March 20, 2019

International Day of Happiness: Six Ways to Make Your Employees Happier

Today (20th March) marks the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness. Coinciding with the first day of Spring, the event was launched to celebrate happiness and to recognise the importance of striving for it.

When you consider that full-time employees spend one third of their waking hours at work, it’s important for individuals to feel happy in their working lives as well as their home lives.

How happy are UK employees?

This leads me to ask, how happy is the average UK employee? The good news is that according to research by Investors in People, 65% of respondents are happy in their roles compared to 48% last year. However, despite this increase, nearly half of UK workers will be looking for a new job this year. Retaining your employees is a big challenge. Employee experience has become critical to attracting and retaining talent in an increasingly competitive market.

The thinking is that boosting employee happiness increases productivity levels, which in turn increases business performance. In addition, happy employees are less likely to look for alternative career opportunities.

International Day of Happiness

International Day of Happiness is the perfect time to think about what you can do to boost the happiness of your employees. Here’s six ways you can support the pursuit of happiness in your organisation:

1. Foster a culture that promotes happiness and contentment

Happiness at work is not just about promoting contentment at work on International Day of Happiness and forgetting about it the rest of the year. Nor is it about having a slide running through your office. It’s about creating a culture where each individual employee feels valued.

Culture develops over time, but HR can play a huge role in driving a positive culture.

To do this you must understand your employees’ concerns by collecting feedback and gathering data via engagement surveys for example. You can then coach leaders and implement change initiatives to reduce negative behaviours. This will play a massive part in improving the company culture.

In addition, encourage your management team to provide regular and consistent feedback. It will help employees to understand how your organisation is working, where they fit into it, and how their contribution counts towards the overall goal.

2. Develop talent through engaging and relevant training

In order for you to retain your employees it’s important to provide opportunities for them to develop their career.

Effective, engaging and relevant training can motivate your employees and develop their skills whilst improving the productivity of your workforce.

3. Embrace work-life balance and the rise of the flexible workforce

There is no doubt that striking the right balance between work and home life is a very important aspect of modern life.

The traditional 9-5 is now a significant turn-off for potential recruits. Employees are now looking for flexible working arrangements that enable them to juggle competing life demands.

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs. It might involve an earlier or later start and finish time to better suit the employee’s commitments outside of work. Alternatively, it might take the form of working reduced hours and days or working from home.

By offering flexibility there will be a wider pool for recruitment. Many experienced people who are unable or unwilling to work full-time may be available to work on a part-time or job share basis, or work from home.

There are benefits for employees but also employers. The benefits of flexible working for employees are often around giving an element of control to employees, which can improve their work-life balance and overall happiness.

Employers will benefit from an increase in productivity and performance levels along with a boost in staff engagement and motivation.

4. Ensure you have a robust anti-harassment policy in place

Organisations should treat any form of harassment seriously. Not just because of the legal implications and because it can lead to under-performance, but because people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work too.

As an employer, you should foster a fair and inclusive working environment that enables everyone to feel they can contribute at work.

Your first responsibility is to clearly articulate your organisation’s policy on harassment at work, dealing with any issues promptly, seriously and discreetly. But HR also has a role to play beyond the formal policies and practices. HR professionals should lead development of a broader positive culture in which harassment is known to be unacceptable and where individuals are confident enough to bring complaints without fear of ridicule or reprisal.

5. Consider Mental Health First Aid Training

According to the HSE, 15.4 million working days are lost due to mental ill-health every year.

In addition, a recent survey has found that six in ten managers have not received sufficient training to recognise the signs of mental ill-health in their employees.

If this is the case in your organisation, you could consider Mental Health First Aid Training that gives staff the tools to recognise and support mental ill-health.

6. Show your employees that you really care

Employee benefits are much more than just a little add-on for your staff – they’re essential in creating a culture that shows you care about your people and their wellbeing. Our benefits platform is suitable for all business sizes. It provides thousands of discounts, offers, cashback, advice and more, with everything you need to manage your scheme at your fingertips.

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About the author

Hannah Booth