Happy employees are more productive: Seven ways to make them feel more engaged

Last updated on May 10th, 2022 at 02:23 am

An engaged employee is profitable for your organization. It has been proven many times through various studies: the profits derived from happy employees are undeniable. Creating a culture that embraces and fosters a productive workforce can attract and retain qualified individuals. Happiness is linked to productivity.

To stay competitive and attract the best employees, try these seven ways to ignite happiness and productivity in your organization:

1. Keep employees in the loop.

Create a culture of transparency. Adopt a belief that the more your employees know, the better this is for everyone. Communicating with your employees on a regular basis requires thoughtful consideration of your delivery – both what you will share and how. A commitment to regular communication makes it easier to inform employees of the organization’s goals, along with what their role is in achieving these goals. This type of access inspires employees to be invested. Gone are the days of saying, “You don’t need to know that.”

2. Monthly check-in conversations, instead of (or in addition to) the annual performance review.

The monthly check-in approach focuses on developing employees. By using employee feedback tools like the ones you can find online, gathering and supplying useful feedback on a regular basis may help your employees improve. Waiting until an end-of-the-year meeting to discuss serious topics is not easy for anyone, and usually not effective. Encouraging employees throughout the year can prevent problems before they occur. By committing to regular monthly meetings, concerns can be addressed in a timely manner. Isn’t this a much better way to prevent and solve problems rather than annually? “So, tell me about what happened in June” does not hold as much weight when discussed in January of the following year. Instead, talk about June issues in June.

3. Thank employees.

This is free and easy. Celebrating a job well done should be frequent and genuine. Remember to adjust your positive sentiment for each employee. Some may enjoy a very public ‘job well done,’ while others may prefer a private expression of gratitude. Don’t forget to thank your employees for the expected, yet important elements of their job. “Thank you for always being someone I can count on to get things done.” It doesn’t matter if this is their job. I encourage leaders to never think or say, “Well, that’s your job.”

4. Customize rewards.

Stemming from the above tip, a reward system is a great way to show appreciation for deserving employees. Incentives can assist to increase production while also attaching meaning and purpose to employees’ work. Observe, acknowledge and reward good work. Cash is always a great way to give employees spot bonuses. Here are some other examples: VIP access to their favorite band, attend a conference of their choice, a well-written and heartfelt thank you note, tech accessories, early release on a Friday, or easing into their day on Monday. Customizing the reward to specifically fit the employee receiving it leaves a lasting impression.

5. Provide workplace flexibility.

Allowing employees to establish a schedule that works for their lifestyle can improve morale. What is their preference? Arrive early and leave early, arrive late and stay late, or work from home? A work environment should, ideally, not be rigid and uninviting. Instead, it should foster thoughtful ideas and productivity. A stressful environment with unnecessary, or over-the-top, rules gives employees a reason to look elsewhere. When employees can take care of real-life issues, intertwined with the work they’re doing for you, it creates a win-win situation.

6. Invest in your employees’ development.

If you don’t have money set aside to train and develop your employees, you are remiss. Allocating funds for continued growth of your workforce is a wise investment. The returns you will gain by educating your employees by far surpass any costs associated with the development.

7. Give people freedom and autonomy.

Give people the freedom to make decisions. Many employees do not work well with a manager hovering over them. Give them ownership and control as a way of maximizing their accountability for their work outcomes. Autonomy does not mean isolation; it means trusting employees to do their best work.

Utilizing strategies like these will contribute to increased happiness and productivity in your organization.

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Aleta Norris is a partner and co-founder of Living As A Leader, a national leadership training, coaching and consulting firm. Living As A Leader supports the development of leaders in more than 125 organizations across the country. For several years, Aleta has been researching and speaking about the critical responsibilities organizations and leaders share related to the attraction, retention and engagement of the emerging workforce.