The world around us is constantly changing, and we juggle our priorities and responsibilities to keep pace with the change. But with all the chaos around, we often forget what satisfaction means. Being happy involves taking deliberate effort. When I look back at when I started my career, I was barely stressed. Even the employee attrition rates for organisations were lower back then. People enjoyed more mental peace because they were able to disconnect from the constant buzz around them. Today, everyone I know is constantly glued to their cell phones and replying to emails all the time. Although technology has contributed in increasing productivity, it has changed many things along the way—multi-tasking has affected our ability to focus; peer-to-peer comparisons have peaked; and our happiness gradients have fallen.
This impacts organisations as well. The challenge today is to build a company that sustains for longer periods with happy and satisfied employees who are able to deliver value to the organisation. Below are some thoughts about focussing on the happiness of employees, which in turn would lead to the success of the organisation as a whole.
Bring in the child-like happiness
It’s not surprising that while we are constantly glued to our smartphones or other devices, we find it difficult to admire little things around us, like enjoying the fresh air as we hurry for a meeting or even observing what’s happening around us. For instance, the other day while dining out with my family, I spotted a friend at the restaurant and called out to him. But he didn’t even notice me, since he was so consumed in his thoughts while looking at his laptop and working diligently. I’m sure many of us can relate with such incidents. But as we become so deeply engrossed in our work, we should also guard our connections, our health, our personal relationships and our child-like enthusiasm.
It is also an organisation’s responsibility to bring in child-like enthusiasm among employees and to break the monotony to help them be worry-free. As a child, I was carefree and never thought twice before expressing an opinion I felt was right. I also loved experimenting to see how things work. Most children are like that. This approach of allowing employees to express their thoughts freely and providing them an environment where they don’t have to worry about making mistakes when trying new things, will encourage them to be excited at work.
Caring for employees
Caring is about making sure your employees are happy where they are, and taking care of their physical and mental well-being. I strongly believe that caring and responsible organisations play a critical role in spreading happiness among their employees. It is important to invest in people’s well-being and to care for their career. Give them a purpose in their work-life with attainable goals and a culture that helps them achieve it. Mentor and guide them whenever they need assistance. Employees should know that whatever comes their way, their organisation is always there to back them. Doing so will help them come up with innovative ideas and voice their thoughts. This benefits the organisation both in terms of novel products and services, as well as by creating a positive perception of the company culture in the eyes of its employees.
Clarity in goal-setting
A great way to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal, i.e. the success of the organisation, is to integrate everyone properly into the overarching strategy. Hence, there needs to be clarity in terms of Key Result Areas (KRA). Talk to employees about where the organisation stands and how they can contribute in achieving the targets. I feel this clarity is crucial in spreading happiness among people. The more realistic and transparent the organisation, the better employees know what’s expected of them.
Growth of organisation correlated with growth of employees
An individual joins an organisation thinking s/he will be able be able to grow in their career through this association. It is, then, the responsibility of the organisation to create opportunities for new experiences to realise this career growth. Nurture your employees by providing them the necessary training and tools to help them achieve their goals. Rather than just thinking about your organisation’s vision, also think about your employees’ vision, and craft mutually aligned goals. Employee satisfaction and loyalty will automatically rise when people understand that their employer cares about their individual growth.
You must also measure happiness levels from time to time through surveys and other tools to understand what motivates people. If needed, modify your approach accordingly.
Unhappy people will not care what’s happening to the business. Build an employee-driven culture that fuels curiosity, freedom and motivation at a micro level to achieve the macro targets of the organisation.