Employee happiness is a vital component of a thriving business. Happy employees make for happy customers and better productivity, so what are the key ingredients of an engaged, enthusiastic workforce?
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Everybody knows having a happy workforce with a strong company culture are key components for a successful business. Happy employees are more productive, for one. But what makes employees happy?
Ensuring employees are contented and everyone works together cohesively is easier said than done.
This was brought home to me a few years back when I sold my business to a global company and was working through a three year earn out with my business partners.
While the staff were in a swanky central London office, the problem was that post-acquisition little attention was paid to the culture that myself and the management team had carefully built. Instead it was being visibly sucked out of the business.
As a result it became a less positive place to work, with a corresponding increase in staff turnover and recruitment costs, which of course had an impact on the quality of work being produced and overall success of the business.
Killing the vibe will cause employee turnover to rise
It was this experience that when I left to set up a new technology company, DADI, made us more determined to build the business around employees, recognising that if they are happy and successful so are we.
So what makes employees happy?
Empower staff: hire well and then leave them to get on with the job.
It’s management’s job to set parameters and let staff find their way. Does it matter if they are not in an office, not working 9-5, or are in the process of travelling around the world by bike, like one of our principal engineers? No. As long as they get the job done to a high standard and on time, it doesn’t matter.
We want smart people who understand how to deploy technology in a way that can help them achieve a genuine work-life balance.
Employ the best talent wherever they are: the best staff can’t always be found within a ten mile radius of central London.
Great people want to work with other great people to learn and feed off each other. So look to broaden recruitment beyond a commutable distance from your business, which means being open to remote working and enjoying a larger talent pool.
Our business has benefitted from employing the best staff from all around the world and having them work remotely.
If they're good enough then they're close enough
Employ an employee happiness champion: we recruited a Head of Happiness early on whose sole responsibility is keeping staff happy.
They take every team member out for lunch at least once every six months, during which they discuss how things are going across eight different areas: career, friends & family, romance, fun, health, money, personal-growth and physical environment.
Depending on what they tell her, we try and help out accordingly. For example, a couple of our team told us they were having difficulty working at home everyday, so we covered the cost of a shared workspace membership.
Regular events and socials: whether you operate as a remote working business or not it’s vital staff interact in a social setting.
It maybe a weekly exercise class or a monthly social with drinks. Make sure the events aren’t too contrived so staff don’t feel they are on duty. Teams bond when they are relaxed.
We find the best way to do this is on our annual DADI Weekender where we invite the whole company out with their partners and children in an informal setting for a few days and really get to know them.
Borrowing from these learnings will not only help your existing employees become passionate about the company and hungry to do the best they can, but also help you find the best talent and retain them. In fact, by adhering to these points we have experienced 100% staff retention since we launched three years ago.