Are people flourishing in your environment?
Do they thrive?
Do they look forward to coming to work and making a contribution?
Here are some insights that I’ve drawn from my research into increasing humanity in the workplace that may help increase the happiness quotient of your business.
Some of the companies who treat their employees in a specially humane manner and have mutually benefitted by increased employee happiness, satisfaction and performance, have done a whole range of different things, some of which we can all learn from. Each one’s special approach reflects the unique situation operating within their organisation, either by employee demographics, location, work activities and roles. I thought today you might appreciate hearing about some of their examples, and the impact they have, so you can identify if any of them can be applied into your environment.
Some of these examples are:
A law firm that has its offices on the outskirts of town organise a large coach one day every week, to take whoever wants to go into the City Centre, where they can shop, run errands or do whatever they want and to be brought back to the office 2 hours later. This way, employees (especially women) can do what they want or need for their personal lives, de-stressing them and enabling them to do their work with a degree of comfort and ease. Employees feel that their organisation cares about them as a person and that their personal lives are important, by ensuring that they take action to actively support them.
A company which employs mostly GenY staff and work in technology, have a Play Room, in which is a Ping pong table, a Table football game and a large TV. Employees can go and play or watch TV, whenever they want to, throughout the day. They are trusted to take whatever breaks they want throughout their day, knowing that physical exertion or temporary distraction from mental intensity can aid them to do their work enjoyably and without stress. Employees feel trusted to be self responsible and enjoy their time out; and work hard and intensively when they return to their desks.
Many companies promote continuous learning and development, by offering libraries of E-learning programmes that employees can take or refer to as and when they wish to. But when this is encouraged to be undertaken in their normal working hours, it creates a supportive environment that acknowledges that growing the capability of an individual supports the development and performance of the organisation. Their development and growth is linked, thereby building in mutual loyalty.
One company I’m aware of encourages its managers to have one to one meetings with each member of staff monthly about their personal wellbeing and development and to ask the question whether there is something more that they may wish to learn about? Whether there is a course or programme that they may wish to take to increase their capability in any particular area? They ask whether they need to increase their technical skill, or learn something from the broader area of management or people development. Employees love to learn and grow, and in many research studies, it has been identified that employees value personal growth and development even higher than increases to their salary. So retention of valuable staff is easier when learning and development is part of the ongoing infrastructure of an employees’ experience.
An engineering consultancy organises a quarterly meeting with everyone in the organisation, where its leaders talk about their strategy and how the activities of the group in the previous quarter have led to what results. New business development, new clients, anticipated levels of work are discussed and everyone can ask questions, with every issue being addressed respectfully with detailed information. Everyone is therefore included into the progress of the organisation. Transparency leads to trust. That trust is often translated into people taking more responsibility to cross-support each other, when one team is falling behind its targets, or when one unit has more work than it can deal with, people from another area will volunteer to help.
Most organisations will organise social activities – perhaps once or twice a year. One organisation I’m aware of has several activities a week. And the people in that company are some of the happiest I’ve ever encountered! Employees look forward to Sandwich Tuesday, Drinks on Friday and a different social outing each month, paid for by the company. A summer barbecue allows partners and family to attend, thereby acknowledging that the whole person comes to work – and that family and their life outside work needs to be respected and valued. These activities do not cost a great deal, yet they build an open, honest environment in which people feel valued and appreciated, and they return that sentiment with loyalty, commitment and hard work.
Businesses thrive when their employees thrive.
1 July 2014