Office Policy Analysis – Decrypting the “Happy Code” for Employees
For centuries companies have wondered about ways to keep their employees beaming with happiness and motivation.
Every year, the trends in employee engagement see a change of what seems to be working and what has shifted to the back burner.
However, one theme that refuses to dilute is the correlation between happy workers and organizational performance (productivity and profits combined).
It is undoubtedly the function of office policies that differentiate a company with “high on joy” employees from the one with “dragged to drudgery” workforce.
Thoughtful employers who invest time in policy analysis and devise supportive initiatives spark positive emotions in the staff, which ultimately leads to invigorating happiness.
As per a recent study by economists at Warwick University, happy workforce spiked their productivity by 12%.
This stat is reinforced by the words of Shawn Achor, author of bestseller THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE, “The better your brain is at using its energy to focus on the positives, the greater your chances at success.”[Tweet “89% of employers think their people leave for more money”]
Interestingly on many occasions the concept of ‘happy employees’ is perceived to imply compromised work quality, too much flexibility, college work culture with an air of non-seriousness or hipster company processes.
This notion requires a quick clarification that happiness is internal and results when employees enjoy what they do in a stimulating environment. Happy doesn’t mean sub-standard and lazy.
Noteworthy Facts about Happy Workers
- 89% of employers think their people leave for more money; 12% of employees actually do leave for more money (The Hidden Reasons employees leave – Leigh Branham)
- 90% of leaders agreed that engagement strategy has an impact on business success but barely 25% of them had a strategy (Dale-Carnegie.com)
- Happy employees at work take 10x few sick leave than unhappy counterparts (Randstad USA Survey)
- Each year the average company loses 20-50% of its employee base (Bain & Co)
- Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20% (usatoday.com)
Office Policy Analysis – Top 5 Factors that contribute to “Happiness Quotient”
Can the office routine hours bring happiness for everyone? The answer is a resounding “Yes”.
In the words of Alexander Kjerulf – Chief Happiness Officer at Woohoo Inc, international speaker and author of bestseller Happy Hour is 9 to 5
“Most people chase success at work, thinking that will make them happy. The truth is that happiness at work will make you successful.”[Tweet “Happy employees at work take 10x few sick leave than unhappy counterparts”]
Organization founder/s, CEO and custodians of employee policy analysis have to chalk out a plan that is inclusive and has avenues of generating employee satisfaction and ultimately happiness.
Some simple yet effective tweaks in the regular policies can generate awesome results irrespective of the size and nature of your business.
Consider the following happiness boosters that might be helpful while drafting your staff handbook:
1) Balance out the Power Play
Pick up any study or data point, a common thread present in all of them is how employees leave their bosses rather than the company.
A strong factor adding to this burden of bad bosses is ‘power distance’, a workplace psychological concept that measures the extent of autonomy and empowerment enjoyed by employees at various levels.
Employees leave their bosses rather than the company
In a business culture study conducted by Dutch sociologist Geert Hofstede, he found that US workplaces have a power distance of 40, with bosses having the last word in everything.
On the other hand, Danish employees deal with the lowest power distance of 18 and have equal footing in presenting ideas or representing company board.
2) Feed the Grey Matter
While money is undisputedly important, humans find happiness when they learn something new. This trait remains constant across all ages.
Find out what interests them, make customized developmental plans and fuel their careers with necessary coaching inputs.
If the worker sees clear pathway of progress within a company, commitment and gratification come naturally without other perks and frills.
3) Don’t Forget the Basic Peripherals
This includes the work hours, attendance policy, leave provision, pantry facilities, childcare support, recreation and similar benefits.
These seemingly low impact items have the potential to raise worries of large proportions.
Fun Fact – 67% of full-time employees with access to free food at work are “extremely” or “very” happy at their current job. (source: Warwick.ac.uk press release)
In the same Danish study mentioned above, a comparative scenario is presented of how Americans and many Asian countries justify extended number of hours.
Spending more than 40 hours is very normal and overwork is seen as a part and parcel of the deal.
While in Denmark, employers severely criticize this exhausting arrangement, looking at it as failure of delegation and personal effectiveness.
Employers need to realize that there is a life beyond work where employees need to spend time to be happy.
4) Integrate Fun and Hard Work
Though a bold step, consider having employee driven initiatives at workplace. They know what makes them happy.
So it makes sense to let them take charge and responsibility.
Be it community volunteering, deciding on casual clothes, pursuing hobbies, having in-house health and wellness programs and any other idea – facilitation and providing resources makes the organization a favorite place for the employees.
2U, an education technology company in US enjoys high ratings on Glassdoor.com and Washington Post’s Top Workplaces with its one of kind fun packages.
The employees formed their own office basketball league, have frequent holiday parties and they travel to Disney World for their annual company meeting.
5) Fine-tune Money and Perks to employee needs
Each company follows its on remuneration structure basis corporate strategy. But including unique and thoughtful reward and recognition inputs can go a long way in retaining happy employees.
Family dinner coupons, extra day off, passes for high profile events/movies, vacation packages are some of the things that motivate workers to be engaged achievers.
AnswerLab, Digital Experience Company fosters their employees’ love for technology by giving $400 tech allowance to spend on any device or app of their choice.
Keeping an employee happy is not a difficult task. But the apprehensions, stereotypes, risk-averting attitude and herd mentality make it a daunting job.
Figure out the zone of happiness for you and your workers to reap the benefits of creative and positive minds.
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