Why is employee happiness today’s HR manager’s biggest priority?
Employee engagement is connected to three magical business terms:
- Workforce productivity
- Client satisfaction
- Company profitability
The more a company focuses on its employees’ overall wellness and satisfaction, the more loyalty it inspires from them.
The right level of employee engagement occurs when people become so deeply invested in their company’s success that they leverage all resources to achieve it.
Gallup reports that the highest performers in certain companies have three distinctions:
- Longer employee tenures spanning a decade or more in their organizations
- Roles where the job expectations align well with their innate talents
- High engagement and feedback loops
Considering that most fully functioning adults are looking at spending 50% of their total waking hours at work, hating their jobs means bad business.
“Good leaders are meaning-makers who help each employee find his or her personal meaning through their work activities.” – Dave Ulrich, RBL Group, Author The Why of Work
The HR manager should recognize that disengaged staff report higher rates of absenteeism, lower productivity, high turnover, more instances of human error, safety issues, and much more.
Conversely, the Gallup report also states that the benefits of driving employee engagement directly and positively impact an organization’s bottom line including:
- Higher performance levels
- Top talent retention
- Fewer workplace accidents
- Better staff health
- 21% higher profitability
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
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Happiness has a ripple effect on any organization. Happier employees are extremely important for the survival and peak performance of any organization. They:
- Work better with teams
- Apply themselves harder, albeit smarter
- Easily become outstanding role models to co-workers
- Need easier management styles
- Are more supportive of the company’s goals
- Freely ask for, and offer assistance in group projects
Unhappy employees mainly ply the safe route, while happier employees are more likely to take calculated risks.
Innovation is the essence of any business, and happy employees are the ones usually inspired enough to think outside the box to come up with creative solutions and ideas.
Consider These Five Tactics to Increase Employee Engagement and Productivity in the Workplace:
Improve Company Culture
Despite what most HR managers believe, the act of motivating employees goes beyond remuneration and work perks.
560 employees surveyed in Deloitte’s Talent 2020 report, reveal one key takeaway, a clarion clear reality for all HR managers:
“Engage employees with meaningful work – or watch them walk out the door.”
There is no magic fix. If the work is not engaging, the employees will not be responsive or productive.
One must factor in the cost of re-hiring, re-training, and onboarding to understand the full implication of an uninspired workforce.
Deloitte’s survey shows that a staggering 42% of respondents seeking new employment left their current jobs because they did not make good use of their skills and abilities.
The factors that drive engagement in any organization, regardless of scale or industry, differ based on:
- The nature of the business
- Which generation comprises the majority of a company’s workforce
- What role each employee plays
Every company has a unique culture comprising of the company vision, its goals, the resulting work environment, ethics, and the workforces’ motivations.
Companies that focus on relationship building and rewarding teamwork have been found with higher employee productivity.
Growing employee productivity similar begins with the hiring process. The HR practitioner must assess new hires according to their:
- Cultural Fit
- Professional Goals
- Learning Potential
Another key to unlocking high employee engagement levels is figuring out the best work approaches for today’s multi-ethnic, multinational, multigenerational workforce.
Employees in the right working environment, backed by dedicated and empathic leadership tend to perform extremely well.
Other simple ways to improve company culture include:
- Establishing clear company values and goals
- Flexibility in management and working styles
- Empowering and encouraging employees
- Allowing employees to socialize with one another
Tech giant Google is a prime example of an organization that successfully rose to meet the challenge of figuring out a new way to work.
Cross-Training and Development
A company culture that continuously supports employee development results in a highly skilled and devoted workforce.
Both small and large businesses benefit from cross-trained employees with the ability to wear different hats because:
- They become unaffected by productivity gaps during role transitions
- There’s room for more effective development strategies to train new hires
The right cross-training and development strategy requires the HR team to set goals and guidelines that are flexible enough to meet both the management team’s goals and those of the employees.
A company’s cross-training approach can prompt employees to participate or reject it entirely.
