How to Help Your Employees Feel Happier at Work

Office Conversation

Leading someone to do what you want them to do and getting them to actually enjoy doing it isn’t easy. I’ve always been a hard person to lead. I like to do things my way. A lot of people like to do things their way or at least feel like it.

Are you difficult to lead as well?

Most people are.

This is the key to leading your people.

Happiness

Happiness is based on perception. Some employees love complete autonomy while others prefer a more structured day. You need to help them create the type of workday that makes them happy, productive and delivering great results.

It’s how they perceive their ability to make choices that truly matter to them. If they have control over the kind of projects that they like to work on for a large portion of their day they will be happy. They need have the freedom to execute their ideas. It’s giving them the space to grow and expand.

When people own their choices they feel responsible to deliver on their promises. As a leader in your organization, think about who you enjoy delivering great work to, it could be a co-worker, boss, or customer. Why do you think you work harder to deliver these results for them? You’ll understand the importance of emotions in your workday as well as your people’s emotions.

My Mistakes

A few years ago I was assigned to lead to an event that my company was hosting. I had to bring in speakers (inside and outside the organization), set up the conference room in a hotel, create a program, gather materials, promote conference and the list went on.

I was blindly assigning people to jobs without asking for their input. After terrible results in the first few weeks I stopped to take a breather. I gathered everyone for a meeting and I listened to feedback. Their feedback shocked me. I had a lot of improvement to make as a leader.

True Leadership

So you want an atmosphere that encourages great work? Don’t we all. Most bosses and managers talk a good game, but they don’t create a plan to make it happen.

Almost every CEO I worked for always talked about the importance of their people, but their actions did not coincide with their words. They were always more worried about their own issues.

I know how important it is to make money, improve profit margins, keep stock holders happy, but if the employees aren’t happy then the bottom line will suffer.

Ownership

Let people create their own plan, improving their ability to understand the choices they do have (perceived freedom) and execute on their ideas then encourage them to improve their mistakes. The problem lies in helping them execute so they have the best chance at success.

As a leader of people you need to remove obstacles and encourage happiness in every facet of your business. I’ve created 10 techniques that will help your company be happy and successful.

  1. Be happy yourself.
  2. Know your people.
  3. Make time for your people.
  4. Create more autonomy.
  5. Help them find meaning in their work.
  6. Stop letting jerks dictate the company culture.
  7. Encourage friendships.
  8. Recognize hard work.
  9. Let people know that they have options.
  10. Find out why people leave.

These are concepts that are easy to understand, but may be hard to apply to your company’s culture. Let’s start with little baby steps.

Once you’ve been able to bring a little more happiness into your own life and career, which isn’t easy, but should be daily exercise. You can move on to making your employees happy.

The best way to do this is the 4-step employee happiness process:

  1. Ask them, on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 being you would rather lose a foot than continue working here and 10 being happier than a baby giggling) how happy are you?
  2. Ask them, how can I make you happier? (What projects are you struggling with and what projects would you like to do more of? Let’s say they say on the scale of happiness they are a 4 then I like you to say how can I help you get to a 5 or 6. Make it feel attainable and meet their expectations.)
  3. Listen to their responses and be honest about where you could probably help them and where it might not be possible at this time.
  4. Ask them if they can create a plan with 2 projects that they would like to work on (no more than 500 words) that would help them feel happier as well as help the company improve. Give them a date of when you would like the plan buy. Make sure they give you a step-by-step of how they would implement the projects (timeframe, resources, and breakdown of tasks) and what they think the results would be after the project is complete.

That’s it.

You will have to review the plan, pick the best project (give them guidelines to create a better project for them and the company), but if they did their due diligence your job is just to review plan, make mutual adjustments, and have them implement their idea.

The best part is it’s a win-win. You have happier employees and you get better results.

What is one great idea you’ve seen from your boss that helped you feel happier at work?