As an employer, one of your biggest responsibilities is to inspire your employees to be the best versions of themselves.
If done well, everyone in your team will not only be more productive and efficient, but also happier with their jobs. Research by Oxford University's Saïd Business School found a conclusive link between happiness and productivity at work. The study into happiness and productivity found that workers are 13% more productive when happy. The researchers found that happy workers do not work more hours than their discontented co-workers, they are simply more productive within their time at work.
5 things you can do to keep your workforce happy:
- Challenge them
- Create a culture that prioritises transparency and feedback
- Prioritise health and wellbeing
- Define opportunities for progression
- Promote a healthy work-life balance
In another study, Does the stock market fully value intangibles? Employee satisfaction and equity prices, researchers took Fortune’s annual list of ‘Best Companies to Work For’ and compared it over time with how similar companies performed on the stock market. They found that the top best-to-work-for firms outperformed the others, and also that investors undervalued the intangibles of employee wellbeing.
A business or team can only be as successful as the sum of its parts. According to a survey by Gallup, 24 percent of employees who aren’t in a leadership or management role feel disconnected from the company or team. Compared with disengaged teams, engaged teams show 24% to 59% less turnover, 10% higher customer ratings, 21% greater profitability, 17% higher productivity, 70% fewer safety incidents and 41% less absenteeism. Businesses need to empower employees to do their best work and make them an integral part of your company. By doing so, you will see improvements in employee disengagement, retention rate, performance and output.
5 ways to empower employees to do their best work
Challenge your employees
Set your team goals to help them avoid becoming bored or disengaged with their duties or roles. Goals work to push them past their comfort zone and realise their potential. The aim is to set the bar high, but not too high—the goals you set employees should be attainable, yet still challenging to reach. Aligning goals with company objectives, allowing employees to identify their own role-specific goals and using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, Time-based) guidelines will help you set goals that will empower and encourage your team.
Create a workplace culture of transparency and feedback
Whilst many businesses are afraid to do this, admitting when you are wrong is important in building an honest and transparent environment where everyone can feel free enough to do their best at work. This works best when it starts at the highest level, even a CEO is wrong sometimes. It shows courage to admit when you don't know the answer or that you made a mistake; and doing so promotes a culture of learning and transparency amongst employees who will know it is okay to admit when they have made a mistake.
Focus on employee health and wellbeing
Workplace wellness initiatives do more than just promote healthy habits. They show staff that their employers truly care about their health and well-being. Prioritising employee wellbeing spotlights the importance of positive health and wellness for workers, and can help to improve employee quality of life positively impacting their performance and the bottom line.
Educating employees around stress management is a useful addition to any corporate wellbeing programme and helps to encourage staff to do their best. Many people turn to alcohol to help them relax after a stressful day, however it is not an effective coping mechanism. Alcohol can increase feelings of stress and anxiety, rather than help us to truly unwind after work. Alcohol upsets the chemical balance in the brain – it’s a depressant. Regular, heavy drinking can also interfere with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for positive mental health.
As part of a corporate wellbeing programme, employers can help their staff manage stress effectively by enabling them to find coping mechanisms that enhance their lives and help relieve their stress long term; rather than using alcohol as a temporary solution. Working through a programme like One Year No Beer is a brilliant way to help employees change their relationship with alcohol, and work towards greater overall health.
Define opportunities for promotion
No employee wants to be stuck in a job with no progression. If your team feels there is no opportunity to advance in your company, they may begin to seek opportunities to do so elsewhere. Work to be open and communicative with staff members about how they can take on a bigger role, advance in leadership and earn more money.
In many companies, particularly small businesses, there may not be a clear trajectory for an employee within a company. In this instance, uncover employees’ strengths, aspirations, and interests to see how they can take a larger role within the business. When they know there’s room for growth, employees will be empowered to do their best work.
Promote holidays and work-life balance
Even the most dedicated employee gets burnt out if they do not have a work-life balance, indeed the most-committed employees may be more likely too. The happiest, best performing employees are both career-oriented, and dedicated to their life outside of work. When businesses encourage their staff to have time for, and prioritise, the things that are important to them; they’ll have more focus and energy during the time they spend at work.
Empower employees to do their best work and, in turn, you will see improvements across company performance, output and staff-retention rates. When employers show appreciation and genuine care for the careers, health and wellbeing of their staff; employees are empowered to do their best for the employer. It's a win-win for everyone.