Are your employees happy to work for you? Do they enjoy what they do? Are they productive and motivated?

Gallup reports that organisations with disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and were responsible for 60% more defects and errors1 – these companies experienced 16% lower profitability and 18% lower productivity1.

Read on to see our list of seven tips to help you cultivate and maintain a positive and productive workplace.

1.Management, Not Money

Research has shown that employees value a good manager far higher than a good salary2 – in fact, the Employee Experience Report 2018 by Udemy found that close to half of respondents have quit previous jobs because of a bad manager, and 60% believe managers need managerial training3. Similarly, a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review showed that 58% of workers trust strangers more than their own boss4 and the 2018 Happiness Survey published by One4all found that a staggering 79% of UK workers do not believe their boss or manager cares about their happiness5.

There is a clear disconnect between how managers act, and how employees expect managers to act. No one sets out to become a bad manager, but evidently, that does not translate into being a good manager. A survey conducted by Yoh found that behaviours such as a lack of respect, breaking promises, overworking employees, having unrealistic expectations, and micromanaging were all factors that would cause employees to consider leaving their job6. Thankfully, these statistics help to illuminate some of the ways in which employee-manager relationships can improve.

2. Flexi Work is Happy Work

Flexible working hours and remote working are now seen as a fairly standard employee benefit, but not every organisation offers it.  61% of workers left or considered quitting a job because it lacked work flexibility options and more than 75% of workers would be more loyal to their organisation if it offered flexible working options8. Whether or not you believe that flexible working is worthwhile and productive – despite research showing that 75% of workers felt they experienced greater productivity at home because they encounter fewer distractions, fewer interruptions from colleagues, less stress from commuting and less office politics9 – the landscape has changed and employers must adapt or fall behind. Showing at least a willingness to be flexible with employees’ hours will help to increase engagement and positivity in the workplace.

3.Internal Confusion or Internal Communication?

Poor internal communication is at the heart of many workplace difficulties and failures. Research has shown that it is also a primary cause of employee resentment towards their managers. Psychometrics found that a vast 71% of employees believe their leaders do not clearly communicate expectations10, while a survey by Fierce Inc. found that 86% of respondents attribute workplace failures to a lack of collaboration and effective internal communication11. It is no coincidence, then, that Forbes found that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work12.

Employees want to feel ‘in-the-loop’ and connected to their organisation and its goals, and poor internal communication achieves precisely the opposite – it breeds resentment, disengagement and confusion.

4.Yearning for Learning

Particularly among millennial workers, but also among older generations, learning, training and development are ranked highly as important benefits at work. Bridge found that offering career development and training would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position and 67% of millennials would leave a position if it lacks growth opportunities13. Research has shown that organisations with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates 30-50% higher than those who don’t14. The benefits are abundantly clear – employees want to develop their skills and they are more likely to stay and be engaged.

5.Rewards & Recognition Will Reduce Attrition

Recognition and rewards for a job well done are key in fostering an engaged and motivated workforce. While 22% of senior decision makers don’t think that regular recognition and thanking employees has a big influence on staff retention15, Globoforce found that between 84%-86% of HR leaders think that employee recognition programs benefit employee relationships, have a positive effect on organisational culture and increase employee engagement16. Research has shown that employees value recognition highly and that many believe they are not recognised enough for the work they do. For example, 70% of employees believe their motivation and morale would increase substantially with managers saying thank you more15.

Recognising an employee’s achievements can come in many forms. Many senior managers and bosses tend to shy away from employee recognition programs because they assume it has to involve tangible rewards, like money or extra benefits – this is not the case. While recognition can take shape as a monetary bonus, or extra holiday days, it is important to remember that employees almost unanimously (96%) agree that empathy is vital for their happiness and motivation in the workplace17. As such, senior decision makers should realise that praise for good work, like a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’, and ongoing feedback and check-ins are often just as valuable to employees as any tangible reward you could offer them.

6.Meetings: Time Well Spent?

As remote working and virtual collaboration become more commonplace, it is natural for there to be more meetings in an attempt to mitigate the lack of physical, face-to-face interaction. However, a growing number of employees are finding meetings unproductive and lacking in any real purpose, beyond wasting time. One study of senior business professionals in the U.S. found that 59% of employees are less effective and engaged due to the number of meetings they have in a working week18 – based on an average figure of around 8 hours a week spent in meetings18. In the 2018 Workplace Distraction Report by Udemy, 60% of employees said that meetings were a distraction19 and 37% think those running meetings should have training in time management & effective meeting skills19.

Clearly, the problem is less to do with meetings themselves, but rather with how the meetings are run. After all, meetings are an important way to keep employees informed and up-to-date, especially for organisations with a high number of deskless workers.

7. Purpose & Meaning Will Keep Them Beaming

Extensive research has found a strong link between positive emotions at work and increased productivity, motivation, optimism, resilience and employee engagement. In a broad sense, then, we can equate wellness in the workplace with increased employee engagement20. Delving deeper, this research concluded that for employees to be fully engaged and happy at work, two of the most important things they needed were: a meaningful vision of the future and a sense of purpose20.

Employees want to identify and empathise with their organisation’s goals. They want to be able to see a clear and meaningful direction and vision for the future and, crucially, they want to know how they fit into this vision. Employees also want to feel as though the work they’re doing matters, and that it is contributing to the organisation’s goals and success.

 Watch our short video to find out more about how employee engagement impacts your organisation.


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