The Secret to Happy Employees

Author

Shep Hyken, Contributor

April 5, 2015

Which industry do you think has the happier employees, construction or entertainment?

Even though there are no jokes that end with the punch line, “What? And give up brick laying?” according to the 2015 TINYpulse industry rankings for employee engagement and satisfaction, the most satisfied employees work in construction and facilities services. The media and entertainment sector is slotted at number seven and manufacturing ends the list at number 12.

So why are the folks who build things and maintain facilities more engaged and satisfied by their jobs than the people in show business? When they asked people this question they found a variety of reasons, but the top three reasons really stood out from the rest. Here’s what they said:

  • – I work with great people, 34 percent.
  • – I’m excited about my work and projects, 19 percent.
  • – I enjoy a positive work environment, 10 percent.

If you have a grumpy team, the results of this survey seem to indicate that an across-the-board pay hike won’t reward you with an immediate attitude adjustment. This is critical because not only does it impact the atmosphere in your workplace, your ability to deliver a world-class customer experience is tied directly to the level of employee loyalty and enthusiasm that your company is able to create.

Let’s make a couple of general observations about these three qualities. The fact that coworkers are by far the single most important attribute in a good work environment is testimony to the fact that we are hardwired to be social creatures. If you like the people you work with, it makes it much easier to handle difficult work situations. This magnifies how important it is to assemble a team of individuals who “work and play well with one another.”

The next two items on this list seem somewhat related. I believe an important hallmark of a “positive” work environment is giving employees tasks and projects that keep them excited. This demonstrates that your company is moving forward. When an employee has nothing more challenging than the exact tasks performed on all the previous days, it doesn’t usually create a positive work environment and could be an indication of the company’s poor managerial health.

But I’m Not in the Construction Business! What Should I do?

Management’s responsibility for creating cohesive and enthusiastic teams may start with recruitment and hiring, but it doesn’t stop there. Examine your company and try to find something I refer to “serious” FUN. When I use the word FUN, I’m not referring to a party-like atmosphere. I use it as an acronym. See if you are creating a positive environment by supporting your employees’:

  • – Fulfillment,
  • – Uniqueness, and the
  • – Next professional challenge.

We often talk about the “workforce” but we need to recognize that this group is comprised of individuals who have unique talents and needs. Failing to recognize that will send a company down a path that leads to a less-than-ideal work environment.

Examine how employees on your team are fulfilled. Is there anything beyond a paycheck? The late Zig Ziglar told a famous story about two 20-year veterans of a railroad meeting up one day. Jim Murphy happened to be the president of the railroad. Dave Anderson was a laborer. They chatted like old friends.

When a co-worker asked Dave how he knew the president, Dave explained that they started to work together on the same day. Then the co-worker asked how Mr. Murphy got to be president while Dave was still toiling in the hot sun.

“Some 20 years ago, Jim Murphy went to work for the railroad. I went to work for a dollar and seventy-five cents an hour,” Dave explained

Do your employees work for just a paycheck or do they work for the company? By recognizing the unique needs of your employees you can create a workplace that offers fulfillment that far exceeds the wages you pay. Being able to provide your employees with their next professional challenge plays a major role in this.

Your employees need to know that your workplace is one where they can grow professionally. This way they are always anticipating what may come next. By varying degrees people are optimistic and you grow that optimism when your employees know that your organization is one that is committed to providing avenues of growth.

How many bartenders around the country have listened to patrons complain endlessly about being stuck in “dead end” jobs? When you create a workplace where serious FUN defines the environment, you’ve found the cure for that problem.

Even better, you’re well on your way to creating an amazing experience for your customers by creating an amazing workplace for your employees.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and New York Times bestselling author. Find more information at www.Hyken.com.

This article was written by Shep Hyken from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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