Employee Happiness: Why Should We Care and How To Ask?
Updated: Aug 30, 2022
Employees are the backbone of any organization. They are the ones responsible for creating and delivering products or services to your customers. Hence, companies strive to ensure their employees feel happy and valued at work as it can directly affect the success of a business. And here’s why:
Why is employee happiness important?
Happy employees are more engaged in their work
Yes, happiness is a secret to hacking productivity and motivation in the workplace. Happy employees are found to be 13% more productive compared to when they are not. And the benefits don’t end here. Happy employees are also the employees who will provide great services to your clients, customers, and business partners. This not only affects your sales and revenue but also influences your reputation as an employer and as a business.
Happy employees are more creative
In today’s business world, being special and unique is how you stand out amongst your competitors. Hence, having employees who are creative and innovative has become an indispensable need for business survival and competitiveness. And one way to increase your employees’ creative performance is through happiness. Happy employees are found to have higher engagement in creative processes which comprises individual creativity and innovative work behaviour.
Happy employees create good culture and branding
Employees are the voice of an organization. Similar to candidate experience, employees’ working experience and their feedback towards the company are influential to your company’s reputation and employer branding. A good reputation attracts the best and top talents in the market, and contrarily a bad reputation will definitely chase away your good candidates. Hence, making sure your employees feel happy and appreciated at work is important as it not only increases their job satisfaction and loyalty but also your reputation as a good employer.
Happy employees make others happier, too
Happiness is infectious, it spreads and affects the energy of the entire team and organization. When you create a pleasant company culture, it boosts overall employee bonding and strengthens comradery among your employees.
How to ask if your employees are happy at work?
According to a Gallup study, 52% of voluntarily exiting employees mentioned that their supervisors could have done something to prevent them from leaving. But, how would supervisors or business owners know what to do when the employees didn’t voice out their difficulties and concerns? So here’s where stay conversations come in. Stay conversations are one-on-one conversations designed to learn more about the employee, including their passion, life values, career goals, etc. Effective stay conversations are two-ways exchanges that get to the heart of the individual’s needs, motivations, and engagement drivers. In other words, a stay conversation is when a leader checks in with the employees to ensure they are having a pleasant working experience that would make them want to stay in the company.
Here are some tips on how to approach your employees during stay conversations:
(Christopher Littlefield, 2022)
Set the context
First of all, you should let your employees know this is NOT a performance conversation, but instead, a casual conversation just to understand how the employees are doing and how you can better support them at work. Some questions to kick off the conversation:
How have you been feeling about work lately?
What has been the biggest challenge this month/quarter?
Is there anything I can do to better support you?
Do you feel like you are learning or growing here?
Mentally transition to the conversation
Our ability to listen and connect is largely affected by our state of mind. If you are scrambling to finish a project or rushing from another meeting, it is unlikely that you would be attentive and empathetic with your employees. Hence, when you schedule a stay conversation, make sure you have a buffer before the meeting. Additionally, you could also ask some reflective questions to help yourself transition to the conversation. For example, who is the person I am speaking with, what does it takes for them to do their job daily, and what would be the impact on me and the team if this person left the company.
Probe, and then really listen
In most cases, the act of active listening to a person’s speech helps you identify a path forward together. As your employees share their experiences and concerns, REALLY listen to them. And then probe by celebrating (or reframing) and reflecting on what’s happening. Remember that behind every frustration or complaint is a commitment. Avoid the temptation to try and provide a solution to the problem, instead, you should really listen and ask what you could do to address the issue together.
Agree on the next steps
Now you already have your employee’s feedback, in the last 10 to 15 minutes of the conversation, try to shift your discussion to the next step. If there are multiple things and you did not have sufficient time to discuss, schedule a meeting to continue the discussion. Besides, you should also do some follow-ups every few months to check how the employee is doing and whether there is anything that needs amendments or improvements. Also, remember to thank your employees for their openness and honesty during the conversation.
While this may feel like extra work that you may not have time for, remember, it’s always the small actions now that can create a large impact later.
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