The HR manager has to structure the program and motivate the employees to discourage push back. New learning should not be framed as “extra work”. The material and its associated tasks should be fun or interesting.
If one of the proposed outcomes for new learning is a new skill or a faster way to accomplish current goals, more employees will be willing to embrace it.
The Container Store, for example, has been rated among the best places to work for 17 years straight by Fortune magazine. The company provides slightly over 250 hours of training for each employee in their first year.
This is proof that investing in employees does not, in fact, result in job-hopping.
Coaching is another smart strategy for employee engagement.
Generally, coaching is termed as a professional development process whereby an individual employee is paired with a more seasoned or experienced coworker to:
- Clearly define their goals
- Tackle arising challenges
- Improve performances
All coaching sessions require time, patience and empathy.
For employees to fully achieve a well-rounded training experience, a dedicated management platform like World Manager could prove beneficial, offering confidentiality, ease of use and a world of resources.
The most prudent first step with training and development is to first gather feedback from the employees about what they want to learn.
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Equip Employees with the Right Technology
Digitization is parallel to the American workforce.
An organization’s substructure includes all the tools and processes people need to handle their work.
Providing your employees with the correct tools they need to succeed in their roles is a strong first step towards increasing employee productivity.
A joint study conducted by the Oracle Corporation and Kantar TNS prompted awareness on the fact that leadership, digital tools, and company values are today’s leading drivers of employee engagement.
The data gathered from nearly 5,000 full-time employees across 20 countries supported by 250 or more personnel revealed telling stats:
- 56% of employees shared that their companies don’t use the latest technology, thus hindering them from effectively performing in their roles.
- 39% of employees reported that their company uses online and collaborative learning tools.
- 59% of respondents did not believe that company onboarding practices set them up for growth and success.
Today’s modern employee feels the time cost implication borne by employment. They are seeking the familiar modern digital technologies they have access to at home on a better scale in the workplace.
Traditional onboarding processes require arduous training, HR information sharing, and therefore many unwritten rules tend to fall between the cracks.
One solution for this challenge is to digitalize the process, giving the new hires an easier and more interesting way to access everything, while saving time and money.
The onboarding process could include evergreen content featuring:
- Animated explainer videos
- Fun organizational charts
- Gamified levels of learning
- Tailored training courses based on departments and levels
- Access to information on different devices at all times
Support Employee Work-Life Balance
With tech advances hot on their heels, employees often forget about our own well-being in the quest for professional excellence.
In the State of American Vacation 2018 study steered by the U.S. Travel Association, 52% of employees reported that they had unused vacation days leftover at the end of the year.
Most employees worry that taking time off could disrupt their normal workflow and that they may become drowned in backlog after a work break. This leads to high stress and burnout levels.
Healthier employees are reportedly more productive, have lower absenteeism cases and fewer healthcare-related emergencies or expenses.
A good work-life balance is beneficial for both employees and employers alike and should be part of the company culture.
The HR manager should individualize work-life balance experiences according to their employees.
Some people work better by dividing their professional and personal lives into neat blocks of time. Others are more about having the flexibility to get things done around their fluctuating energy levels throughout the day.
Work flexibility means that employees may prefer to work longer hours once in a while to make room for free time for personal projects. It could also mean working remotely. There is no uniform style to this approach.
The HR manager can similarly encourage goal setting and performance analysis as a work-life balance strategy. People become more productive when they work towards achievable goals.
Goal setting is excellent for:
- Confidence building
- Conducting a final project and individual performance (SWOT) analysis
Encourage Healthy Communication
Communication is the backbone of organizational success.
Lack of open communication between leadership, management, and employees can result in serious productivity issues.
Backed by relevant, engaging and personalized communication models, organizations no longer need to worry about employee retention.
Best practices for effective communication within an organization include:
- Effecting a strategic company-wide communications plan
- Embracing consistent, unambiguous two-way communication
- Keeping track of the frequency of communication to avoid information overload
- Using engaging digital mediums for ease of access and higher knowledge retention
- Eliminating fear of retaliation
- Regular employee satisfaction surveys to measure growth
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