Studies have shown that happy employees perform better. If your employees are stressed, it's important to question how this is affecting your business's bottom line.
Is it part of your job as a business owner to keep your employees happy and reduce their stress levels at work? Some would argue that maintaining happiness and managing stress levels are each individual’s responsibility. But that line of thinking is falling out of favor and is viewed as more than a little “old school.”
Instead, many experts say that keeping your employees happy is really a way of protecting your bottom line.
USA TODAY reported recently that there is good evidence that companies who treat employees well see their profits and stock prices rise. Employees who feel engaged and respected, it said, tend to do better jobs and stay with the company, which means low turnover and in turn, cost savings. But, it also posed the question: Do companies that treat employees well prosper OR do companies that are prospering have the means to spend more on keeping employees happy?
Common sense would say that employees who feel good about their jobs and the company they work for are going to be more productive than those who are treated badly or whose stress levels are through the roof. But what constitutes happiness? While it can vary among individuals and change throughout one’s career, there are some common, contributing factors, according to an article on hrmorning.com.
No one can argue that salary isn’t important, but it rarely tops anyone’s list. Instead, things like job security, health insurance and retirement benefits have risen in importance for all age groups, especially against the shifting employment landscape of the past several years.
Business owners also need to remember that these last few years have also produced high stress levels that continue, even as the economy and the employment picture improve. Survival guilt and an increase in responsibilities are just two of the reasons many employees feel stress, sometimes extreme.
But, are stress-reduction activities really feasible for small businesses? Absolutely, says a recent article on openforum.com, which offers seven interesting tips for creating a stress-free workplace. The tips include everything from providing a “serenity room,” where employees can go to meditate or just take a timeout, to volunteering and playing sports together as a team.
Also recommended: Keeping open lines of communication, something that affects employees in so many ways and cannot be overstated. Employees are most engaged and productive, experts say, when they can express their ideas freely, and when those ideas are valued. It’s also important for employees to be able to connect their jobs to the overall purpose and objectives of the business. Regular emails and a newsletter can help with this.
Other ways small businesses can help raise the happiness quotient and lower the stress levels among employees:
- See your employees as a valued market segment, equally important to your customer segments.
- Take an honest look at the “employee experience” and improve it if you find it lacking in some areas.
- Make sure your employees are feeling your brand values and attributes every day, just as you want customers to.
- Encourage employees to use your products and services and give honest feedback.
- Listen, even when you don’t want to hear the message.
- Make having fun a part of the workplace.
- Celebrate successes.
Happy and stress-free employees can have an overwhelming positive impact on customer service and inevitably your business’s bottom line.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net