7 Simple Things That Give Employees Major Joy
Happy employees bring a myriad of benefits to any organization. But for small- to medium-sized businesses, the impact of joyous employees can be exponential. Research has shown that, in addition to higher retention, an engaged staff typically leads to better customer loyalty and overall company performance. Employee satisfaction has even been linked to higher stakeholder returns. In short, when your employees are engaged, your brand and business have the fuel to thrive.
While the happiness of your employees is essential, engagement rates have dropped over the past several years—reversing a decade-long rise. According to Gallup, only 32% of full- and part-time employees were engaged at work in 2022 and 18% were actively disengaged. This highlights the need to bring some joy into your employees’ workdays.
Fortunately, you don’t always need to make a grand, expensive gesture to engage employees. Quantum Workplace found that the top driver of employee engagement is leaders who are committed to making the organization a great place to work. Simple efforts that show dedication to your staff can go a long way in boosting engagement and creating a work environment that sings with productivity and creativity.
Here are 7 ideas that are sure to bring joy without breaking your company’s budget.
1. Celebrate special occasions
Eighty-two percent of employees want their employers to see them as a person, not just an employee. (We were actually surprised this number isn’t 100%!) By commemorating the special events going on in your employees’ lives, you forge interpersonal connections and show your staff you care. Birthdays, engagements, new parenthood, receiving an honor (and it doesn’t have to be work related)—they’re all celebration-worthy. A simple note on an employee’s birthday or a wedding present from the whole team creates lasting positivity.
2. Organize a volunteer day
Employees don’t want to simply show up for work, complete their tasks, and go home; they want a sense of purpose. This is especially the case among younger members of the workforce: 42% of Gen Z would accept lower pay for a job that gives them more purpose. If your employees are searching for meaningful work that aligns with their values, consider creating opportunities for them to give back on the clock. An annual volunteer day with a local nonprofit can help them feel fulfilled and has the added benefit of uplifting your community. Many organizations have established corporate volunteer programs that make it easy for employees to get involved, whether through holiday gift drives, sponsorships, or direct service opportunities.
3. Ask for their input
To feel engaged at work, your employees need to know that their contributions and perspectives are valued.
Opportunities for staff to give feedback, like engagement surveys, are important, but can feel impersonal. Consider asking employees for their input or advice directly during one-on-ones and even informal conversations. Involving them in decisions is sure to make them more invested in business outcomes. Once you have their opinions, find ways to put them into practice to build trust and reinforce that they’re essential to the team.
4. Take tedious tasks off their plate
Another important aspect of feeling valued is doing valuable work. That’s why it’s important to free employees from unnecessary, tedious tasks. Think about the repetitive work your employees do that can easily be automated. Is someone manually sending out payroll? Are staff wasting time on manual contract generation? By using automation and even AI technology, you can free up employees’ time to focus on more strategic assignments, reinforcing a sense of engagement while also better allocating your organization’s resources.
5. Have spontaneous fun
Let’s face it: work can be predictable. Consider surprising your employees from time to time to break up the routine and introduce some spontaneity. Maybe you could close your office early on a nice day in the summer or bring in donuts to share one day during the week. If your hometown basketball, football, or baseball team is in the playoffs, turn on the office big screens and turn up with snacks. No matter how small the gesture, it’s sure to make an impact on your employees.
6. Find tools that simplify their work
Providing employees with the proper tools to do their jobs is an important part of job satisfaction. Those tools can help them be more productive, eliminate errors, and reduce frustration—all leading to higher happiness levels and organizational efficiency. For example, try integrating your systems so employees don’t have to switch between interfaces or roll out a new project management software that keeps tasks organized. More seamless work is sure to squash frustration and spark delight among your workforce.
7. Recognize wins—big and small
Employee wins don’t need to be saved for annual performance reviews. Take time to recognize and share wins, big and small, all year round. Mention them in staff meetings, emails, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, or send a handwritten thank you note at the end of the year to show your appreciation. Your employees are bound to smile when they see their hard work being noticed.
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