Whether managing a virtual team or a more traditional office-based one, keeping you team happy and content can be a challenge. Making sure your staff are happy is an important and admirable goal in and of itself. It also has distinct benefits for the team and the business overall: happier workers are more productive, meaning that your company in general will work better and be more likely to reach its goals.
But how do you make this happen? Let’s take a look at five easier ways to encourage your team to be happier and therefore more productive.
1. Encourage Your Team To Love Their Work
Somehow, we seemed to have developed a general belief these days that everyone should their job. We’re expected to have the Monday blues, spend our work days waiting for the clock to hit 5pm and count down the days until vacation so we can escape from the drudgery that is our job. However, not only should we believe it is possible for our team to love their job, we should expect it! In a world where everyone is free to follow their passions, and in the context of almost limitless possibilities, why wouldn’t everyone enjoy their work?
If not, something is wrong, and it is your job as the leader to work out what this is. Moreover, create an environment where all employees are expected and encouraged to love their work. If you operate with the assumption that everyone should hate their job and be waiting for the work day to be over s so they can go back to “real” life, then this is likely how they’ll feel. Rather, assume that your team do the work they do because this is what they love, and help them find new ways to develop themselves and new tasks to challenge themselves so they can continue to love what they do every day.
2. Involve Your Staff In The Bigger Picture
Making sure your staff feel invested is one of the key ways to improve employee engagement , and to make sure they are happier at work (and in general). Studies have shown that employees who know how their role contributes to the broader goals of the company, or otherwise makes a difference are much more motivated to work harder. This also gives them a sense of satisfaction in their work as it takes them beyond the day-to-day grind of tasks to working towards larger goals and objectives.
Make sure to clearly communicate to your team how their work contributes to the broader goals of the company, why you ask them to do the things they have to do, and why their role is important. Furthermore, involve them in the larger goals of the organisation, through things like employee involvement in organisational planning. This will help your staff to feel like they are fully involved and invested in the bigger picture.
3. Make Sure Your Staff Feel Appreciated
Another key element when it comes to your team’s happiness is appreciation. Research consistently shows that when staff feel appreciated they will be happier, more engaged and less likely to quit. Conversely, feeling under-valued or under-appreciated is one of the most common reasons people give for leaving a job.
Show your team they are appreciated by demonstrated your gratitude. This can be something as simple as saying “thank you” for a job well done or for taking on a difficult or perhaps just boring task. It could also take the form of public recognition such as shout outs in staff meetings or on social media, or by demonstrating your appreciation through gifts or rewards such as staff trips.
4. Foster a True Team Environment
Humans are social creatures, and are happier when they are part of a community. Build a strong, united team and not only will you notice positive results in terms of workflow and achieving organisational goals, but your employees will be happier and more likely to look forward to coming to work.
Take steps to encourage effective team building such as team building days or retreats, as well as on going activities such as work-based clubs and sporting teams. However it is not all about specific “team building” activities. A lot of this also comes down to the general environment you create, from keeping an open door policy to valuing every team member’s thought and opinions and fostering open communication at all levels.
5. Create a Space of Gratitude
The idea of gratitude may seem like something of a fad in recent times, but there is a good reason why many are proclaiming the benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. Psychological research has found a strong correlation between gratitude and overall happiness . This is because practising gratitude opens people up to positive emotions while encouraging them to appreciate positive experiences, which in turn improves their overall health, helps them build better relationships and deal with issues and adversity.
Encourage your team to cultivate an attitude of gratitude by practicing simple gratitude attitudes in the workplace. This could be asking your staff what they are grateful for, or what they are looking forward to for the week, as a regular feature at meetings. This is also an area where you can lead by example and actively practice gratitude as a way to encourage your team to do the same.