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Turn That Frown Upside Down: Top Tips For Happier Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your Employees Article | Turn That Frown Upside Down: Top Tips For Happier Employees

While there are many different ways you can set out to future-proof your business, maintaining employee satisfaction is one of them. This is because employees serve as the ‘face’ of your company, interacting with your clients day in, day out. This means that they are responsible for how others perceive your brand. Furthemore, studies suggest that when we are happier – we are often more productive. This means that by focusing on employee wellbeing, you can also improve your workplace efficiency – which is another step towards success.

That being said, employee satisfaction can be difficult to monitor from an employer’s perspective. This is because while employees may voice their dissatisfaction with their peers – they are likely to do so directly to their boss through fear of being reprimanded. However, this does not mean that their happiness should not be a priority – especially if you are relying on them to help kickstart your entrepreneurial ambitions.

With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to guarantee employee happiness in the workplace.

  • Delegate work fairly. One of the biggest complaints that many employees have within the workplace is being overworked and under-compensated. As a result, you should strive to ensure that the amount of work they are tasked with each week is fair and reasonable. You can do this by making the most of the services available to you and your company that can take some of the responsibility off your shoulders. For example, if your company does a lot of deliveries – looking into additional trucking services means that your drivers only have to make one stop instead of 5-6, lightening their workload significantly.
  • Put together a workplace wellbeing program. There are many different reasons why your employees may be unhappy at work – some of which even relate to their personal lives. This is due to the fact that it is sometimes impossible to stop your mood from impacting your work. However, you can combat these issues by placing a real emphasis on wellbeing in the workplace. For example, you could offer support to your staff by providing them with free access to therapy or counselling services. Alternatively, you can promote good workplace wellbeing by encouraging them to reach out for support as and when they need it – whether they want to reduce their hours or take time off.
  • Be responsive to complaints. If you want to create a better workplace for your employees, you need to figure out what you are doing wrong in the first place. The easiest way to do this is to ask. However, as mentioned previously, they might feel reluctant to speak up directly to you. Thankfully, there are various ways in which you can combat this. For example, you could set up an anonymous feedback submission box. Alternatively, you could ask them to elect a member of staff to take on their complaints and discuss them with you privately and anonymously. However, while taking these steps show your employees that you truly care about them – listening is not enough. You then need to make actionable change that shows you have taken on their feedback,

5 Ways to Effectively Motivate Your Team as a Manager

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 5 Ways to Effectively Motivate Your Team as a ManagerHiring capable candidates that are a good fit for your organization is just the first step of building a happy and motivated workforce. If you fail to take steps to ensure that your employees are content in your organization, you risk having demoralized and inefficient staff. In addition, when team members are unhappy with management, they are far more likely to leave a company. In this case, you will lose stellar employees and increase expenditure.

Many businesses attempt to motivate their employees through money and other benefits. While these are undoubtedly effective, studies suggest that these are not always the most critical factors. Peer motivation and recognition are often more important aspects of a workplace when it comes to motivating staff. With this in mind, here are some management tactics you can implement to keep your team loyal and motivated.

Make the Workplace Somewhere People Enjoy Being

Unsurprisingly, not many people relish the thought of being stuck in dingy and dull office spaces while they work. Consequently, as a manager, you should take steps to make your workspace a visually enticing and aesthetically pleasing area.

One of the easiest ways to make an office a more pleasant place is to focus on the lighting. You should take the time to ensure that the spaces are well-lit. A poorly illuminated environment can quickly become mentally taxing for employees, reducing productivity and contributing to dissatisfaction in the workplace.

You don’t need to spend a fortune when revitalizing your office. Consider finding interesting art and furniture on local sales pages or in thrift stores. Regardless of what you decide to purchase, bringing a degree of character into workspaces will help to ensure that your employees are stimulated and happy when they are at work.

Support Your Team

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often managers forget this fundamental aspect of their jobs. Bad management is one of the primary factors contributing to staff turnover, so if your staff do not feel respected, listened to or supported, expect them to not stick around for long.

There are some fundamental aspects of managing a team that you should not overlook. For example, promoting honesty, support and communication in your organization is essential. However, if you are newer to management, you might be wondering where to begin when it comes to motivating your team. Consider reading up on the subject. Like any other skill, effective management takes time and knowledge to master, so reading material related to management could help you hone your management style.

