7 Ways to Create a Happy Workplace & Boost Employee Retention

The best businesses know that building or sustaining a successful company relies on the shaping and development of a great team. As the saying goes: a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. After investing time and energy recruiting and hiring the best employees, it’s vital to ensure they stay with you for as long as possible.

23 years after publishing the first 100 Best Companies to Work Forfortune.com know three things to be true:

  1. Inclusion has become the gold standard for employee-centric companies
  2. The bar rises every year
  3. No, workplace happiness is not a myth

In the UK today, workers will change employers on average every 5 years according to LV, and Monster Jobs say the average staff turnover rate in the UK is 15%. But changes in staff shouldn’t always be regarded as a negative thing – the goal is to have the best people stick around, and underperformers move on.

The key is to decide how to incentivise employees to stay. Some employers rely on pay rises or promotions, but does this keep people for the right reasons? Once the initial motivation from the pay rise or promotion subsides, you may be left with an employee who is still unhappy, and an unhappy team = an unproductive team. This method of ‘retaining’ staff is clearly not always an effective way to tackle the problem of maintaining happy staff.

An alternative approach is to try to lengthen the tenure of your best employees. According to Evergreen Business Weekly, “these top performers contribute more and more value the longer they are working there, so extending that duration can produce more, and delay the inevitable costs of turnover”.

So, how do we go about creating a happy work environment that will not only produce high quality work, but will maximise the time that staff are employed at your company? Here are our 7 quick ways to create a happy work environment & boost employee engagement in 2020:

  1. Host team building events

Despite its reputation for being, well, old hat, team building could be the most important investment you make for your staff. It builds trust, alleviates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration.

Investing time and effort into making your workplace a fun and engaging environment has not only a positive impact on happiness but staff productivity and attendance.

According to CIPHR, UK businesses lose 6.9 days a year per employee because of absenteeism, at an estimated cost of £554 per employee. Nearly a quarter (23%) of UK organisations say ‘non-genuine absence’ is the top reason for short-term absence for non-manual workers, with this proportion rising to 30% for manual workers.

By making your workplace an enjoyable and collaborative place to be by organising regular team events throughout the year you are concreting the teams’ relationships and, in the long run, their investment in your company.

  1. The power of hello

Did you know that a simple “Hello” can garner respect and give its recipient a confidence boost that will last the entire day? By greeting your staff with a dedicated “hello, how are you?” every morning, you are not only telling them that they are important but that they are deserving of your time.

Make it your aim to walk around the office once a day and check in with people. Ask how their weekends were, what they have planned for their holiday or how they found a recent seminar that they attended.

Read our article Connect Don’t Disconnect to learn about the power of building strong relationships with your colleagues.

  1. Credit where credit’s due

Did you know that the N°. 1 reason for people leaving their jobs is that they feel undervalued? Don’t wait for the annual review to praise someone for an achievement, tell them in the moment. Whether it’s a shout-out in your team meeting or a bottle of champagne and a tray of cupcakes on Friday afternoon, show credit where credit’s due and let your staff know that you think they are great!

  1. Think of the bigger picture

Everyone wants to feel fulfilled at work and one of the best ways to do this is to talk about the big picture with your staff. By explaining the overall mission of the company and how each department within the company is working to deliver key goals towards that overall mission, individuals and teams will feel a sense of team spirit, of working towards a united goal.

Perhaps have key milestones on the wall to showcase where you are and how far you’ve come along the journey. But most importantly, remember to reward staff for their efforts at each integral stage to keep them motivated and a part of the team.

  1. Make work / life balance a priority

Sweden’s flexible approach to working hours is one of the reasons it was ranked best in the world for work-life balance in a recent HSBC survey. Only about 1.1% of the nation’s employees work very long hours, the second lowest among 38 countries.

According to the statistics, 90% of the highest performing companies use incentives and rewards to retain and encourage employees and 80% of employees prefer strong incentives over a bigger salary.

Make it known that work / life balance is a priority in your company by offering work-from-home Fridays, for example, a certain number of guilt-free ‘stay at home with sick children days’, or discounts at local health and wellness programs, or additional childcare options. Offering incentives that improve a team member’s overall quality of life show that you care about their wellbeing and understand that they have a life outside of work.

  1. Promote wellbeing

Wellbeing has become integrated into people’s daily lives and working professionals are now expecting their employers to provide wellness practices in the workplace. Whether through food, physical exercise or mindfulness tactics, incentivising wellness is a brilliant idea.

Creating a culture of wellness can be simple, with ideas such as:

Showing your team you want them to live happy, healthy lifestyles is another way of showing them how important they are to your company.

  1. Avoid Micromanaging

It’s safe to say that no one likes to be micromanaged and, in a world where working flexibility is being promoted, there is a certain level of trust that needs to be established between staff and managers. Managers give trust by setting boundaries and clearly explaining their expectations and employees respect those boundaries and expectations by delivering a high standard of work in a timely manner.

Try letting a team member lead the next marketing meeting and give team members the go-ahead to make executive decisions when you aren’t around.

So, in conclusion, happy employees are more creative, innovative and dedicated than their unhappy counterparts AND, they’re more likely to stick around in the long-term. A simple “Thank You” can go a long way. Don’t wait until the end of their employment cycle to show your team just how valued and important they are. Celebrate and commiserate important life moments with them; the birth of a child, a new home, passing an important exam, the death of a loved one. Show your team you care with a Collection Pot – the simplest way to collect online donations for your employees!

Don’t miss our next article coming soon about “Agile Working” and how that could work for your business.

Elaine Keep

Elaine Keep is an accomplished content writer with over 15 years of experience in the field of marketing and content creation for many leading brands, where she shares her passion for research and helping others through her articles. You can also find her in 'mum mode', walking in the countryside or enjoying the dreamy combo of a new non-fiction book with a tea and chocolate bar to hand.

Like what you read? Share with a friend