- In addition to doing work we enjoy, we also need time for the other elements in our life that make us whole.
- Finding meaningful work or finding meaning in our work is key.
- Allow employees to choose benefits that are most beneficial to them.
- Work relationships are incredibly important. As humans, we need connection with other people.
The average full-time employee spends approximately 40 hours a week at work. That’s a significant part of our lives that we spend working, which makes being happy at work even more important.
Ensuring the happiness of your employees is also the smartest business decision you can make.
So, here are four tips on how you can create happier employees in 2020:
1. Support Employee Work-Life Balance
Work plays an important role in our happiness and wellbeing, providing us with a combination of fulfillment, purpose, and social connection. However, in addition to enjoyable work, we also need time with our families, social relationships, hobbies and interests outside of work, and all the other elements that make us whole.
In his book This Morning Routine Will Save You 20+ Hours Per Week, author Benjamin Hardy writes, “What you do outside work is just as significant for your work-productivity as what you do while you’re working.”
Work-life balance is crucial to employee happiness. In 2018, Benify surveyed over 20,000 employees and HR leaders from over 100 organizations across a variety of industries and found that flexible working hours and vacation benefits are two of the most popular benefits, with as many as 69% of employees saying they enjoy flexible working perks.
Allowing employees to adjust their schedules, work from home when needed, or offering flexi-time are just three ways employers can support employee work-life balance. While, of course, working from home isn’t possible for blue-collar workers, there are other types of flexibility that employers can offer to support work-life balance.
2. Help Employees to See That What They Do Matters
We all want to know that what we do matters. Finding meaningful work or finding meaning in our work is key to our happiness at work.
However, it’s important to know that meaning is, in fact, momentary. Therefore, it’s not necessary that we find one “world-changing pursuit”, but rather that we find meaning in what we do, moment-to-moment.
As shared by Greater Good Magazine, American researcher David Yaden and organization BetterUp conducted research and found that employees are more satisfied with their job and their life overall when they feel their work matters.
The same article also refers to the findings of American researcher Julie Haizlip who found that mattering—the idea that we make a difference to the lives of others and that we are significant in the world—can prevent burnout and boost resilience.
Help employees understand that what they do at work matters to the organization. Show employees the impact of their efforts. Show employees the bigger picture and how what they do in their role contributes to it.
3. Enable Employees to Choose the Benefits They Need
In today’s workplace, we see four generations working side by side, each with their own preferences and in different stages of life. Allowing employees to personalize and choose what benefits are most beneficial to them is a great way to create happier employees.
Flexible benefit plans and flexible budget models enable companies to address the needs of every employee regardless of their life stage.
Whether employees can choose a preferred supplier for healthcare or childcare services, or choose which insurance or pension they want, flexible benefit plans allow employees to personalize their employer’s offering. Similarly, a flexible budget model gives employees a pre-selected amount to spend how they wish, be it a discount public transport card, bicycle or gym membership.
Give employees freedom of choice. After all, freedom is happiness.
4. Create Connection Among Employees
When we think about happiness at work, most people think about things such as salary, opportunities for development and the job itself. While those are important, our connection to our co-workers is even more so.
A Forbes article explains: “Work relationships are incredibly important to employee wellbeing. It’s about more than just ‘getting along’ with a co-worker. As humans, we crave contact and connection with other people.”
Australian Government Department of Health website, also emphasizes the connection between our happiness and our colleagues. “If you and your co-workers experience positive mental wellbeing at work, it is likely to boost your mental health outside of work as well.”
To form connections and bonds with colleagues, employees need the right professional and social opportunities. Opportunities can include eating lunch together, one-on-one sessions, team building and brainstorming exercises, taking a walk during lunch, after work socials, sports teams and coffee breaks.
On the importance of human connection, Good Therapy writes: “Relationships give us a sense of belonging in the group, a sense of identity in contrast to others in that group, an almost therapeutic-support system, and reason not to feel lonely”.
Here’s to happy employees in 2020!
Want to learn more about the importance of employee experience? Download our free e-book, The New Employee Experience: How to maximise and optimise every step of the employee journey.