Embrace Agile Principles

The agile manifesto helps to improve focus and motivation within your organization by focusing on continual improvement based on feedback. Additionally, it stresses the importance of technology as a tool to enable cross-team collaboration to create a workplace where teamwork and interaction between individuals are priorities.

Therefore, it is relatively clear how agile business management principles can help make your workplace where employees want to be. These principles are particularly suited to software development companies, but they can be applied across various industries. In fact, the majority of Fortune 500 companies utilize agile principles in their day-to-day operations. Therefore, if you want to create a happy and motivating environment, it is an excellent idea to promote engagement and collaboration using these. For more information about these agile principles and how they can help your company, check out Easy Agile.

Recognize Achievements

Often, all your staff expect from their employer is to be recognized and celebrated when they do their job well. As a result, you should not hesitate to offer honest praise to your team members when you notice them going above and beyond. For example, when employees put a lot of time and effort into completing a project, or you see them helping their co-workers, let them know that you appreciate it.

While this might seem like a minor thing, it can make a world of difference to your staff. The principle of recognizing efforts makes people feel more appreciated in the workplace and will compel them to continue to deliver maximum effort while performing their jobs. This is well documented, as employees whose hard work is regularly praised report that they enjoy their jobs more than those who are not.

Ultimately, this is one of the most effective ways of motivating staff. It helps individuals feel more connected with and loyal to a company, which will boost their performance while at work. Keeping your team happy and invested in the company is essential to avoid losing valuable team members. Losing employees can damage morale, reduce efficiency and lead to significant expenditure, so you should avoid it at all costs. Thankfully, simply recognizing their efforts is one of the most effective ways of developing a happy workforce.

Be Flexible in Your Scheduling

The ways of working have changed a lot over recent years thanks to technology. This was never as clear as during the Covid-19 pandemic, when many office workers were forced to work from home to prevent viral transmission. Restrictions on working from shared spaces provided many valuable lessons for both employers and employees. One of the most significant takeaways was that working doesn’t need to fit into a regimented nine to five schedule.

With modern communication and remote working solutions, it is possible to pick up and finish work when convenient. For many, this has been a massive boon for their work/life balance, as it allows them to fit their working hours into their busy schedules. Therefore, flexible working arrangements can be an excellent way to motivate employees and entice them to stay at your organization. So, whether you offer opportunities to work from home or schedule the working week on a flexi-time basis, a flexible approach is often the best one.

The Takeaway

Motivated and happy employees are a cornerstone of any successful business. Therefore, your management style should incorporate tactics to ensure that your team members enjoy coming to work and feel like they are a valued part of the business. This can be facilitated by following the tips outlined above. Additionally, take care to regularly hone your management skills to ensure that you are constantly improving your methods of motivating your team.

How You Can Boost Productivity Within Your Small Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Productivity| How You Can Boost Productivity Within Your Small BusinessWhen you’re the owner of a small business, it can often seem like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Unanswered emails, unfinished tasks, rising stress levels, and a to-do list as long as your arm are all fairly common, and can often leave you feeling overwhelmed. You can relax, though, because we’ve come up with five great ways to boost productivity in your small business.

Utilize Organizational Tools

To stay on top of daily, weekly, and even monthly tasks, the best thing to do is to utilize some of the great online tools available for businesses. Asana is a brilliant work management app that allows you to organize and plan your workflow more easily; tasks can be scheduled either for yourself or for other team members, and there’s also a great built-in messaging feature which can easily replace traditional emails. Microsoft Teams is fantastic for coordinating staff messages and arranging meetings, and also includes a handy conference call element.

Choose Business Coaching

There’s nothing more helpful when you’re struggling than receiving motivation and tips from someone with more experience and knowledge. INFIX are a team of consultants who provide small businesses with coaching packages on how to grow your company, via one-to-one online video sessions. Covering everything from strategy and goal-setting to growth and pricing, they’re a one-stop shop for anyone who has hit a stumbling block within their business.

