Top 10 tips for employee happiness

Everyone’s talking about employee happiness – so much so that it’s the keynote speech at Employee Benefits Live this year. Happiness is an elusive thing, but what practical steps can employers take to facilitate it? Here are our top ten tips.

  1. Let go of what you imagine workplace wellbeing to be, or what reward and employee benefits are about. Take it back to basics: do you really want your employees to feel good about coming to work? If so, this will be embedded in your organisational culture in lots of ways.
  2. Examine your values: what do you stand for? Is ‘employee wellbeing’ included? The wording may be different (for example, at PES, our values include ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘a fun approach’), but they should reflect how your people are treated.
  3. Leadership behaviours: do your senior people walk the talk? Employees will become disengaged by disingenuous leaders. Research has shown that the more senior you are in a company, the happier you are1. Don’t assume your junior staff feel the same way! They are always going to be paid less, so think about what else you can do to improve their experience.
  4. Line managers: are they fair, supportive and able to listen to their teams? Dame Carol Black, the former health and work tsar, says that line managers are a key driver for workplace wellbeing, provided they are trained to support their teams and understand mental health2.
  5. Communication: does the right hand know what the left is doing? If the boss says one thing and the CEO says another, people will be confused. Aim for consistency to avoid chaos.
  6. Job roles: do they play to people’s strengths, offer development opportunities and reflect the business mission? Few things kill motivation more than a dull daily routine with no overall purpose to strive for.
  7. Employee benefits: are they easy to access and understand? Think about the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’. If your benefits are offered online via a tailored, innovative platform that reflects your employer brand, employees are likely to have a better experience than if they have to fill in endless forms.
  8. Your physical environment: is it safe, pleasant and easy to get to? A long, traffic-fumed commute really adds to people’s stress levels. You can’t always help that, of course, but you can offer flexible start and finish times, and ensure that your office space has peaceful, appealing décor and restful breakout areas.
  9. Equipment and ergonomics: from comfortable desks and chairs to efficient, easy-to-use technology, do people have the tools they need to perform well? If inanimate objects frequently take the rap in your organisation, your kit may need updating.
  10. Pay and reward: can your employees look forward to salary increases? Money isn’t everything, but of course it’s an important part of your reward package so think about bonuses, incentives, commission and other forms of recognition. Seen in the context of these other things, employee benefits become more than just reward. They form part of a wider strategy to improve the employee experience on every level.

At PES, we believe firmly that happy people mean happy business. Ask us how we can help you achieve this.

1 Office Genie: Workplace Happiness Report, 2017