“Happier people set higher goals for themselves.” Baron, 1990; Hom & Arbuckle, 1988
To build a happier work place:
1. Provide your employees with Autonomy; Autonomy is a better predictor of happiness than money.
Whenever possible, let them decide:
- When to take breaks.
- Who they will work with on different projects.
- The type of role they will play on different projects.
- How to create and take ownership over company culture activities.
- Create metrics that allow you to give autonomy up to a certain point. For example; they can approve invoices under $5,000 or they can autonomously manage the department as long as the customer service score and employee retention remain above an 85%.
2. Facilitate and encourage friendships in the workplace. People who have one or more close friends tend to be happier.
- Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, and babies.
- Host potluck lunches and happy hours (with reasonable non-alcoholic beverage choices).
- Host competitions among small groups for best decorated office at Halloween, most food for a can drive, or Art Gallery night.
- Encourage participation in Company Teams (i.e., Volleyball, Soccer, Softball, Walking or Running).
3. Show that you care about your team members and let them care for each other. People who volunteer or simply care for others on a consistent basis are happier
- Send get well messages when they or their family are home sick.
- Send condolences and offer support for tragedies.
- Make note of family successes like having a baby, buying a new house, college or High School graduation, and winning the spelling bee.
- Organize events around company sponsored charities.
- Encourage employees to spend time volunteering for a cause they care about.
4. Cultivate positive emotions by creating a culture of gratitude and appreciation for one another.
- Establish a structured method of providing different forms of recognition to employees who have done excellent work or completed a large project.
- Make efforts to express spontaneous recognition or appreciation to employees during team meetings.
- Organize team celebrations at major milestones (i.e., end of fiscal year, end of large project) and use them as opportunities to express gratitude toward one another.
5. Create a strength-based team culture. Employees who use their strengths regularly are more likely to achieve a state of flow.
- Have your team members take strength assessments; be aware of their unique strengths.
- Give team members a chance to celebrate and share their strengths with others; make their strengths visible (i.e., signs outside their cubicles, team strengths map).
- Incorporate strengths into performance reviews and discussions; discuss ways that employees can craft project work to align with their strengths.
6. Encourage little friends (i.e., dogs, fish, plants) – Pets and Plants inspire more creativity and create a more productive and happier workplace.
- Let team members know the types of animals they can bring to work (based on company policy) and encourage them to do so.
- Place plants in public areas of the organization.
- Give plants as gifts for birthdays, life events, etc. and encourage team members to keep them in their offices.
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