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The Secret to Having Happy Employees That Nearly Half of Small Businesses Miss

Taking good care of your team is a crucial way to make sure your employees are happy. Here's where to start.

No small business is too small to show employees that their wellness and happiness is a top priority. Yet, too many small businesses aren't paying enough attention to this crucial factor.

Roman Samborskyi | Shutterstock

In Aflac's latest Small Business Happiness Report, which surveys employees working at companies across the U.S. ranging in size from three to 49 employees, we found that when you make wellness a top priority in your workplace, you may find yourself able to compete (and win) on a much bigger stage.

That doesn't have to mean fancy and expensive wellness programs or packages. Here's how to create a happy and healthy workplace for your team and transform the way you approach wellness in your workplace.

Make checking in with employees a top priority.

Aflac found that nearly half of respondents said their company does not assess employee satisfaction. In other words, they're falling short by not bothering to find out what employees are thinking.

You have the power as a small company to show employees they are being heard and respected. Make sure that you're checking in regularly with your team to see how they're feeling. Don't assume you know. Maybe everyone hates the coffee you're stocking in the break room or is angry that their lounge got converted into a conference room. There's no way to know unless you ask--and doing so goes a long way.

Try holding regular team check-in meetings or creating ample opportunities for your team to provide feedback through evaluations, in-person meetings, or even a third-party assessment.

It's not just the cost of benefits they care about.

Benefits can go a long way in ensuring employee happiness. Sixty-five percent of small-business employees say that improving their benefits offerings would make them happier employees--in fact, benefits offerings are what employees like least about working for a small business.

Sixty-five percent of small-business employees say that improving their benefits offerings would make them happier employees.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said that presenting a broader range and different types of offerings would help improve their benefits packages--and their happiness. What's more, simply improving your communication when talking about benefits is a major value add for employees.

Ways to show employees you value their wellness.

What are some of those alternative types of benefits? For one, you can offer employees discounts or reimbursements for steps they take toward taking care of themselves. This can come in the form of gym membership discounts, or reimbursements to see a nutritionist, personal trainer, or even a life coach.

Another way to signal that you're looking out for their happiness is making sure your company offers substantial mental-health coverage. Support for mental-health services and partial reimbursement for offerings like meditation and yoga give employees an outlet for their stress so that they don't end up bringing it to work.

Show your team you care by simply bringing in a different wellness specialist a few hours once a month to talk and meet with employees. This could be an ergonomics expert who helps them figure out how to better improve their desk setup or a chair masseuse who can help relieve neck and shoulder tension with complementary massages.

Endorsing activities that bring your team together in meaningful ways can also signal that their health is important to you. Start a softball team, hold a weekly yoga class during lunch or start a running club that you can all take part in. Choose a physical activity that can help bring you all together while also doing something great for your mind and body.

See how Aflac can help you and your employees today at

The 2017 Aflac Happiness Survey, fielded by Lightspeed/GMI in the United States between March 2 and March 13, 2017. Respondent qualifications included: at least 18 years old; employed for at least one month at a company in the United States with 3 to 49 employees; not employed in insurance, advertising/PR or market research.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.

Z171547 | EXP 10/18


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