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Seven ways to create a happier workplace

​In the ongoing effort to engage and retain talent in the workplace, a distinct trend rings true: employees who are happy in their jobs are more likely to stay there.

But what does it take to improve the happiness level of your employees? Here are seven suggestions:

1. Offer greater flexibility.

The pandemic has changed the way many employees think about going to work. Those forced to work from home or other remote locations have proven that they don’t always need to be in the office to do their jobs. Companies that are more flexible in allowing employees who wish to work from home to do so, at least occasionally, will have less difficulty retaining workers.

There’s even a trend of giving workers more time off to help cultivate a happier workplace. In cases where workers are fully remote, this may mean encouraging them to shut down their computers at the end of the workday or not check their emails until the next morning. For others, it might mean getting creative with hybrid or office schedules and breaks, depending on the employee’s family preferences and obligations.

“Providing flexibility is key to creating a happy workforce,” said Brett Allcorn, CEO and founder of Albany, New York, Pineapple Company, a health supplement provider with 100 employees and $50 million in revenue. global sales last year. As an example, Allcorn shared that he had an employee in the operations department who “asked if it was okay if she could go to the gym to work out every afternoon. I immediately agreed because she had already proven herself in the business, and I trusted that she would continue to do her job.”

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Flexible Work Arrangements]

2. Clearly explain the company’s values, purpose and culture.

Pursuing meaningful and satisfying work is a key way to cultivate workplace happiness in employees, said Ahron Friedberg, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and co-author of Towards Happiness – A Psychoanalytic Approach to Finding Your Way (Routledge, 2022). There needs to be a good fit between workers and their jobs, he said, which stems from a combination of the positive personalities most employees bring to their jobs and the fulfilling nature of working for an organization that shares their values ​​and their vision.

3. Minimize micromanagement.

Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Trusting your employees to do the right thing helps foster a happy workplace, said Jason Cavness, who spent 30 years in the military in human resources before starting his own company, CavnessHR in Seattle. The happiest workplaces are those where senior management trusts employees to do their jobs without micromanaging, he said. “If an employee wants to take some time off to go to a football game with their kid, that should be fine,” because employees should be trusted to do their job in the best way they see fit, Cavness said. .

4. Provide opportunities for advancement.

Happy workplaces are those where employees “feel motivated” and believe they have the opportunity to grow their skills and careers, said Will Yang, head of growth at Instrumentl in Chicago, an institutional fundraising platform. fundraiser that helps non-profit organizations in their search for grants. “Employees who feel stuck in a bind are more likely to be unhappy at work,” he said.

5. Offer competitive compensation.

Employees need to feel like they’re being compensated fairly and in a way that reflects their position and work efforts, according to pay and benefits research. Hourly employees especially need to earn enough to pay bills and have discretionary expenses, as well as create an emergency fund for peace of mind. Workers who think they earn less than they should — or that their skills and credentials qualify them to earn more elsewhere — will focus on money when defining their happiness at work. In this case, receiving a raise may be much more important to their happiness than the other six happiness factors listed in this article.

6. Encourage friendships at work.

When striving for happiness at work, “relationships with co-workers and colleagues are super important,” says Dr. Friedberg. He shared examples of employees who could make more money in other jobs, but choose to stay at their current job because “where they are, they like their peers, they like their boss, and he there is an opportunity to learn more.”

In her experience, the most common reason employees are unhappy is because they don’t have rewarding working relationships, said San Diego leadership coach and human resources consultant Jeannie Moravits Smith. “People stay in organizations because they feel a sense of joy, they feel a sense of belonging,” she said.

When employees are unhappy with their work, Moravits Smith will ask why. “Lack of connection with their direct supervisor is number one” as the reason workers feel unhappy, she explained. “When there is a mutual relationship of trust and concern, the sky is the limit in terms of productivity, engagement, and even promoting a happier workplace.”

seven. Provide psychological safety.

Occasionally, employees need to share when there’s something in their lives that’s especially difficult for them to handle, said Jenn Lim, best-selling author of Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact (Grand Central Publishing, 2021) and CEO of Delivering Happiness, a consulting firm in Emeryville, California dedicated to helping businesses create a happier workplace. “Happiness starts from within and is tied to that sense of higher purpose,” Lim explained. An open door and resources that allow employees to discuss personal issues help them feel like their workplace is there for them as they work through issues that keep them from being happy, Lim said.

“Happiness begins when people feel they are heard, seen and mattered,” added Bridgitt Haarsgaard, CEO and Founder of The GAARD ​​Group, a New York-based business advisory firm. York.

Jan Yager, Ph.D., is a sociologist in Stamford, Connecticut, whose more than 50 award-winning books, translated into 35 languages, include
365 daily affirmations for happiness and productive relationships (Hannacroix Creek Books, 2012). To learn more, visit his website:

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