The last few years have been challenging for us all. From adjusting to life during a pandemic, to transitioning to the new ‘normal,’ and enduring rising inflation levels, among many others.
It’s safe to say that, right now, happiness levels may not be as high as they have been in the past, and while an individual’s contentment is the sum of many parts, there is much that employers can do to nurture their team members — especially given that we spend one third of our lives at work.
Evolve as your people’s needs do
One of the essentials for enhancing employee happiness, is to not only recognise, but embrace the fact that the world of work has changed.
The shift to remote working amid the pandemic means people now seek a better balance and more flexibility in their roles. Research by Remote, for example, has found that companies with hybrid or flexible work models have had the lowest overall turnover rates since 2019.
Flexible working can mean different things to different people, which makes consulting with employees on an individual level a must, and implementing company-wide policies is also key here.
This may mean having dedicated at home days, as well as in-office days to bring teams together, meanwhile enabling parents to leave work early for the school pick up, and allowing those who are most productive in the afternoons or evenings to start their days a little later, are ways employers can support their people on a more personalised level.
Rethink your values to ensure alignment
More and more employees now seek out employers who share their values — in fact, the Qualtrics Employee Experience Trends 2023 report found that employees are 27% more likely to have higher engagement levels when they work for a business that they feel aligned with in this way.
They want to leverage their skills to do good in the world and serve a higher purpose, which makes establishing and implementing policies that speak to matters such as sustainability and DE&I essential.
For us at Sledge, a flat level structure is also key here, as it allows for the open sharing of ideas and passion points, which then flow into our internal strategies, as well as who we choose to work with.
Consider an ongoing recognition and reward scheme
While annual awards can be great for employee morale, it’s important to remind team members how much they are valued ongoing.
This can be achieved in less overt ways, such as by hosting team days out that combine their professions with an element of fun, changing up working environments during ‘in-office’ days, recognising them for day-to-day wins and achievements, and establishing initiatives that put them in control.
We, for example, have an ‘Experience Fund,’ which is a kitty of money that team members can put towards events and experiences that excite them each month. This approach enables them to get out and about, gain fresh inspiration that they can apply to their work, and in doing so, keeps our people feeling refreshed and energised about their roles and the business as a whole.
The pros of an employee-first approach
While I’ve only touched the surface here, happy people are essential to business success. Not only are they more open and willing to, as well as passionate about contributing to the company’s culture, they can produce higher tenure rates, and greater levels of productivity.
There are many ways that companies can help their people achieve a more fulfilled state of mind, however whatever you choose to implement, it’s important to avoid a ‘set and forget’ approach, and instead regularly consult with team members, and evolve key initiatives and processes ongoing.
Featured image: Godisable Jacob / Pexels