Happy employees do better work. And they stay with your company longer, reducing the inconveniences and costs of turnover. They’re more motivated, productive, and loyal, too. Plus, they make the workplace more pleasant for everyone else.
But keeping employees happy—especially in the long term—isn’t always easy. At least, not if you don’t make a deliberate effort.
Improving employees’ job satisfaction is about a lot more than their salary and benefits package. Of course, those are important factors, but people can certainly become bored, restless, or even downright miserable in a high-paying job if that’s all it offers.
Below are some practical, effective ways of improving employees’ job satisfaction by keeping them engaged, showing that you care about them, and promoting a positive workplace environment.
How to Boost Your Team’s Morale and Happiness
- Treat every employee professionally and with respect at all times; make sure all managers, supervisors, and others who oversee anyone do the same
- Offer praise frequently; not only does this feel good, it reassures your employees that they’re doing things well and that you’re noticing
- Extend your appreciation for dedication and jobs well done regularly, too, for the same reason as above
- Have realistic expectations for all team members
- Establish clear goals for your employees and always make sure they understand them; this helps them achieve better performance, but also helps prevent them from feeling aimless or useless
- Explain how their goals contribute to the greater good of the brand so they truly feel like part of the team
- Give rewards for meeting goals (relative to the size or significance of the goal); this applies to individuals, and collectively for the team
- Provide constructive feedback regularly to help employees perform better
- Check in with employees individually to ask about how they’re doing, how they feel about their workload, what’s working well, and what could be improved to make their jobs better
- Don’t just nod your head when employees offer constructive feedback; institute it or find compromises whenever feasible
- Be reasonably accommodating of sick time, personal days, a few hours off here and there for doctor appointments or parent-teacher conferences, and so on
- Actively encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance (and pay attention to your own work-life balance as a business owner so you don’t become too unpleasant to work for)
- Demonstrate that you care about employees’ health, whether by stocking the office with healthy snacks, offering a gym membership as a perk, letting them leave early once per week to go to a fitness class, etc.
- Allow employees some work-from-home time when possible; it often greatly increases job satisfaction and productivity, so don’t dismiss the idea because it’s not something you’re used to
- Similarly, let employees set their own hours when possible if they want to avoid a stressful commute, work when they’re more productive, or have other good justifications; don’t just insist on 8 to 5 for no other reason than it’s standard
- Offer continuing education support, training, or other professional development opportunities to your team members
- Strive to place employees in positions where they use their strengths and interests—even if that means tweaking job descriptions
- Periodically find ways to increase the responsibilities, contributions, and compensation of deserving employees; few people stay happy in the long run in a position with no room for advancement and raises
- Don’t create an environment in which people constantly worry about their job security by making threats, complaining publicly about finances, etc.
- Do create an environment in which employees bond; put in a ping-pong table, send employees out for lunch together, arrange get-togethers outside of work, try some genuinely fun—not corny—team-building exercises, and so on
- Be proactive about successfully resolving workplace conflicts
- Celebrate employees’ milestones and achievements (e.g., birthdays, engagements, birth of a child, kids graduating, promotions, professional awards) in the workplace with the whole team