idea before and might even be looking into that to keep your employees happy.
The myth is this: “You need to spend money to keep your employees happy.”
While we do not rule out pay rise and due compensations as a means of keeping employees happy, there is more to that than just giving them money.
Here are some of the ways you can go about this:
1Offer Genuine Commendations and Appreciation
Many employees have sighted a lack of commendation and appreciation for what they do because they don’t like working for their organization.
You wouldn’t really blame them for that, would you?
If you are interested in keeping an office environment where everyone is happy and at their optimum, you should be generous with words of appreciation.
Whenever an employee performs their duties excellently, commend them.
Also, when they do things that they are not required to do but do it nonetheless out of their own discretion, appreciate them.
Interestingly, appreciation doesn’t have to involve a very big gesture or cost a fortune.
A sincere and simple ‘Thank You’ would go a long way.
We know you pay them for their services, but everyone deserves commendation, and they are not different.
2Welcome their Opinions in Decision Making Process
This is one way you as an employer can drive employee engagement.
Sadly, many business owners today, or should we call them bosses, do not involve their employees when making key decisions that affect the team.
If you are the type of employer who wakes up one day and changes things related to employee’s roles and welfare without discussing it with them, you are likely to have a group of disgruntled staff under your care.
Allowing your employees to express themselves freely and contribute before making decisions is another way to show them you appreciate them.
That way, they do not just feel like workers in your organization but a key part of the business, and yes, they are happier.
3Prioritize Employee Welfare
Would you believe that some organizations don’t have staff welfare packages with the exposure businesses have today, even in this age and time?
Fingers crossed, we honestly hope you are not guilty of this.
To have a work environment with happy and exuberant employees all around, you need to show you are interested in their welfare.
Some companies set aside a particular amount weekly or monthly for staff welfare packages, no matter how small.
Also, some register their employees with health insurance agencies to make them feel protected from potential hazards in the workplace.
Does your organization also have provisions for staff pensions, loans, and other benefits?
In seemingly little things like this, you can keep your employees happy and make them stay.
4Offer Balance Between Work and Social Life
You would need to create a balance for your employees between their work life and their social life.
That means you will be doing more harm than good if you have a work schedule that takes the entire day of the week for your staff.
Even if you are paying incredibly well for this, it does not benefit the employees in the long run.
While creating your work schedule, please ensure you do not overburden your employees with work but rather create opportunities to have their social life.
Even if an employee always insists on working, calmly refuse that and enforce the need to take a break.
This would work in keeping your employees happy.
5Have Provisions for Leave and Vacations
This is also closely related to creating a balance between work life and social life.
Also, it is another way you show your employees that you care about their welfare.
Outside work, your employees have their personal lives, they have families and friends, and they would want to spend time with these.
It would be nice to provide them with such time by way of leaves and vacations.
6Create Room for Open Communication
One other thing that keeps your employees happy is when they know that their opinions matter.
If your organization is one in which the employees have to whisper among themselves when they have contributions to make, then you are not doing well.
You must create an environment whereby your employees can always express themselves freely without fear of being ridiculed or silenced.
When you work at building such an office environment, you will have happier employees.
7Reward Excellent and Outstanding Performances
Many businesses spend time and resources planning customer reward programs and forget those who keep the customers coming; the staff/employees.
Customer reward is not bad in itself, but it is also essential that you reward your employees.
Do well to take note of the employees performing extraordinarily well in your company, and reward them for that.
You can offer them awards of excellence, which they can hang in their homes for their families and friends to see.
Also, you can offer them bonuses or commissions on sales as a token of appreciation and reward for excellence.
When you consistently reward excellence, you get employees who are more dedicated to their work and, of course, happier employees.
8Give Your Employees More Responsibilities
It might sound counterintuitive to say that giving more responsibilities to employees will keep them happy.
Isn’t more load of work supposed to be frowned at, not be a cause of joy?
Well, the opposite is the case.
When you give more responsibilities to your employees, it shows that you as an employer trust them.
That show of trust would naturally propel the employee into doing more and finding joy in what he/she does.
Therefore, do not try to do everything by yourself.
Instead, delegate more assignments to individual employees and give them more responsibilities.
It contributes to happiness in the workplace.
9Provide Good Infrastructure, Resources, and Tools for Work
Another thing that contributes to the happiness of employees is having good infrastructures around the office space.
Imagine having to come to work in an environment with no proper ventilation, good chairs or desks, and other basic amenities.
No doubt, it can affect the joy of your employees and reduce their productivity.
To keep your employees happy, you must provide good infrastructure at work.
Not only that, you should work on getting tools and resources that make work easier and simpler for your employees.
It is counterproductive thinking that making work difficult for your employees is a way of making them ‘work for their money.’
You will only end up making them frustrated, and that would make your employees unhappy.
10Solve Customer Complaints Promptly
Having difficult customers can also be a cause of unhappiness with employees at work.
When you have customer complaints every day, and your employees have little or no solution to the problems, it can frustrate them.
Hence, when your employees call your attention to products or features that need improvements, or issues that should be fixed, do not hesitate to work on them promptly.
When you do this, you are bound to have happier customers, leading to happy employees.
11Provide Training that Allows Employees Growth
It isn’t a thing of pride that the level of exposure, skills, and talents that an employee had when he/she joined your organization is still the same after many years.
One way in which you can make your employees happy is by allowing them to grow.
This you can do by organizing training that will improve their particular skills or even give them new skills.
Some of these training can be internal, or you might have to pay an external organization to provide them.
When your employees see that you are interested in seeing them grow, they love you, and this makes them happy.
12Take Personal Interest in your Employees
Without crossing the boundaries of an employer and employee relationship, you must take a personal interest in your employees.
This would mean that you see them as more than just staff who you pay for working for you.
No matter how many they are, try to know their names, know their preferences, strengths, and weaknesses.
If you do this, you are working at keeping your employees happy.
13Don’t Forget a Pay Rise When It’s Fully Deserved
While it is true that increasing employees’ salaries or wages is not the major way of keeping them happy (no wonder it comes last), it is still necessary.
Every employee wants to feel valued and appreciated for what they do.
Also, when your employees work hard to contribute to the business’s growth, they know when the business is thriving.
They would expect that they deserve an increase in pay as the company also makes more profits.
Hence, do not deny your loyal and valuable employees of this.
It could also go a long way in keeping them happy and motivate your employees.
Final Thoughts on How to Keep Employees Happy
Do you have happy employees?
If you are to take an employee survey right now, how many of your employees will express satisfaction and joy working with you?
As you have seen so far, it is essential to know this, as the answers will have a big say on the success of your establishment.
Employees are gold and are essential towards building a long-lasting business enterprise.
You are expected to treat them well by employing the right methods that ensure they are always satisfied and happy.