According to a six-month study conducted by the World Economic Forum, happy employees at a British telecommunications firm were not only faster but also “achieved 13% higher sales” than those staff members who were not happy. Of course, we can define happiness in a variety of ways. For some, being happy is having a lot of money and material possessions. For others, their families are their biggest source of happiness. Finally, a third group would relate happiness to career achievement and recognition.
No matter what your definition is, one thing is for sure. It’s better to be happy than not to be. It’s better to look forward to your day than dread it.
But how can companies make their staff happier without having to give them more money? How can they find a balance between efficiency, employee commitment, and the bottom line?
Answers to these and other questions are never easy, especially during a pandemic like COVID-19. In the current economic situation, enterprises worldwide continue losing money, laying people off, and shutting down. Still, there are a few things organizations can do to maintain a satisfied, motivated workforce. Three of them are employee engagement activities, regular training, and flexibility.
Team-Building with a Purpose
The concept of team-building is nothing new. Companies worldwide have been conducting activities to bring their employees together for decades. Examples are company social events, road trips, and inter-department competitions. While these activities are useful and help people bond and better get to know each other, they are not always effective. This is because employees get to socialize with each other and take a break from work but no more than that.
For a team-building activity to be useful, it needs to be productive to the employees and the organization. Aside from being fun, it should help develop soft skills such as critical thinking, sales, business communication, or leadership. For instance, the company could organize problem-solving games or have different teams figure out an abstract jigsaw puzzle.
Besides being entertaining, these activities allow the brain to relax by focusing on something different from work. At the same time, they nurture collective thinking and camaraderie among colleagues.
The Importance of Training
One of the biggest reasons why employees jump ship is the feeling of staleness, an absence of growth. Human beings like learning new things, exploring, and taking risks. Once a job becomes too easy or too boring, most people will not be motivated to do it. As a result, they will put less effort into it, which in turn will diminish productivity.
Companies can’t provide their staff with new challenges every single day. It’s also impossible and inadvisable for employees to become complete generalists. A business where everybody can do everything, but nobody can do it at an expert level will not succeed.
Yet, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly training is possible. The important thing is not the level of sophistication in training, but rather its usefulness. People don’t need to learn about AI and quantum physics for training to be valuable. A simple lecture on giving presentations, writing a business email, or using a new software will more than suffice.
Aside from getting new skills, training shows employees that the company cares about their future careers.
Work flexibility is perhaps now more important than ever before. Covid-19 has changed the way we do business, not to mention the way we live. As such, companies should adapt to this new normal. They should put in place policies that take this into account. Some measures would include:
- Allowing people to telecommute as much as they can.
- Consolidating non-essential tasks.
- Being flexible with work schedules and easing of deadlines whenever possible.
- Using online communication tools and collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Google Meetings, or Slack.
- Having an open mind. Things are always changing, and the future is more and more uncertain. Hence, companies shouldn’t stay rigid on their policies but rather understand that persistent change is vital and necessary.
A company that understands the challenges its employees face is a company that will be respected. By being flexible, companies are letting staff know they not only realize what is happening, but they’re also taking the measures to make it work.
A job is a job. It is not always easy and requires patience, dedication, and commitment. All employees will have bad days, days in which they feel burnt out, disappointed, and unmotivated. But this doesn’t mean companies can’t do anything about it. It doesn’t mean most days can be fruitful, enjoyable, and outright happy.
By engaging in purposeful team-building, abundant training, and flexibility, the number of satisfied employees will far exceed unhappy ones. This will bring benefit to the staff themselves as well as the company as a whole.