6 Ways to Foster More Happiness in the Workplace

Invest a little time into making your company a place of joy, hard work and professionalism, and it just might help your bottom line.

learn more about Jacqueline Whitmore

By Jacqueline Whitmore Originally published Apr 21, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Happy employees are more productive, more creative and less likely to leave. It doesn't have to cost a fortune to create a fun environment at your workplace. If you embody your ideal corporate culture and integrate joy and laughter into your daily routine, your employees will follow.

It's wise to do everything you can to prevent dissatisfaction among your employees. A large turnover rate can quickly erode your hard work and deplete your resources. Once a staff member starts to look for other career options, he's already got one foot out the door.

As you grow your business, invest a little time to make your company a great place to work. Pay attention to the personality traits of your current staff, hire new employees carefully and foster an environment of joy, hard work and professionalism. The following tips will help you create a corporate culture full of fun.

1. Lead by example. Your employees will follow your lead when it comes to corporate culture and behavior. If your only interactions with your team are serious and formal, your employees will feel the need to be professional at all times. Be open about your past mistakes and learning moments. Add a little self-deprecating humor when it's appropriate to help your employees view you as human and approachable. When staff members feel joyful, they're more motivated and produce better work.

Related: 6 Types of People Who Are Really Hard to Talk To

2. Don't confuse seriousness and solemnity. Laughter is often a way for people to deal with intensely stressful situations. If your company is in the middle of a crisis and an employee cracks a joke, don't assume they're not taking the situation seriously. Humor can be a great catalyst for creative ideas and problem solving. The more your staff members are worried about how to correctly behave, the less they'll be focused on finding a solution.

3. Evaluate happiness as well as performance. Add a section on employee happiness and job satisfaction to each staff member's annual review. Make it a habit to ask your employees what makes them enjoy their work and what doesn't. If anyone has a particular issue, do your best to listen, understand and find a solution. Regular opportunities for employees to speak honestly with you — without repercussions or fear of losing their job — will create trust within your team.

4. Embody optimism. Staff meetings can quickly become monotonous. Use each meeting as an opportunity to encourage positive team dynamics. Go around the room and ask, "What is the best thing that's happened to you since our last meeting? The benefit is two-fold. First, you'll engage employees on a personal level and learn more about them and their hobbies. Second, if you begin every meeting with this question, you're employees will begin to think about what they're going to stay before each meeting. Instead of stressing about their growing to-do list, they'll be thinking about the most positive parts of their life. Your employees will be more joyful and optimistic, which will contribute to dynamic and productive meetings.

Related: 5 Ways to Be a Better Listener

5. Celebrate. Recognize and acknowledge your employees successes, no matter how small. Staff celebrations don't need to be fancy, planned or expensive. Acknowledgement can be as simple as sharing one team member's accomplishment during a staff meeting. Alternatively, you could host a quick team celebration in the break room or kitchen of your office. Celebrate project milestones, promotions, client acquisitions and birthdays.

6. Eliminate negative influences quickly. Negativity, gossip and internal politics can ruin your team's cohesiveness. When a new employee comes on board, evaluate more than their work product. Notice how they interact with other members of their team and their general attitude. Keep an eye on potential personality conflicts. If you see a problem, address it immediately. Large teams naturally develop cliques or small groups of like-minded people, but be mindful it doesn't negatively affect the overall team dynamic.

Related: The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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