As consistently being dubbed one of the best companies to work for, Google evidently capitalizes on employee happiness to maintain productivity. They are on to something. A study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness makes increases productivity by 10-12% at work. Needless to say, work environment influences happiness with their job. Brad Feld, a well-known investor said, “You can’t motivate people, you can only create a context in which people are motivated.” When an environment is set with the right elements to satisfy and help your staff innovate, work is more likely get done well. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or head honcho at a multinational, here are proven factors to consider for your corporate environs.
1. Learning is earning
With industries evolving at such a rapid pace, it’s beneficial for both employees and companies to keep up by developing skills. I like companies that invest in people, challenging employees to think beyond the usual solutions, and that encourage growth of my capabilities in the process- whether professionally or personally. Buffer is a great example of a startup that cares for their employee development; they make self-improvement a priority by distributing Jawbone UP wristbands –it tracks sleep, steps, nutrition, and more-for health, a team activity of logging daily accomplishments and progress to iDoneThis, and free Kindle books for all of their staff. Loving to learn is a useful trait to have as well as an employee. In an interview with The New York Times, Google’s People Operations admits that it’s one of the attributes they look for in prospective hires.
2. Foster the commune mentality
Communication is important as it fosters trust, and trust results in good teamwork and a collaborative spirit. How are you supposed to do your job well if there isn’t an open dialogue, and opportunities for frank and honest critique or feedback between the higher-ups, your associates and yourself? You know you’re in a trusted and welcoming environment when you know you’re not going to have to deal with work politics, and you’re sure disgruntlement can be resolved fairly. In a study of federal agencies from management consultancy firm, Deloitte Consulting, barely half of 212,000 employees surveyed said they were satisfied with information from management. Compared to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which had the happiest employees in the survey, they accredited their success to promoting a “continuous” open communication.
3. Believing in work-life balance
Maintaining a work-life balance may be difficult, but it’s essential to draw the line between your professional and personal lives. If you are constantly tied to your job, stress and burnout from your career will catch up with you. I like companies that let you have time to relax and de-stress, that way I always return to work refreshed and ready to tackle on tasks. Telecommuting and flexible work timings are becoming popular and demonstrate efficacy too. When Georgetown Law School and the Alfred Sloan Foundation led the Workplace Flexibility 2010 –an initiative to develop a national policy on workplace flexibility in the U.S.- Best Buy Corporation shifted to a ‘result-only work plan’ (ROWE) to let employees make their own schedules while finishing tasks on time. CNN Money reported that the test was successful as departments using ROWE had a 35% boost in productivity.
4. Recognize your all-stars
Constructive feedback and appreciation for hard work can boost an employee’s self-esteem and act as motivation to aim for excellence. A workplace that acknowledges achievements and efforts is definitely a bonus. A study from the Journal of Management found that when management acknowledge good work, there’s positive change in team performance, trust in management, ‘organizational commitment’, and satisfaction in leading or being led by a group.
5. Elaborate on the game plan
Knowing the big picture and why we do what we do influences work ethic. Being in a workplace where you understand the company’s vision and how your work is contributing to that larger goal is a motivation booster, and at the same time, cultivates loyalty and dedication. Find out what your company values are, and be an advocate. Allyson Downey, founder of weeSpring, reinforces company values in a session of ‘family therapy’ where everyone sits together and writes down the company values.