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Businesses are facing an uphill battle with talent shortages and high employee turnover. Organizations that are serious about improving employee retention need to look at ways to improve employee happiness in the workplace.
Every new year is a new opportunity for employers. A chance for employers and managers to look back and reflect on their existing processes and systems, and make changes where necessary in the pursuit of improvement.
The events of 2020 and 2021 left most companies, as well as people, reeling and struggling to adapt to an entirely new way of working and living.
This has been evident as hiring and retaining employees has been a challenge for most, if not all, organizations throughout the year. And according to research on 2022 workplace trends conducted by Glassdoor, the ongoing talent wars are not going to ease up anytime soon.
If businesses and organizations are serious about retaining their workforce they’re going to need to refocus their efforts on making, and keeping, their employees happy. Boosting employee happiness in the workplace is a priority that businesses must refocus their efforts on in 2022.
It’s long been known but not often discussed that workers, especially deskless workers, have felt overworked and undervalued by their companies. Organizations have, for a long time, focused more on output than input and prioritized KPIs over people.
This isn’t to say that companies are entirely at fault, it’s understandable that the primary aim for businesses has always been to advance business interests as much as possible. The issue here is that it has often come at the cost of long-term employee happiness and satisfaction.
Workers have felt pressured to take on extra work on top of their existing workload, often to the detriment of their mental and physical wellbeing, and at the expense of their family or personal life.
It’s little wonder that when the pandemic arrived, many employees in different industries saw the opportunity in the chaos and decided to jump ship in search of greener pastures.
We’ve seen this trend continue throughout all of last year. Employees are emboldened, not afraid, to take a risk, choosing uncertainty over dissatisfaction. Workers are no longer afraid of losing their jobs, they’re afraid of losing out on a better opportunity elsewhere.
As businesses, we urgently need to reexamine our internal work structures and identify the underlying causes compelling our best and brightest employees to resign. We know that employees are unhappy, but we need to better understand why to reduce employee turnover.
While unhappiness in the workplace won’t have the exact same causes within every organization, businesses can ask themselves a key question to help them get to the bottom of their employee happiness deficit: What exactly are we doing to make our employees feel engaged, purposeful, and happy in the workplace?
At the heart of a company is its culture, and if a company’s culture is not conducive to employee happiness and wellbeing, employees are going to migrate elsewhere eventually. Findings have shown that workers who feel strongly connected to their place of work are more engaged while at work, compared to those who don't.
Connection and engagement are symbiotic in the workplace. Engagement builds a sense of connection between employees and with their company and connection, in turn, reinforces engagement. Together, engagement and connection are what make up a company’s workplace culture.
A culture built on high levels of employee engagement and positive, consistent connection will enjoy higher levels of employee happiness and satisfaction. It’s here where a lot of companies need to do the grunt work.
Organizations need to focus their efforts on building workplace cultures based on positive employee engagement and connection. It’s in this kind of working environment that employee happiness will thrive.
Providing incentives and rewards to employees is only part of building engagement and connection in the workplace, and alone it won’t stop employees from leaving a company.
Engagement and connection strategies need to align with things that employees value in their place of work, like honesty, trust, employee development and growth, and so on. Underpinning all of these important touchpoints is a central need for better communication.
By streamlining and improving all avenues of communication within the workplace, organizations can empower employees to share their thoughts, concerns, opinions and feel heard.
They can also create new upskilling and skills training opportunities for employee development. Employee achievements and contributions can be shared and celebrated throughout the company, fortifying their sense of purpose and belonging in the workplace.
Through better communication, companies can drive employee engagement and connection, in turn building the kind of workplace culture that employees will like. Employees, as a result, will be happier and less likely to leave or quit.
It’s clear that securing employee happiness is no quick fix. It’s an endpoint that companies need to reach. It requires strategy and planning, and laying one plan of action down, brick by brick. Once you have those bricks in place, though, you have a rock-solid foundation for ongoing success.
Business benefits aside, having a happier, more productive workforce is something we should all be striving for.
The effects of the pandemic and the great resignation have created a lot of uncertainty for the world of work, but we should instead view this shake-up as an opportunity to refine our communication and employee engagement strategies to make our places of work more fulfilling and satisfying for our employees.
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