Trying to make your business more profitable? Well, then you’ve probably tried to make your business more efficient or invent a new product. However, studies have shown that a much better way for companies to become more profitable is to have engaged employees.
As a business owner, you need employees you can rely on to run the day-to-day operations. For this to happen, employees need to be engaged in the success of your company. Although job satisfaction is critical to employee engagement, happiness is also a key component of this goal.
I once heard a successful business owner say, “Employees first, customers second.” When I asked why, he said, “If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers.” He recognized the success of his business was tied to the happiness of his employees. Research has shown employees who identified themselves as happy in their positions are productive 80 percent of the time at work. Comparatively, employees who identified themselves as unhappy were only productive 40 percent of the time. Therefore, how do you keep your employees happy?
One of the best predictors of employee happiness, satisfaction and well-being is employees’ passion for their jobs. You can’t change what your employees are passionate about, but you can increase the odds of having happy employees by taking a proactive approach to hiring. Employees that have passion for their work are consistently more satisfied, happier and far more engaged than employees who are just working for a paycheck.
Another way to keep employees happy is to solicit their suggestions and ideas. Most workers truly want what is best for the company, but many feel their ideas to improve the company are ignored or dismissed. Act on as many of the ideas as possible. Even if you can’t use the idea, always be sure to give them praise and credit for sharing. Feeling validated and appreciated at work will keep employees engaged and striving for your company’s success.
Problems will inevitably arise in the workplace. To ensure a high level of employee happiness, satisfaction and enjoyment, it’s critical to deal with employee concerns promptly. Regardless of whether the problem directly affects you, if it’s important to your staff, it should be important to you. Ensure there’s a system in place for employees to voice concerns. It’s your responsibility, as a company leader, to find out how problems were handled. Occasionally, you may find bringing in an outside firm to deal with widespread or deep-rooted problems is the best solution.
Finally, make sure your employees know you view them as people, rather than just parts of your business. Senior leadership, including those at the very top of your business, should regularly interact with lower level employees. Getting to know all your employees at an individual level will make them feel appreciated and valued at work.
These tips can not only keep your employees happy, they can ensure your business is positioned for growth. The relationship between employee relations and growth is something that many business owners overlook. Engaged employees are not only more productive, but also they’re generally better performers.
A 2009 study by Watson Wyatt showed that highly engaged workers are twice as likely to be top performers, and that three quarters of them exceed or far exceed expectations for performance. Not only does this set of employees show a greater dedication in their daily tasks, but engaged employees also care about the future of the company and are willing to invest a good amount of time and effort into the mission and visions. They feel a strong emotional bond to the company that employs them, which results in higher retention and productivity levels and lower absenteeism.
What’s more, positive employee engagement can be causally related or correlated to specific positive business outcomes by workgroup and job type. When a company has unengaged employees coming to work each day what do they do? They walk around, do what they have to and go home—they do so because they need the money, which doesn’t do a whole lot for the company. Employees that really care about the business want to work harder, be more efficient and help the business in any way possible.
It seems incredibly simple if you really stop to think about it: the happier employees are, the happier customers are going to be. There’s a clear correlation between employee happiness and the mood of the customers that the happier employees help. Customers tend to feel more welcomed and appreciated by someone who is smiling and cheerful as opposed to someone who is scowling and obviously not very happy to be at work. Engaged and satisfied employees lead to better service and invested customers who generate repeat business and contribute to higher sales. The Watson Wyatt survey also revealed that employees who reported high engagement work at companies with 26 percent higher revenue per employee, 13 percent higher total returns to shareholders over five years and a 50 percent higher market premium.
Companies can miss how strong the link is between employee engagement and performance, but smart business leaders can’t ignore the proven potential in increased revenues. It’s no coincidence that over 40 percent of the companies listed in the top 100 of Fortune magazine’s “America’s Best Companies to Work For” also appear on the Fortune 500 list.
Engaged employees are both the backbone and the face of most businesses. Failing to recognize these employees can hurt the company’s customer service and overall performance quality. Conversely, investing in engaging employees can lead to growth and higher satisfaction at every level of the organization.