Happy Starts With You
There have been countless studies about how important it is to have happy employees. There are statistics to back this up like:
- Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%.
- Happy employees are 12% more productive.
- Happy salespeople produce 37% greater sales.
- And so on.
You know yourself, it’s true. When you are happy and in a positive state, of course; the tough work seems easier, the complaining customer is water off a duck’s back, and even when your staff is looking for impossible answers, it all comes a little easier. When we are happy, we feel like we have a lot more resources available to solve problems.
One thing I think we have missed at times in the discussion of employee happiness, is that happiness is a choice. Each one of us has a choice to be happy, to be mad, to be frustrated or to grateful. Each of us is in charge of our own emotions and yet when we talk about employee happiness it is like somehow this is something that can be solved by giving someone a raise or letting them work from home. Sure, for a moment doing this can make someone happy, but before long it can wear off.
As a manager or leader, we need to remember that creating happy employees is more than you trying to solve what will make someone happy all on your own. You need them to play in the game with you. Another interesting statistic to back this up is, “36% of employees would give up $5,000 a year in salary to be happier at work.”
So now the question is how do you go about creating happy employees?
Here are four steps to creating a happier workplace:
- Check yourself – Its true. You become like the people you hang around with. If you hang around complainers, you will become one. If you hang around people who are happy and talk about being happy, then guess what. As a leader, you set the stage for your employees. If you don’t talk and perform like you are happy then there is no chance they will. You have heard about the need to “fake it until you make it”. It starts somewhere and you get to lead.
- What do I need to do? – This is a question that needs to be asked of you and your staff anytime you are considering whether you want to choose to be happy. If you check in with yourself and ask yourself if you are happy and the answer is not, then the next question has to be, “then what do you need to do?” If the answer is, I need to go have a conversation, or I need to go for a walk, then do it and once you are done, choose to be happy. If you ask your staff and they say they aren’t happy, ask them, “what do you need to do?” And please don’t confuse this with, what do I need to do. Put the onus and control back to them and then encourage them to take action on the things they identify.
- Practice gratitude – Workplaces that discuss the things they are grateful for, have happier employees. This can be something incorporated into team meetings. It can be displayed with the use of sticky notes or thank you cards. Again, as a leader you need to make sure your own filters are focused on the good around you and not always the problems.
- Get to know your employees – Taking a bit of time to get to know each of your employees, gives you the opportunity to find ways to support the things they really care about both inside and outside the workplace. If someone loves running and you know this, when you interact with them and talk about the thing that makes them happy, they will be happy. Find the little happiness buttons we each have and push those, every once in a while, to turn on the happy.
Again, everyone of us chooses how we react to the situations in front of us. We have the ability to make decisions to do the things that make us happy. In cases where we don’t want to decide to do something different, you might as well then choose to be happy where you are. Life is short, so start off with being happy yourself and you will transform your world.
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