The 9 Ingredients For Happy Employees

Employee happiness

It will come as no surprise that a happy employee is a good one. They are more productive, more helpful, more amiable, more loyal, more focused and more invested.

When you take a look at America’s 100 top rated companies to work for, their blossoming bottom lines speak for themselves – these companies with happy employees really do make more money.

Is it any coincidence then, that software development company Atlassian, voted as Australia’s best company to work for in 2014, has grown from a start-up in 2002 to a world-dominating machine with clients on the books such as NASA, Facebook, Audi, Twitter, and LinkedIn?

While this is certainly not a definitive list, here are 9 ingredients that can make for happy employees – and, therefore, stronger bottom lines.

1. Advancement

In a 2014 Career Builder survey, a massive 45 per cent of those who planned on leaving their job last year said they were thinking about it because they were unhappy with the current opportunities for advancement within the company.

When an employee hits the limit of their career growth opportunities within your company, that’s one less reason for them to stay on, and one more reason for them to feel dissatisfied at work.

2. Appreciation

Research company Gallup surveyed 4 million workers on their feelings towards their workplaces, and the number one reason for those who left their jobs was that they didn’t feel appreciated. The same study suggested that 65 per cent of Americans received no recognition in the workplace in the previous year.

Workers who feel appreciated are happy workers.

3. Atmosphere

You may not be able to measure a good atmosphere, but your employees can certainly feel it. Happy employees enjoy an environment in which the workplace is a supportive, welcoming area where they feel safe and accepted. Unhappiness will quickly arise when negativity intrudes in the form of excessive office politics, gossip or bullying.

4. Flexibility

Flexibility in working hours and/or location are important to many, yet companies that offer such perks are few and far between.

Flexible hours UK recruitment company Timewise recently released a report on the subject and found that as much as 77 per cent of workers feel trapped in their current role, and that 52 per cent would be nervous about asking for flexibility in an interview.

Offering a day a week where an employee can work from home, or with an unstructured set of hours, could make all the difference.

5. Training

For a factor that will make sense for the company and make their employees happier, managers should ensure training is on the cards for staff.

Back in 2011, London’s Middlesex University surveyed thousands of employees and found that 74 per cent of them didn’t think they were reaching their workplace potential and wanted more on-the-job training. Perhaps even more meaningful are the statistics that suggest a full 83 per cent of them would put time into their training outside of work hours, and 72 per cent said they would consider contributing financially to a training course.

While some managers are concerned that training staff will only see them quickly leave for a better job soon after, the threat of not training them at all means a workplace with staff not meeting their potential who might leave shortly thereafter regardless.

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6. Remuneration

While money certainly isn’t everything for every employee, it doesn’t hurt to be paid at least a respectable wage or salary.

In the 51st Australian Institute of Management salary survey, which included more than 25,000 employees around the country, 44.7 per cent of workers said they leave for another job because of insufficient pay. This was not the first or second most common reason they left, but it’s still an important factor.

Performance reviews, pay rises and negotiations should never be off the table for a strong – and happy – worker.

7. Awareness

Employees want to know that you’re aware of their wellbeing, because when you’re aware that something is amiss, you can act on it.

Noticing a staff member has been less productive lately might be a sign that you need to sit down to discuss any issues they’ve been having. A portion of the solution to these issues is often simply that you’ve been keeping a close enough eye to notice there is something wrong.

You will also need to be aware of anyone poisoning the well. If there is a member on the team who emanates negativity, being aware of the source of the issue will help you cut it off at the root.

8. Trust

Trust goes both ways.

First, they must trust you on your word. You can make all the promises in the world about changing things for the better, but if you can’t be trusted to follow through, your words won’t carry so much weight in the future.

On the other side of the coin, your employees need to know that you trust them, too. If they constantly feel like you’re checking up on them and their work, they’ll learn to look over their shoulder and won’t be able to get comfortable or feel confident in their roles.

9. Communication

A survey released earlier this year shows the dire situation of communication in American workplaces. Just 15 per cent of workers surveyed by 15Five said they were very satisfied with the level of communication at their jobs.

In the same survey, only 62 per cent of workers said they talked to their managers about their professional goals a few times a year – or less.

Being able to speak frankly with a manager for feedback, advice, ideas, questions and concerns is the ideal for any workplace. As well as that, managers and leaders who are as open and transparent as possible able changes and policies will always be better placed to win over the trust of employees.