What are the best ways to keep your employees happy?

Research from the University of Warwick has confirmed what many suspect – that happier employees are more productive. 12% more productive in fact. Why? Because the brain works better when people feel positive – when we’re happy is when we’re more creative, better at problem solving and decision making, and more collaborative. We have more energy, are more motivated and use our time more effectively. Happy, productive staff drive your business forward.

However, 1 in 3 of employees are unhappy in their current job according to Investors in People’s 2016 survey. How can your business find ways to make your people happier? It’ll mean they’re more likely to stay, and to work better while they do. Here are some tips and tools that can help:

Give the right rewards

Feeling unappreciated is a common complaint about where we work – so why not find more, and more interesting, ways of saying “thank you” to employees. Think about offering more frequent and varied smaller rewards, rather than a single large, but infrequent, event. Find excuses to break up the routine with happy surprises. Perkbox is a service that helps companies provide hundreds of rewards, as well as competitions and free surprises.

Health is key

There’s a booming market for health and wellness products and more ways than ever for us to get a handle on our health. These attitudes are also impacting the workplace – we’re more actively seeking out lifestyle and “wellness” benefits as part of the total package we demand from an employer. In a recent study, 77% of US employees agreed that “wellness” positively impacts work culture, resulting in increased job morale, satisfaction, commitment and performance. As this article from Ria Ingleby, Vodafone’s Wellbeing Manager, discusses – the key is to design holistic programmes that go beyond solely focusing on physical health, to include emotional wellbeing, personal growth, community impact, and fun.

Flexible working can increase productivity

Time and again, people who have more freedom to choose when, where and how they work are happier in their work and more productive. Implementing flexible working strategies has seen companies enhance staff morale and increase both productivity and profits. Delivering greater flexibility is especially important in attracting, and retaining, the next generation of employees – who value work/life balance more than any other factor when choosing a job, and 1 in 3 of whom would seek a new position solely to improve it. The technology to offer flexible working already exists, meaning that the key to realising its benefits is to adapt company culture – you can find a guide to building a game-changing strategy here.

Have fun

Building friendships is another key route to greater happiness in the office. So, provide more opportunities for people to connect – with events that have nothing to do with work, but are focused on letting off steam, having fun and building team camaraderie.

Keep your finger on the pulse

TinyPulse is a new tool that will help get a read on the happiness “heartbeat” in your company – giving you warning signs if some surgery is needed. Instead of a big annual satisfaction survey, it sends out a single question each week. While the questions change each time, they almost always sample sentiments around morale, benefits, retention, and career progression. Anonymous answers give leadership actionable feedback at the same time as engaging employees – and also giving them the chance to recognise performance of their colleagues.

There’s an app for that

The ability to get things done is a major source of on the job satisfaction – feeling empowered to solve problems and overcome challenges has a direct link to happiness. Providing useful, useable, apps such as the popular chat app Whatsapp to employees helps them achieve more. So it’s no surprise that research from Forrester has shown that “app-enabled” employees are about 20% more likely to be happier, to have happier customers, and to recommend their employer. A recent article from CIO magazine is a great place to start thinking about enterprise apps.