The Happiness Quotient: How to keep staff happy
Some companies resort to offering lucrative perks to employees while some companies lay emphasis on state-of-the-art infrastructure
There is no fool-proof model to make employees feel happy but it is better to know what really works
It is that time of the year when most of the companies will pause to look back at the effectiveness of measures adopted by them in 2012. Whatever strategies are formulated for the coming year, ‘people’ will continue to be the focus of most of the HR related initiatives. Now that companies have started to acknowledge the ‘people factor’, it is time the focus on the happiness quotient of employees increases. Research has shown that the happiness quotient of a company’s employees affects its productivity in a positive way. While different companies adopt different measures for this, the challenge is to figure out some effective ways to engage employees and help them transform into ‘happy workers’.
What makes employees happy?
There cannot be one answer to this question. Some companies resort to offering lucrative perks to employees while some companies lay emphasis on state-of-the-art infrastructure and flexibility in work timings to give employees that extra space. Studies have proved that some of these measures go a long way in keeping the employees comfortable and engaged. As of now, companies mainly rely on providing infrastructural facilities to their employees. They have also started offering some interesting perks to their employees. International Facility Management Association released a report in October 2012 which listed down a few commonly provided amenities:
1. The most common were break-rooms, which were provided by 93 per cent of the respondents.
2. The second most common choice was multi-purpose spaces, deployed by 72 per cent of the respondents.
3. Third most popular choice was on-site fitness areas, provided by 54 per cent of total respondents.
www.ishn.com quoted IFMA President and CEO Tony Keane as saying, ‘Providing these amenities in the workplace ensure the happiness and productivity of employees, reduces absenteeism and safeguards the health of both the company and its personnel.’
How creative can it get?
Aware that most of the companies have started offering lucrative perks and benefits to their employees, some companies are going that extra mile to come up with some creative perks to make their employees happy. Forbes.com listed Magoosh and law firm Freeborn and Peters as some of the companies that offer some unique perks to their employees. Freeborn and Peters organizes an annual ‘luggage party’ wherein a lucky draw is conducted and four winners are immediately sent for an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas. Not only this, the winners are whisked away to the airport in a Limo. Magoosh encourages its employees to take as many vacations as they want and gives them freedom to ‘work at any time of the day’. A recent American research proves that employees are more likely to take a new job in companies that provide better perks and facilities.
Which is the best model?
Focusing on any one of these areas cannot be considered as a fool proof model. Giving better perks may not turn out to be fruitful if there is no flexibility of timings or leaves. Besides facilities, employee engagement exercises, office atmosphere, clarity of communication and small yet important things like ‘trust’ also play a large role in keeping employees happy. A new research released by the Employee Ownership Association in December shows another way out. This research shows that staff working in employee owned companies are happier, healthier and more secure than workers without a stake in their company. www.employeeownership.co.uk quoted EOA Chief Executive Iain Hasdell, ‘It is unsurprising that employee owners feel more empowered and in control than other workers. Being an employee owner is not simply about ownership of shares – directly or indirectly – but empowerment and involvement in decisions about the business. So it’s heartening to see that job satisfaction is higher amongst employee owners, with 4 out of 5 happy to recommend their organization as a place to work.’