It’s no secret that the most successful businesses have engaged employees. Engaged employees are generally more satisfied and overall happier with their jobs. A question often posed is, “How do I make my employees happier at work?” Just asking the question is the first step to a more engaged workforce.

1. Communication

How often do you hear employees say they did not know about something or complain they were not informed? It’s a fairly simple, yet often overlooked piece to the engagement puzzle. Employees want to know what is going on. If you feel like you have a good communication plan but still hear these complaints, maybe it’s the method or frequency of the delivery. Some organizations benefit from a newsletter or an email that discusses the happenings of the week. If you always email company information, setting up quarterly meetings may be beneficial. Make sure leadership is passing along crucial information to their staff.

2. Direct Supervisor

There is a lot of research that suggests that happiness and engagement in the workplace is connected to an employee’s direct supervisor. Develop strong leaders that are consistent with their staff and care about them. Leadership expectations should be clear. Much of a manager or supervisor’s work frustrations are often passed along to the staff. Keep managers in the loop about the business and give them key information they should take back to their staff.

3. Recognition

Feeling validated and acknowledged is important to life at work. There are many ideas out there to make your employees feel recognized for a job well done. A handwritten thank you from the supervisor may be appropriate in some situations. Public recognition through a meeting or company communication allows others to recognize their team mate if appropriate. Think through recognition from the employee’s perspective. How would they feel most appreciated? The biggest impact on long term engagement is how an employee feels recognized for their efforts day to day.

4. Employee Development

Employees want to grow and learn for their current position and beyond. They need these opportunities to grow within the organization. Employee development could be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. Each employee could have an employee development plan or a budget could be set aside for each department or individual. If the funds don’t currently exist for these opportunities, look for experts to conduct training in house. Speak with your vendors to see if they are doing any developmental opportunities for their staff or customers. Finally, online training opportunities can be a cost effective way to get the same information to a large number of employees.

5. Compensation, Rewards and Benefits

Employees getting paid significantly different for the same job will find out. Discover the gaps and develop a plan to address them. Pay employees fairly for the work they are doing. Set aside money from the budget to financially reward high performers and to motivate employees. Looking beyond traditional health benefits can be a key in employee engagement. Perhaps you can work out a discount for employees through one of your vendors. Or you can talk to some local gyms to offer your employees discounts by doing onsite advertising. The options are endless and don’t need to be expensive.

The time invested in employee happiness and engagement can result in a great working environment for your employees and boost your business. Get creative and your employees will appreciate it.

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