How to bring a smile to the workplace

Mark Astbury 28.04.2017

With today’s current economic climate, it’s vital for businesses to have employees who enjoy their time at work.

When a member of staff feels they’re a part of the team and valued within the business, productivity and profits grow. Whereas on the other side of the coin, if people feel undervalued or if they lack motivation, the company can also feel an adverse effect. With an added bonus, as you can expect, employees with a smile are less inclined to miss work and feel more engaged. This then leads to better performance, an openness to changes and a willingness to assist in making these happen.

Keeping employees smiling is not exactly an easy job though. Why? Because happiness is a feeling, which is essentially an inside job. Happiness comes from within. A lot of outside circumstances can have an effect such as friends or family matters.  However, if you can make the work environment a place of solace, you can keep those negative thoughts at bay and prevent them having an impact. It can even potentially improve life satisfaction which will lead in turn to an increase in production and will generally make it a nicer place to work for everyone in the business.

Employees who are smiling will have a strong sensation of accomplishment and satisfaction in the work they are involved in. They enjoy the environment and what they are doing and this can make them feel that what they do is meaningful and of importance. These emotions can relieve stress, which is a major factor within productivity and drive.
So how do you accomplish this as an employer? The following guidelines can be a great place to start!

Be a great employer

A great employer is one who sets clear expectations to their employees. This includes what is to be done, when it is to be done by, and how this will help after they have completed their responsibilities. You need to set clear boundaries within these expectancies, provide positive direction and demonstrate healthy leadership. This requires comprehensively explaining the rules, procedures, policies and regulations. While this technically can be accomplished by creating an employee manual, a great manager or employer will favour the “personal touch” by talking with employees in a group and one-on-one environment. Whatever the expectations are that you set, make sure they are consistent with all employees. The more issues and expectations that you clarify, the fewer problems should arise, which will lead to less confused and more productive workers.

Help employees feel that they have value

Take pride in encouraging your employees and deliver praise when appropriate. Thank them for doing a good job and let them know that you see value in them. Should something go wrong or someone makes a mistake, don’t feel inclined to punish the person. Instead, talk to them, teach the correct procedures, and offer encouragement, advice and further teaching when needed. It is wise to remember that punishing people can only make things worse in the long run, in that the employee may become angry and bitter and may want to sabotage their work to get back at the company, or potentially, look elsewhere. However, if the same errors continue after correction, then you may need to evaluate that person to make sure he or she is a good fit for the role.

As an employer, you have an excellent opportunity to make a difference in your employees’ lives. After all, in full time work anyway, you spend a lot of your time together. This may mean a smile, asking how their family is, or taking time to ask about their interests or problems. If you sense that someone is unhappy or feeling depressed, offer help to that person so that they can get the necessary resources. Employees with depression can potentially have a higher risk of being absent, increased health problems, and decreased performance. Remember that we are all humans working together through life. We all want the best results and we need to care about each other to get there.

Encourage an atmosphere that is productive

Another strong influence can be the layout of the office; room to work is important, the correct materials/supplies, and a pleasant and comfortable environment. Ensure all equipment is ergonomically designed so that it positively motivates workers by helping them with their needs to do the work.

Eco therapy is another element of a productive environment, this can include:

  1. Allow employees to personalise their work space, within reason. We all need a place to call our own.
  2. Encourage the workplace to be family friendly. Life balance is a major stressor for people. Therefore, allow workers to take time off for school events or to stay home with ill children or leave for emergencies without using sick or vacation days.

 

Keep them smiling; Keep them working

If a staff member feels that they are an important part of the business, they are more eager to go that extra distance. Therefore, be open to giving praise, set appropriate goals to the work and always take the needs of your employees’ seriously. By listening to and respecting your staff, you’ll offer them that motivational push they need to stay loyal and committed to the company’s goals. When you have a happy and productive workforce that is hungry to contribute, your company can handle any economic challenge or change.

Finally, involve people

Create guidelines that are clear and simple. Include advice and procedures for handling every situation, including family emergencies. Ask employees for their ideas too, so they feel a sense of ownership with the company.

Support employees and help them feel involved by having continual meetings where everyone can express their concerns and opinions. This has the added benefit in that the business can gain valuable information about concerns that could hurt the bottom line. Also, host special employee events where the family can be involved. The better sense of “family” you can create, the more productive people will be naturally.

You could also encourage charity work where people can donate time or money. This helps people to see the larger picture. People tend to feel better and have better lives when they feel they are giving back. It also helps demonstrate to the community that the company cares. Which once more can have a positive effect on the atmosphere and as a whole on everyone in the business.

In summary then, an employee with a smile, can never go out of style. Take some time to reflect on how you are going to make someone smile today (and see how it helps you both!).

Mark Astbury's picture
Associate Director
mastbury@morganmckinley.co.uk