Motivate Your Employees

One of the secrets to a successful small business is happy employees; it’s proven that motivated and upbeat staff provide better results, so it pays to take this into consideration. Setting reasonable working hours, providing fair pay and being supportive are all great ways to stay on top of staff morale – and remembering to give credit and encouragement is also key. Another great tip is to seriously consider flexible working requests; parents and guardians often require time off at short notice, and being understanding in these situations is beneficial.

Delegate Tasks

As the owner of a small business, it can often be tempting to try and manage all of the most important tasks yourself – but this is often a one way road to unfinished work and dissatisfied customers. Many employees will be keen to progress within the business, take on more hours or further their career, so increasing their workload can be beneficial to everyone concerned. Giving employees more autonomy and responsibility isn’t only helpful to you – it can also make them far more productive.

Pick the Right Foods

Eating the wrong foods at work can put you on a fast track to flat energy levels, sluggish thinking and low motivation, so ensure you fill your body with the good stuff throughout the day. If you’re super busy finding time for lunch can be tricky, so make sure what you do eat is packed with nutrients; avocados, quinoa and chia seeds are all superfoods which stick with you, and can easily be mixed into a quick and tasty salad. Keeping healthy snacks on hand is also a great tip (and one your staff will thank you for!); nuts and seeds, dried fruit and even the humble banana are all great for keeping hunger at bay throughout the day.

6 Ways to Increase Your Team’s Productivity

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 6 Ways to Increase Your Team’s ProductivityLeading a team isn’t simple, no matter the size. Whether you’re in charge of a team of five or a team of 500, there are obstacles you must overcome. Your goal is efficient, hard-working staff that boost the business’ quality and increase profits. To do this, you must be a leader who promotes productivity, and here are six ways you can do that.

1. Communicate Effectively 

A crucial part of leadership is having excellent communication skills. Without them, you run the risk of miscommunication that will lead to errors, frustration, and loss of morale. Provide your staff with constructive feedback, a clearly defined task list, and have an open-door policy. This way, your team will know they can rely on you to be honest and give help where it is needed, which will boost productivity.

2. A Comfortable Environment

Assuming that you and your team work the standard 40-hour week, you are spending a third of your time in the workplace. By creating a bright, comfortable environment, you will cultivate a productive team that enjoys being at work. Add plants, install wide windows, and have an area where your team can hang out and discuss. You could even provide auto sliding doors that use sensors to open, providing your workplace with a brightened, automatic entrance.

3. Give Praise 

Acknowledging a job well done will boost a worker’s productivity. If your team is constantly hearing about where they’ve made errors, they will begin doubting themselves and it will show up in their work. By providing positive feedback, they will feel valued and have pride in their work, and they will carry on doing a great job.

4. Use Incentives 

People work best when they have a goal and a reward. Provide that reward by bringing incentives into the workplace, and you will see a definite uptick in hard work. In study findings written by Harold Stolovich, they found that incentive programs engaged participants, attracted quality employees, and that the employees valued the incentive programs. Some rewards you could employ include lunches out, coupons, and bonuses.

5. Understand Their Strengths

Each team member is an individual with their own strengths and weaknesses. You cannot expect one employee to work in the exact same way as another, so get to know your team and their strengths so that you can take advantage of them. It will benefit both you and the employees, as you get their best work while they are able to enjoy hitting their goals easily.

6. Leave Them to Their Work

Micro-managing results in a quick descent into unhappy employees. You hired them for a reason, so you should trust that they have the business’ best interest at heart and will do a fantastic job each day. Have confidence in your team by showing them freedom in their work and they will show you their appreciation through productivity. Their sense of responsibility will let them shine while allowing you to focus on other areas of the business.

9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can EnjoyIn theory, organizing team building activities is a perfect way to get your team to get to know each other outside the office and form a stronger bond within the office as a result. However, finding the right activity for everyone if you are running a company that has multiple departments can be a real challenge.If your workforce is very diverse, there’s a good chance that preferences are going to vary – especially if you have a workforce in which there are employees who are not all the same relative age. This is why you need to find a way to celebrate these differences by choose activities everyone feels comfortable participating in.

Here’s a list of fun team building exercises everyone can participate in and enjoy.

Scavenger Hunt

Purpose: Teamwork

A scavenger hunt is a classic team collaboration game. The rules are easy:

Split your team into equal sized groups and send them out with a list of fun things to find. You can choose whether you want to do this in the office or outside the office. Set a time limit for all groups and put together some fun clues or even riddles that will force your teams to get creative and use not just their eyes but their brains as well! Whichever team comes back with the most items once time has run out is the winner.

