Christmas present

CareerBliss, a fulfilment-focussed job search site, has just released its list of the 50 Happiest Companies to work for in 2016. The list is based on independent company reviews by employees and top of the list is UnitedHealthcare, a large health insurance provider in the US.

CareerBliss CEO Heidi Golledge said that although many employees said that financial compensation is important, “far beyond a pay cheque is the relationship employees have with their co-workers and managers and that defines a happy workplace for them.”

Nowadays, work is so integrated into people’s lives that it is important for them to be motivated and fulfilled – and feel happy and content.

People are happier when they feel they are adding value, when they feel trusted and valued and when their work has a purpose.

There is the story of a Janitor who was cleaning Cape Canaveral when the rocket was being sent to the moon. A news reporter asked him what his job was and his answer was to help people go to the moon. It just showed how purpose made his job important to him.

Every company can make simple changes that could improve the happiness and well-being of their employees this Christmas.

To create happy employees, leaders need to create a sense of purpose and vision – a sense that what people are doing in their jobs really does matters and contributes to the business.

In other words, businesses need to invest in their employees to have happier and more productive workers – it doesn’t just happen by itself.

Here are my top five tips for businesses on how to create a culture and workplace that is happy, dynamic, fun, wildly productive and profitable.

  1. Ensure employees understand the company’s vision. This is a good time of year to set next year’s goals and communicate them to staff. Ensure that employees’ individual targets are linked in some way to the overall company vision. Having a good understanding of the company’s direction and long term goals, and how their work contributes towards these goals, helps employees have a sense of purpose.
  2. Develop and progress people. People need to feel that there is scope for progression in their workplace, and that their achievements are recognised. When people are learning new skills and feel that their company are investing in their growth and development it inspires them to excel.
  3. Keep an open leadership door — and an open mind. Numerous studies have found that when managers are approachable and responsive, employee engagement soars. People spend a big chunk of their lives at work, and when they feel voiceless their frustration grows. Having an open door management policy and managers who communicate well and are accessible is essential.
  4. Pay fairly and provide good benefits. Money is a hygiene factor. It doesn’t make people happy, however, unfair pay can make people feel unhappy and demotivated. Smart leaders pay people well so they feel appreciated. Good employee benefits make people’s lives easier and better, whether it’s a good health plan, childcare, transportation, a fitness centre or free lunches on Fridays. Benefits like these make people feel appreciated and cared for, which leads to increased loyalty and a willingness to go the extra mile.
  5. Make your workplace fun. This doesn’t have to involve ‘cheesy’ team bonding days. It is more about encouraging people to bring their personalities, quirks and passions to work. This leads to an increasingly seamless work/life mesh, a sense that people can really be themselves at work. Games, laughter and fun are great stress relievers; they renew and refresh us, and build very real connections between people.
According to a Gallup poll, friendship is one of the 12 questions that is correlated to happiness and engagement in the workforce. Friendship helps people work better at work as they support and care about each other.

At the end of the day, work is a long part of our days and it needs to be fun.

By Marielena Sabatier, Executive Coach and CEO of Inspiring Potential