At holiday time, every manager wonders how to motivate employees to continue to do their best work. As a sign of appreciation, bonuses, bottles of wine, or other perks might be given out. But do these gestures truly make people happier and more likely to be satisfied with their jobs?
Michael Civello, the director of client relationships at Plum Benefits, a New York-based company that provides entertainment access to employees, recommends a more holistic approach. He says:
“Increasing employee happiness is based on a strong foundation of effective and proactive communication and recognition along with a commitment to facilitating relationship-building across all levels and departments.”
Michael shared the following tips for boosting employee morale and having more fun at work in 2013:
Get a pulse of your employee population and the current climate by asking some key questions such as: “would you recommend working here to your friends and family? Why or why not? Do you have fun at work? Do you feel recognized?” These responses will help you outline your strongest and weakest areas within your culture.
Identify your most engaged group and ask for volunteers to provide you with feedback and activity suggestions. Passing ownership to this group of leaders will ensure that they energize those around them to participate – saving you time and resources.
No matter what steps you take to increase employee happiness, they won’t work unless you have commitment from the top. Make sure your top leaders are participating in team-building exercises, and get personal endorsements from them that encourage employees to join in the action. If you need help winning over your top executives, provide them with analysis and case studies of the top companies in your industry that have happy employees and solid business results.
Effective team-building activities not only bring employees closer together, but they are fun and drive results at the same time. Hold fun contests for groups of employees that offer let-loose rewards such as ice cream socials, bowling, or team happy hours. Set a good example by showing up at these events. If you say you are too busy, your employees will feel guilty about taking off early themselves.
I’d also add that employees will not be happy if they are crippled by too much work, if they don’t believe in the organization, or if they don’t find their individual roles meaningful. When it comes to happiness, there is no one-size-fits-all, so talk to your reports individually about what would make them want to come to the office every day.
According to a "D.I.Y. Apps in the Enterprise" report by Intuit QuickBase, another way to happier employees is empowering them to create or customize their own Web apps.