Workplace Leadership: How to Inspire Your Employees

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It’s long been said that happy employees are better employees. But is this really true? Multiple studies suggest the answer is a resounding “yes.”

One 700-person experiment conducted in Britain in 2015 found concrete evidence supporting this theory.

Researchers with the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy chose individuals at random and showed them a 10-minute comedy clip or provided them with snacks and drinks. Through a series of follow-up questions, the researchers determined if the “happiness shocks” did, in fact, make the subjects happy. When it was determined that the subjects were happier, they were then given tasks to measure productivity levels. 

The experiment revealed that productivity increased by an average of 12 percent and reached as high as 20 percent in the control group. 

Dr. Daniel Sgroi, author of the report, noted that “rises of 3 percent or so are considered very large” when it comes to GDP and economic growth.

By the same token, “real-world shocks,” such as grief and family illness, also impacted workers. Research showed that lower happiness is systematically associated with lower productivity which can linger for approximately two years. 

Joy = Productivity

In the big picture, investing in your employees and finding ways to keep them happy is no laughing matter.

In the Social Market Foundation report, Sgroi stated, “If happiness in a workplace carries with it a return in productivity, then managers and human resources specialists may wish to implement their own ‘happiness shocks’ to help maintain productivity in the context of a highly competitive economic climate in the private sector, and spending cuts in the public sector.”

So what’s a company to do?

In today’s ever-changing corporate environment, employer demands and employee expectations are constantly shifting. No one can deny that the workplace has changed exponentially in a myriad of ways over the years. It’s safe to say that what millennials are looking for professionally isn’t necessarily what baby boomers once sought.

One thing is for certain: Companies which take their employees’ overall satisfaction seriously tend to be rewarded with higher productivity levels.

We talked to a couple experts for a few tips on how to connect with your employees in ways that make them feel valued, respected and vital to your company’s long-term success. 

Kate’s Takeaways

Kate McEnroe, owner of Chicago-based Kate McEnroe consulting, has worked on both sides of the table. She has managed people as well as helped companies expand and relocate their operations. As a seasoned location consultant, she is also known for her interest and experience in workforce development issues. She frequently holds workforce development workshops and speaks at conferences on workforce-related issues.

  • “Be as fair as possible, and make tough decisions. Give strong performers promotions, give promising performers opportunities, but don’t hesitate to make a hard call when it is time to let someone go, or you will kill the motivation of the rest of the team to succeed.”
  • “Don’t just manage people; advocate for them.”
  • “Manage your own time and expectations well so that you don’t create avoidable crises and emergencies that employees must deal with.”
  • “When possible, choose company locations that minimize unpredictable commutes and are isolated from amenities.”
David’s Takeaways

Assisting companies and employees in an area that boasts 2.7 million residents and a workforce of 1.4 million, the Workforce Solutions North Central Texas team is privy to a unique perspective on the dynamic labor picture in North Texas. An integral part of the Lone Star State’s workforce development system, Workforce Solutions North Central Texas covers 14 counties: Collin, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell and Wise. 

David Setzer is executive director for Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas, which not only helps businesses recruit, hire, develop and retain employees, but also assists job-seekers through a variety of tools, information and resources.

  • “Constantly ask your employees for feedback, what's working and what's not. If you want to maintain a culture of happiness, you have to keep your finger on the pulse.”
  • “Employees thrive in entrepreneurial settings, which make them feel like they're invested in the company.”
  • “It’s important to make sure managers and supervisors are people-oriented, not process-oriented.”

A Win-Win for All

There are any number of ways for businesses to invest in their employees’ long-term job satisfaction.

Perks ranging from creative workspaces, flexible schedules, and workout facilities to bonuses such as stocking break rooms with food, offering on-site childcare, and celebrating work anniversaries can make a significant difference in a company’s overall level of productivity. From simple benefits to lavish awards, the key is finding what works best for your employees.

Consider these little nuggets of insight from SnackNation:

  • 67 percent of full-time employees with access to free food at work are “extremely” or “very happy” at their current job
  • Employees who report being happy at work take 10x fewer sick days than unhappy employees
  • Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20percent

The bottom line is that happy employees are good for your company’s bottom line. Invest wisely.

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