Muralidhar has extensive experience in Talent Management, Talent Acquisition, Mergers & Acquisition and spent 20 years in the HR industry. His present stint is with Aeries Technology Group ( ATG ) as the Group Head - Talent Acquisition. He has worked with IT firms like Genpact and CSC over the last two decades of his career. Murali is known as people leader and believes strongly in people growth, people happiness. Apart from spending time in HR aspects, he also shows interests in startup mentoring and their structuring, guidance to growth.
Successful employees are not necessarily happy but happy employees are more productive than their unhappy peers. Read on to find out why it is important to create a happy workplace and how can employee happiness become the key to success.
In the last two decades of my corporate life, I have interacted with people across organisations, age groups, and geographies. One of the key things I observed is about people not being “happy” at the workplace. What surprises me is that this is not different for the folks working for the top-notch companies. This holds true for some of the high performers and for those who are getting high remuneration as well. This shows that top-performers or highly-paid employees may not be amongst your happy and satisfied lot. They are the ones who tend to leave early than everybody else. People leave bad managers, not bad organisations. We often hear our management gurus talk about how choosing a bad organisation with a good manager is way better than choosing a great organisation with a bad manager.
People leave bad managers, not bad organisations. We often hear our management gurus talk about how choosing a bad organisation with a good manager is way better than choosing a great organisation with a bad manager.
HR employee engagement teams carrying out initiatives like Friday Fun, monthly parties, and team off-sites may help in achieving the short-term happiness goal among employees but these are not helpful in improving their ‘Employee Happiness Quotient’ (EHQ). Research shows that a healthy EHQ improves effectiveness and ensures better results along with sustainable performance. When you are able to create an environment which ensures that your teams are excited to reach office and deliver for strenuous 8-9 hours, the sense of ownership is reflected without a leader or a manager constantly observing them. But how do you create such an environment?
Listing down top 10 important to-dos’s which helped me create a great workplace.
- Appreciate Employee Efforts While Targeting Results
As managers, we need to appreciate the efforts being put in by a team or an individual. We need to guide them for the right efforts and should look for opportunities to acknowledge the team’s results and positive progress. Often, we observe some managers give more targets to their teams than required to achieve their personal KRA’s. This method can stress employees and lead to ineffective results.
- Create Competition at Work
Most of the times, giving a clear direction of tasks and deliverables to everyone at each level and grade can make them achieve set objectives and goals. Guide the employees who are not able to achieve set goals and try to work along with him/her and help make him/her achieve those goals. In most of the organisations, you will witness top 10% occupying the same position for many years; instead challenge them to compete with others, especially with those who come next to top 10%.This will give an extra push to the employees whereby you can use this healthy competition to bring out the best in your employees. This will further promote creativity and, in many cases, can lead to innovation. You need to show teams how great being at the top of the table is in terms of achieving targets. This competitiveness makes employees productive and motivated. This creates excitement to come to the office and go that extra mile.
- Talking All 9-10Hrs About Only Work..Work? Re-Consider This
As a manager, you need to create a sense of belonging in the workplace for your employees which leads to more than just good vibes and a positive work environment. Belonging will help employees to be their real selves without the fear of different treatment and judgment and it has a major impact on performance and retention. As a manager, you need to understand the emotions that each employee goes through and be a helping hand and create a feeling of psychological safety for the employee at work. Supportive environment will eventually lead to happy employees, triggering better collaboration and productivity.
- The Right Level of Appreciation and Feedback
Most of the times we give feedbacks to our team members only on improvement areas, escalations, customer deadlines etc but we fail to recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of employees. Research has shown that being recognized for achievements at work is the single largest contributor to an overall sense of belonging. Appreciation for the good work done can make employees feel valued at work.Most often, managers think that employees can work without appreciation and value recognition as they anyway get paid for their work. But they fail to understand that without continuous appreciation and regular feedback on their work, employees may feel demotivated. Big quarterly incentives and increments can never replace the power of a smile and a small thank you. I remember watching a leader who used to come to his office every morning and meet each of his team members and greet them with a handshake and a big smile. He believed that small, simple gestures are an impactful way to make his team members feel truly valued. I feel these small things can make a big difference.
You need to show teams hat how great it looks being at the top of the table in terms of achieving targets. This competitiveness makes employee productive and motivated. This creates excitement to come to the office and go that extra mile.
- Create Teams Who Help Each Other and Work Together
This is an extremely critical aspect. Balancing competition at work and making people work together is a real challenge for any leader. For this, you need to create strong second level leads/managers who understand the need to improve happy quotient in the team. We remember creating a concept called “Group Hug”, where we hugged our colleagues to share our feelings of unhappiness and happiness with each other. This is a really great way to balance fun and professionalism in the office space and comfort each other in their low points.
- Quantity Work Versus Quality Work
An ideal situation is to allocate the right quantity of work to the team members; in fact, I believe we should always allocate an adequate amount of work to get real output from the team members. In my previous work experiences I have seen situations where teams had enough work on their plate but still, they were able to deliver output with a right mix of quality and quantity. With one specific employer though we had less work (so-called quality work we claim) yet the teams were not happy. Everyone in the team tried to pull each other down and everyone was constantly insecure of each other. This kind of environment leads to office politics and creates an unhealthy atmosphere where employees typically feel unhappy. Right-sized work will always create better results at the workplace, or little extra quantity work makes it better.
- Never Behave Like a Boss, Better Be a Friend
In my experience, one of the biggest reasons for workplace unhappiness is the wrong approach taken by a team manager. If he acts and behaves like a boss and gives out only directions without listening and understanding to his team members’ views, he will never be able to create a happy environment. Micromanagement is the worst example of this. It really takes away the joy of making people learn of their own capabilities and ideas. The human element of “Supportive Leadership” and “Positive Leadership” at the workplace is what the new generation workforce expects.
- Generate Trust and Respect Amongst Teams
If there is a lack of trust for each other among employees, and towards their manager, it will be a struggle for the company to inculcate a happy environment in the workplace. Lack of trust has a tendency to ruin productivity and leads to micromanagement. A manager should keep in mind that low-trust environments are not likely to create a happy workplace. One of the strongest reasons an employee feels safe, trusted and included is when a leader sticks to his commitments and allows the team members to make mistakes without ruining their autonomy. If you are a trusted manager no one in the team will give you surprise attrition. This will also lead to your team members openly discussing their problems with you.
- Happy Employees May Not Only Need 5-Star Facility Or High Perks
Happy employees need not require a fancy five-star workplace. I have observed that even after getting a 5-star facility the employee can still feel unhappy – these things hardly matter. But if you have managed all the above points successfully then having a five-star facility doesn’t make much of a big difference in managing the workplace happiness.
- Parties, Travel, Off-site
When we spend most of yourtime at work than we do withour own family and friends,bonding with our colleaguesnot only helps us get ahead inour careers but it also makesthe working environmentlively and happy. Spendingtime with each other at officeparties, off-sites and travels canhelp to create a strong bondwithin the team. We need towork on strengthening bondswith our coworkers, lest weleave ourselves vulnerable andisolated.It’s important to observe all these above points to make employees happy rather than just trying to create successful employees without happiness. Be happy and make everyone happy.