Archive for October, 2013

Satisfaction Should Be The Cornerstone Of The Office, Happiness The Aspiration

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment


Make your employees feel ‘At Home’!

“Home is where the heart is”.

How often have we heard this quote? Most of us will agree that home is where we were raised, where we played, laughed, cried, and learnt. It is where we grew and became what we are today-strong, independent and confident. This may be why we do not see it as a structure with only four walls and a roof-It is much more than that. Home is a place filled with stories, a place where memories are made and a place where we interact with a very important group of people; our family. And it is here that we get unconditional support and guidance. This might be the secret of the positive energy that the home exudes.

Yes, this article is about happiness at the workplace and, not at home. However, there are a few things that organizations and people leaders can do to make their employees feel ‘at home’ at their workplace. For it is undeniable that most people today spend far more number of hours at office than at home. Read on, as I demystify the term ‘Happiness at the Workplace’ for, your employees are your extended family!!

My journey-from ‘being’ happy to ‘giving’ happiness!

In my 2 decades of experience, I have played various roles-that of an employee, a people leader and an entrepreneur. I strongly believe that a healthy and bonded relationship between the employer and employee is the essence of any business success. When the relationship is nurturing, happiness will blossom and bear fruit. A deep rooted employer confidence in his employee is visible in the face of the employee and needless to say that this is a reality and not merely a philosophy.

Though the above is true, I also understand that not all the employees of an organization can be equally happy with their employers. The reason for their unhappiness could vary, but the disturbing fact is that people managers do not make attempts to address or understand the cause of their unhappiness. I strongly believe that the manager is an important interface between the management and the employees and he/she has a major role to play in ensuring a conducive working environment. As they say, ‘People Leave Managers not organizations!’.

While listing down points that managers should take to ensure employee happiness, I would like to add that making employee’s feel ‘at home’ is not the sole responsibility of the manager in question, but an integral business need of an organization. I would like to share with our readers, a few points that can be kept in mind while trying to ensure that their ‘family’ is happy. Some of these are oft repeated but there is no harm introspecting on them, isn’t it?

1) Build an appetite for what you do:
Just go back and think about the enthusiasm you have, while playing a game. Think of the adrenalin rush and the flurry of emotions when you won a game. The reason why we look forward towards victory and are excited to play is because we enjoy every bit of it.

Similarly, unless you are happy with the nature of your work, you cannot be happy in your workplace. This is also true while you try to instill motivation down the line. It is important for the people manager to understand and savor every bit of his work. He needs to take proactive steps to ensure that the team is one, while trying to motivate each of them to victory and also ensuring the journey is a fruitful and nurturing one. Sometimes, managers need to ensure that team members see the value addition of the job rather than focusing on the monthly paycheck. Any work without proper meaning and satisfaction can never be given 100%. This may be a reason why everyone is not successful in their professional work. And this is definitely something that the manager can influence! 

2) Change, Growth and Mental Stimulation:

In most cases, the work nature seldom changes. The same routine job does not seem to be interesting to everybody, especially Gen Y. Even today, service sectors and government employment seems to be most sought after. However, in the long run, most of these employees are not really happy with their work or workplace. This happens because a majority of them are doing a routine job for years or decades without much variation. Inefficiency of our government sector employees are a result of this unhappiness in their work place or with the nature of their work. Change or growth here does not just mean moving up the ladder, but techniques like job rotation, enlargement etc. are something that managers and organizations must proactively do. This also ensures that in spite of having to spend more time in their work place to meet deadlines, a majority of the employees will be enthused and motivated with their work and workplace.

3) Looking Inward and Moving Forward:

It is advisable that companies design a program to create a happier workplace for their employees. One of the important questions every manager as well as his team member must ask themselves is, “What can I do to make my workplace a happier one?”.
The first step is determining what actually makes your employees and the organization happy; no two organizations are the same. Two key techniques are: directly asking employees and developing an employee suggestion system. Once you have feedback or the response from the suggestion system, you or the management can take appropriate steps to improve or implement the suggestions received.

4)  Surprise People Pleasantly!

It is important for an organization that its employees are cared for and given special attention. It can make them happy in their workplace. They get the feeling that the company really cares for them. Take your team out for lunch and have crazy talks, celebrate birthdays, arrange short trips to resorts, gift free passes for concerts etc. Many companies conduct various events in the office like family day, mother’s day etc. which usually give employees a chance to take their family to office. This in turn makes the family feel as an integral part of the employee workplace. These are minor perks that can cheer up an employee and help in building a bond. Compliment people freely, publicly and never neglect to give credit where it is due. In creating a happier workplace, keep in mind that workers thrive when they sense that they are being listened to, that their suggestions are valued, that the organization cares about their welfare and the welfare of their families.

5) Practice-don’t just preach:

It is important for managers to also do what they expect their employees to do. People do not do what you ask them to do; they always do what they see. It may be simple things like being on time, attending meetings on time etc. but it does matter. A manager of a team must lead by example and lead from the front. 

6)  Break the wall:

An open communication is the entrance to a happier organization. It may be a small matter, but people are happiest when they feel heard. Be a listening manager and a listening organization. Simple acts like saying hello, enquiring about one’s well being and sincerely caring about the answers are great starters. Equally important is maintaining transparency. Frequent communication of the goals and values of the company, the expectations you have from your employees would help. Acknowledge their ideas, suggestions and opinions. Let them have a say. However, it is also important to implement their suggestions when possible.

In conclusion, the management needs to set the tone to ensure that the workplace represents the drive, hopes and dreams of its workers. This could be a protection against the scourge of “presenteeism”-a condition where people show up for work but operate at subpar levels.

Satisfaction should be cornerstone of the office, happiness the aspiration! 

Categories: Sudheer's Blog