The Happiness Project: Why We Should Strive to Have Happy Employees
What’s the situation right now in Asia?
The happiest employees can be found in India and Malaysia, that is according to a Randstad Workmonitor survey, where 78% of India’s workers report that they are satisfied with their jobs, while 75% of Malaysia’s employees responding the same. Based on the study, the satisfaction of Indian employees lie on the fact that they feel challenged at their workplaces and are regularly mentored to learn new skills.
On the flip side, the survey reveals that only 12% of Hong Kong’s workers are satisfied. Likewise, the 2014 Ranstad World of Work Report which came out January of last year shows that 23% of Singapore’s workforce feels unmotivated in their jobs. Singaporeans report a mismatch in the office culture, difficult bosses and a heavy workload as reasons for their dissatisfaction.
Happiness at work? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Absolutely not! In fact, employers and managers are now realizing that satisfying the needs of their workers contributes a lot to the success of their companies. Tech giant Google even employs somebody to do just that, with the job title “Chief Culture Officer” and whose responsibility is to maintain the company’s culture and ensure that their employees are happy. According to psychotherapist and author Diane Lang, happy employees work better and smarter. They get along well with their colleagues, are less prone to absenteeism and have longer tenures. To achieve this, companies are devising ingenious ways to keep their employees satisfied. This gave to the rise of offices being turned into “fun centers” where workers are free to play games and enjoy perks such as catered dishes all throughout their work day. It’s no longer unusual to hear about companies having ”relaxation lounges” stocked with Xbox 360 andPS3 gaming consoles in their premises.
What are some simple ways to keep employees motivated and happy?
The good news is companies don’t have to resort to these creative but admittedly expensive methods to keep their employees happy (I can hear a collective sigh of relief from managers across the region). It starts with maintaining an open dialogue with the employees. Take time to hear out their thoughts and grievances about their jobs. Choose a day each week for these catch-up sessions and pay attention to their concerns.
Praises also go a long way in ensuring that employees are satisfied. These include small tokens of appreciation, even simple words of encouragement to let staff know that their hard work is recognized by the company.
Lastly, promote the concept of “work-life balance” by encouraging annual time off from work such as paid leave. Sometimes, all it takes for one stressed out employee to perform well again is some time away from work to relax and unwind. A more flexible schedule may also do wonders to your employees’ motivation for work. If it’s feasible, allow them to pick their schedules or perhaps even provide some telecommuting options so they can work from home. This is a welcome treat especially to parents who are taking care of young children.
Employees devote more or less 40 – 50 hours of their time to work each week. It is then crucial for managers and HR professionals to give them their due for the hard work they are doing each day. Let us keep our workplaces happy and our employees thriving!