Minefield

Purpose: Communication and problem solving

For this indoor game, you will need an empty room or hallway and a bunch of random office items. You can use office chairs, paper, boxes, anything you have around the office that isn’t too delicate or expensive to create obstacles in the empty space or “minefield.” Divide teams into pairs in which one of them must be blindfolded.

The other one must guide that person from start to finish without setting off any mines. That means they cannot step on any obstacles or venture outside the given boundaries. Their only guidance is the voice of their partner. You can change the number of pairs and obstacles depending on how difficult you want this game to be.

Three Truths and a Lie

Purpose: Getting to know each other

This is a really easy game. Before starting, give each team member four slips of paper where each of them can secretly write down three truths and one lie about themselves. It’s very important that the lie is believable. Instruct them not to reveal to anyone what they wrote down!

Then allow 15 minutes for conversation between the team members. This is the time when everyone should go around the room and talk about their written talking points in random order. The goal here is to convince others that your lie is a truth while you try to guess other people’s lies by asking them different questions. Remember- you should not reveal your truths or lies to other team members, even if everyone else has already guessed everything!

Say My Name

Purpose: Breaking stereotypes

Everyone should write down names (e.g. someone famous) or types of people (e.g. professor, doctor, wealthy, athletic) on name tags. Then put those tags on each team member’s back or forehead so they cannot see who they are but everyone else can.

Give people a few minutes to talk to each other and ask questions. The point is to treat everyone according to stereotypes related to the name on their tag. After each team member figures out who they are, they should exit the game and leave the rest of the people to continue playing. This game allows your employees to have fun and engage in conversation while confronting stereotypes at the same time.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy
Office Trivia

Purpose: Bonding

This is one of the easiest team building games to put together! All you have to do is come up with a series of questions about your office and then test your team’s knowledge. You can ask a variety of questions such as: “What brand of computer does a certain employee use?” “How many people are in the finance department” or “How many windows are there in the office?” or “Who takes their coffee with cream and sugar?”

Besides bonding people through conversation, this fun and easy team building activity is great for testing how observant people are and how much they know about their office, company and colleagues.

Community Service

Purpose: Enhance teamwork and collaboration

Find an activity that reflects your company values, get out of the office for a day and do something good for your community. This team building activity is not only excellent for getting your employees together and bonding through something that’s incredible positive, it’s also great for the overall image of your company in terms of local marketing.

When businesses go out into their communities and help people in need, the members of the community take notice and reward those businesses with loyalty.

Mural Painting

Purpose: Enhancing creativity

For this fun and creative team building activity you will need paint, brushes and something to paint on. It can be a canvas or a wall of your building/office. The point is to give each member of the team complete freedom to paint whatever they want. Give them a general theme and then let everyone create their own colorful masterpieces.

If you are giving an individual canvas to each employee, put them together and display them in your office as a mural once they are dry. Some people might refuse to paint at first because they don’t think they are talented, so make sure you explain to everyone that this is not a contest. This game’s purpose is to show that everyone has a creative side once they overcome their fears of showing it.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy
Make Your Logo

Purpose: Problem solving

Start by asking everyone to empty their pockets, purses and wallets and gather all the coins you can find and then place the coins on a table in front of you. Each team member should create their own logo for the company or team using the coins in front of them in one minute.

You may also use pens, notebooks, paper and anything you else you have around the office to create the logo. The logo can represent the team members individually or you can work together to create a logo for the department or even the entire organization. It’s a fun and creative game that encourages resourcefulness.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Purpose: Communication skills

For this team building activity, you will need a small piece of paper for each employee and a list of well-known “couples” such as peanut butter and jelly, Romeo and Juliet, salt and pepper, and so on. Each team member should wear the name of one half of each pair on their backs.

Have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their backs while only asking each other “Yes or No” questions. Once they figure out their word, they have to find the other half of their pair. As they find each other, have them sit down while the rest of the team continues until everyone has connected with their pair.


About the Author

Tamara Luzajic is a web content writer and editor, currently working as a copywriter at Humanity, employee scheduling and workforce management software.