The Key to Happy Employees: How to Create a Great Place to Work

Happy, engaged employees are proven to be more productive, create happier customers and outperform their less engaged counterparts. However, very few employees feel that they are fully engaged with their work.

So how do you engage your employees and get the most out of them? The first, major thing is to change the focus from getting the most out of your employees to investing more in them physically, emotionally and mentally.

Physical Investment

  • Commit to paying your employees at least a living wage. The minimum wage does not necessarily translate into a wage that someone can live off. A living wage will vary depending on the individual’s circumstances, but you can figure out what a living wage is with this calculator. An employee can easily become disgruntled when they cannot afford to live whilst the CEO is paid millions. Richard Branson himself said

“Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them.”

  • Design work environments that are safe and comfortable to work in. Supportive chairs, a controllable climate and a well-planned interior all contribute to this. The workplace should cater to different styles of working too. Provide space for collaboration, private meetings, eating and simply hanging out.
  • Give employees a stake in the success of the business. From performance related bonuses to profit sharing, if an employee can share in the success of a company in a meaningful way, they will become more invested in it.
  • Hire an effective HR team that will hold executives accountable, as well as being able to teach and influence them, so that only the people who are truly qualified and deserve to be promoted are.

Emotional Investment

  • Define success for every role and then let your employees achieve it autonomously.
  • Hold managers accountable for the recognition of employees’ success, and their respectful treatment.
  • Stand for something more than just making a profit, and tell employees how they fit in to achieving this goal. Happy employees feel that they are contributing something of value to the world through their work for your company.
  • Introduce two-way performance reviews, so your employees receive regular feedback, and also have the opportunity to give feedback on their managers and leadership.

Mental Investment

  • Provide employees with incentives to develop and learn new skills throughout their time at your company.
  • Create policies that mean that employees can set aside time to focus on a particular project of their choice.
  • Set an example with your leadership. Incorporate these things into your own working life and display positive beliefs and they will have a trickledown effect into the culture of your company.

The items on this list vary in their degree of difficulty, and some are more tangible than others. Installing an air conditioning unit to make your workplace physically more comfortable, for instance, is relatively easy compared to setting an example with your leadership. However, if they contribute to your employees trusting your leadership, having pride in what they do, and enjoying the people that they work with, then they are an investment well worth the effort.