Human Resources Strategies to Increase Employee Happiness and Productivity

July 22, 2018

You are already paying your associates. You may be paying them quite well. You also offer employee benefits, and perhaps performance bonuses. And yet … well, you can’t shake the gut feeling that you could be doing more to improve your business and make your employees happier. And you’re right —  you can do more to increase your employees’ happiness, and it will improve your business. Moreover, it will make your workplace more pleasant for everyone, and you don’t need to increase your payroll cost to do it.

So where do you start?

Recognize Your Employees Without Affecting Employee Payroll

One of the easiest, most effective ways to improve your employee’s happiness is to recognize them. If an associate solves a difficult problem, make it a point to brag about it. A simple “thank you” shows that you have noticed your employee’s efforts and value their contributions. If an employee has good personal news, such as a new house or a child graduating from high school or college, celebrate it!  You don’t have to do anything elaborate; even an email can let your employee know that they are important and more than just a cog in the machine.

Keep Employees in the Loop

Nothing is worse for morale than the feeling that employees have no say in the way business is run. So include them as much as possible, especially when it comes to strategic human resource planning. Will you be creating a new position? Be sure to tell your employees, and allow them to apply before opening the job to outside candidates. Are you considering moving to a new building? Give your employees a chance to weigh in. Transparency is key to creating and growing a happy staff.

Flexible Hours and Telecommuting

Very few jobs today require an employee to be tied to their desk, Monday through Friday, from 8 to 6. Consider making telecommuting an option. You can also allow greater flexibility in work hours. Think about how convenient it would be if, instead of using half a day of sick or vacation time for a doctor’s appointment, your employees could simply come in after they’ve finished up and work later to meet a full day. In fact, some companies, such as Netflix, have simply eliminated employee time off tracking altogether and allow employees to set their own work and attendance schedules provided their work doesn’t suffer. While that step is rather extreme, imagine how happy your employees would be if they knew that they could come into work at noon and work until 8 one or two days a week. As long as business is attended to, this will be a win-win for everyone. And it will make your company much more attractive to potential candidates.

Improve the Work Environment

Take a moment and look at your office with the eyes of a newcomer. Are the walls a dingy, institutional green? Are your carpets stained? Has your breakroom coffee pot seen better days? These may seem like small things, but they can add up. If your office space is depressing, your employees won’t be happy. Simple cosmetic changes won’t solve everything, but they can have a real impact on workplace happiness.

Use HR Development to Enhance Career Development

A common reason why employees change jobs is the feeling that they have no room for advancement. Talk to your employees and ask about their hopes and ambitions. Simple communication is one of the most effective HR tools at your disposal. You can have open meetings, you can take anonymous polls, but however you choose to do it, you will need to work with your employees to develop actionable steps for career advancement. One idea is to give your more seasoned employees a chance to mentor new employees. This can be a great way to create more HR development opportunities for everyone. Other companies have taken steps to create a cross-training program, where an employee can step into another position or department to determine for themselves what they might like for their next steps. Your human resources department can be instrumental in the creation and administration of this program.

Have Clear, Well-Defined Goals

Change is a natural part of business. Employees know, or should know, that they are expected to be flexible. But if your employees feel that they are trying to hit a moving target they will soon lose their motivation, and worse, they can descend into unproductive activities like backbiting, gossip, and other negative behaviors. And workplace negativity has a way of spreading until the office harmony is disrupted and work suffers. One  of the best ways to combat this is to make sure that everyone is aware of their roles and the goals of their position, their department, and the business. One way to keep everyone moving forward in the same direction is to have mid-year reviews. A mid-year review can be a great opportunity to recognize an employee’s accomplishments and opportunities for improvement.

Re-Think Staff Meetings

The pointless, rambling meeting that is scheduled weekly, whether needed or not, has become the set up for a bad office joke. Everyone has a horror story about a meeting that took a ridiculously long time to accomplish almost nothing. So take a moment to review your meetings- is a 60-minute staff meeting really necessary when the subject can be covered in a five-minute group huddle?  Is this something that can be accomplished over Skype? Meetings will always be a necessary evil, but with a little planning, and out-of-the-box thinking, you can minimize disruptions while making sure that the necessary information is efficiently covered

Nothing says “This is a Good Place to Work” Like Free Food

It may sound corny and obvious, but a slice of pizza or a fresh bagel puts everybody in a good mood. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, although it can be. Provide your associates with a little nosh now and then and you will find that the office mood has lightened considerably. For a real shot in the arm, try having executives and managers hand out the food. It’s hard to be intimidated by a manager you’ve seen struggle with dishing out ice cream.

Contact Commonwealth Payroll & HR

For more information on how Commonwealth Payroll & HR can work with you on your strategic human resources planning, call us today at 877-245-1159

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