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How to Keep Employees Happy and Increase Productivity: 4 Steps You Can Take Today

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Working to improve your employees’ happiness pays dividends…literally. Happier employees work harder, work better together in teams and are more productive. Actually, companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%. (Talk about crushing the competition!) Employees in a happy workplace become shining role models for their co-workers and potential employees. 

So, what keeps employees happy? What can you do to keep your workers happier and more productive? We’ve listed our best advice to help jumpstart a happier workplace. To keep employees happy, check out our 4 actionable steps you can take today.

The Importance of Employee Happiness

While the idea of leading an upbeat team sounds great, is it really necessary? As long as employees are doing their job, its fine…right? 

Well, unfortunately no. Here’s why employee happiness should be a top priority for your business – not an afterthought. 

  • A happy workplace retains employees. Obviously, unhappy staff are more likely to quit, so if retention is something you care about (and it really should be, given the cost of replacing staff!) you should start paying attention to employee happiness.
  • Happy employees are more productive. About 12% more productive, actually. Boost workplace morale and bump up your bottom line. 
  • Happy employees provide better customer service. Job satisfaction creates a positive feedback loop— that sense of satisfaction makes employees willing to go above and beyond for your clients. Happiness is contagious and your clients will enjoy interacting with your employees that have a positive attitude. 

Clearly, having happy employees isn’t a bonus; it’s a necessity for every successful workplace. Productivity, motivation and retention all depend on it.

How to Keep Employees Happy in 4 Steps

1. Set the Standard

Company leaders are the #influencers of an organization. As a leader, your words and actions carry massive weight — and your employees are easily influenced by your example. You create the office mindset! Taking time for positive conversation with your employees = a happy workplace

But why is it important to lead a positive work culture? 1 in 3 employees left a job because they didn’t feel their employer cared about them as a person. As the boss, don’t underestimate the importance of walking into the office with a smile, saying good morning to your employees and making them feel important. 

2. Level Up Your Benefits Package and Add Little Perks

When employees feel their company takes care of them, they’re more likely to feel satisfied and be productive. But when benefits like dental and optical are expected, how can you go above and beyond without breaking the bank?

Discounts on a gym membership or matching an employee donation to a charity are low-cost ways to let your employees know you care. 83% of Millennials would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. So, establishing an employee matching gift program can be an easy win. (Make my employees happier and more loyal without extra overhead? Sign me up!) 

It’s the extra benefits and little perks that show your employees you’re there for them. Some cool perks include:

  • Matching charitable contributions
  • Team-building charitable activities
  • Discounts to fitness centers or free gym memberships
  • Offering in-office delicious, healthy snacks
  • Hosting monthly, quarterly or yearly in-house training opportunities
  • Free books. Employees can also join or form book clubs with their colleagues and make it a team building exercise. (Double win!)

infographic of top employee perks

The secret to finding the right perks is to get to know your employees and find out how you best support them. When your employees feel you are truly listening to them, they will be much happier and put in the extra effort. 

3. Revamp Your Workplace Culture

A positive work culture encourages employee friendships, improves personal well-being, and ultimately benefits your bottom line. (No really, it does.) The first step to creating a happy workplace is to open up company communication and improve transparency. 

Having regular meetings such as daily team stand-ups, bi-weekly status reports and quarterly activity reviews will ensure that your employees on the front lines are engaged in your company. It’s important that your employees are engaged in your company projects and that their thoughts and views are heard and appreciated. It’s a no brainer: making sure all employees are on the same page will increase motivation and productivity.

4. Create a Successful Work-Life Balance

It can be hard maintaining a social life, spending time with family, traveling the world, reaching fitness goals and excelling at work. Your employees want their job to be a fulfilling part of their life — but you need to be mindful that work isn’t the biggest slice of that pie. (And don’t mention pie if they’re really trying to reach their fitness goals!) Juggling these to-dos is easier with a healthy work-life balance. 

Overworking your employee can—and likely will—lead to burnout and high turnover. When an employee feels satisfied in their role, they’re more motivated to succeed. But spoiler alert: rebalancing your employee’s work/ life ratio isn’t always easy. Try these tips:

Implement a flexible schedule

Offer flexible working options like allowing workers to work remotely a few days a week. Encourage managers to measure progress in productivity—instead of time spent in the office. Employees shouldn’t be locked to their computer screens the whole work day. Allow your employees to: 

  • Take time to run daytime errands
  • Use their full lunch breaks
  • Drop-off kids at school without using PTO
  • Turn in-office days into remote days when needed
  • Choose their hours, (not everyone works best with a 9-5pm schedule—and we want their best!)

Set work boundaries

It’s important to respect your employees’ time after work. Don’t schedule meetings or calls outside working hours. To maintain a highly productive and happy workplace, make sure you have clear boundaries set up between your employees and your clients.

Encourage your employees to take time off

PTO is critical to your employees’ well-being but workers might feel guilty requesting days off if it’s not the norm. (If you’re all-work-no-play, your employees will be too!) As an employer, you have the power to encourage them to take the PTO they’ve earned and enjoy time to refresh.

link to work life balance checklist

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