7 Steps a Manager Can Take to Increase Worker Happiness
Managers hold a great deal of influence over their team members. Regardless of the size of the team, every manager has the ability to create a positive or negative atmosphere within the workplace. But implementing a positive work environment is more than just offering a passing smile or sending out funny emails: it’s about keeping your employees engaged and enthusiastic about their work on a regular basis. When workers are trusted to take the lead and encouraged to go above expectations, the result is usually a happy workplace.
No two workplaces are the same, but let’s look at some practices managers can implement to help foster an enjoyable workplace full of happy employees.
In the hustle and bustle of the workday, managers can sometimes forget to inform the team of their goals for a project or task. When team members aren’t fully aware of their roles and expectations, it’s easy for them to get off track, which will likely lead to poor, incomplete or irrelevant work. As such, managers need to walk the fine line of guidance without micromanaging, and clearly set and monitor a project’s goals and progress. A good way to do this is with daily departmental standup meetings. A standup meeting is exactly what it sounds like: team members stand in a circle at the start of every day and go over what they plan to achieve for their shifts. Standups allow you to monitor the team’s progress and give you a chance to intervene if they veer off course. And the fact that they’re standing encourages workers to get to the point instead of wasting time (sometimes). Consider having a weekly review to see how everyone did against his or her goals. Don’t hesitate to congratulate people on big wins, as this encourages everyone to continue achieving at a high level.
Be open to feedback and criticism.
Accepting criticism isn’t easy, especially for managers who feel they are doing a great job, but sometimes, it’s the only thing that can shed light on issues and improve workplace shortcomings. As such, creating a way for employees to provide feedback without fear of repercussion is invaluable to making positive changes. Something as simple as a suggestion box or an email address reserved for inhouse complaints can go a long way to encourage employees to offer feedback on ways they think the office can be improved. You can pick a day each week to feature a few pieces of feedback and try to implement the suggested changes; then you can follow up a few weeks later to see if they alleviated issues. The fact that you addressed the issues in front of your team and at least attempted to resolve the problems (even if nothing was fixed) will further encourage your workers to be open and will assure them that you value their input.
Make time for team bonding.
There are some workplaces that make this a priority, while others neglect it completely, but by finding a middle ground, managers can appeal to everyone on the team. This doesn’t need to be an outing every weekend, but it could just be a catered lunch once a week, a monthly contest, a semi-annual retreat or an event within the workplace. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that everyone in the office can enjoy and that it’s voluntary.
Have an open-door policy.
A manager is in charge of the team, but that doesn’t mean they should be secluded in their office all day. Getting privacy for meetings or phone calls is perfectly understandable but leaving your office door open when possible will encourage the team to stop by and communicate any issues, suggestions or just give a quick hello. While this can shed light on issues that may be brewing under your radar, more importantly, it’ll help you foster better connections with your employees, which will improve your work environment and help you better understand your workers and their potential. Like the points about feedback and criticism, it’ll also encourage transparency with your workers and will assure them that you value their input and their company. If feasible, it might be a smart idea to schedule time with each team member in a casual setting to reconnect and see how things seem to be progressing. Talking with an authoritative figure can be intimidating for some, but by scheduling short, face-to-face meetings with team members, your reticent workers may be more open to interaction, which will improve office communications as well as your employees’ morale.
Praise the team.
As they are often preoccupied with hectic business operations, it’s easy for managers to overlook the personal side of the job and their workers. A leader’s job is to push his or her team to its limit in order to get the most out of its team members, and while it’s easy to forget, a vital part of pushing your team is encouragement and praise. Rather than just plowing forward at the end of a project or week, managers need to implement a way to praise the completed work and constructively criticize mistakes. While constructive criticism is usually best reserved for a private setting, it’s good to provide individual praise in front of the entire team. This will allow the whole team to see value in every team member, and it’ll motivate all of them to strive for the glory of a boss’ praise.
Invest in the workforce.
Within several weeks, a good manager can usually see the strengths and weaknesses of everyone on his or her team. It can take time for a new worker to learn the ropes and be comfortable with their environment, but after that, the manager can look for ways to encourage their strengths. By investing in their team members, a manager will show their genuine care while creating a stronger team and more confident worker. This investment can be anything from allowing a worker to attend a local convention during work hours, to sponsoring a trip to a nationwide seminar, to reimbursing the fees paid for career related college courses. While this will progress your employees’ careers and hopefully improve their work, it can also incentivize high performers to join your team.
Give room to grow.
Everyone in a company has their place, and it is unfair to assume that a newly graduated team member should hold the same position and responsibility as someone with ten years at the company. Their job roles may be similar, but their titles and privileges should be different. At the same time, an employee’s long tenure doesn’t always translate to high performance, and high achievers (regardless of age and experience) should be rewarded appropriately. When workers see the ability to make a move up or even a lateral move to a more appealing position, they tend to work harder in order to achieve that foreseeable goal. Encourage upward mobility within your company, and make sure employees can see examples of workers who were promoted and worked their way up to their goals; this gives employees something to aspire to. Managers have a great deal of control over what happens in the workplace and should take that responsibility seriously. By creating a positive atmosphere for their workers, they are establishing long lasting relationships and a workplace that is conducive to productivity and success.