Entrepreneurs and leaders regularly ask me, “Yogesh, how to increase happiness at work?”, “How can I make my team happier and more engaged?”, “How can I use happiness to increase performance?” I decided to write this post as an answer to all those questions.
My first business venture was selling toys at the age of 5. I loved it, had lots of fun and it made me super happy. Since then, I realized a secret to growth and success – if you are happy doing something, you will give it your best, and more likely than not, you will succeed at it.This is why, before I start anything new, I always ask myself, “Is this something that will make me happy? Is it something that I am truly passionate about?”
Only, when I hear a, “Yes” do I proceed.
If people are happy and passionate, they work better, think better and truly live better. A happy group of people have better productivity levels and organizations with happy people have very low levels of attrition. All of this leads to better growth and reduces unnecessary costs!
Here’s what you can do to make sure people are happier at work:
1. Are You Truly Happy?
For people around you to be happy, you first need to be truly happy. If you aren’t truly happy, it will be very difficult for you to genuinely inspire your people to be happy.
This is a very simple principle – “To Make Others Happy, You First Need To Be Happy Yourself.”
Think about the last time you flew on a plane. Remember the announcement made by the cabin crew? They always tell you, in case there is an emergency, to first put the oxygen mask on yourself, before helping people around you.
It’s the same with life and work – if you aren’t happy, you can’t make people around you happy. So ask yourself, very honestly, with absolutely no judgment, are you truly happy?
2. Don’t Make A Movie Star Do Accounts : Make People Do What Makes Them Happy
Understand the psychology of the people who work for you. Every individual is different and has unique needs and desires. Make sure the people are assigned roles they are truly passionate about and love.
So for instance, if someone loves being out there, loves meeting people, loves cracking deals and is basically someone who loves the spotlight – like a movie star, don’t make the mistake of giving this person a role where they have to sit behind a desk and do accounts or prepare reports. Even if you give them a much higher salary, they will get frustrated!
And similarly, don’t assign the role of cracking deals and selling to someone who likes sitting behind the desk and doing accounts. Both groups of people are equally important, it’s just that you need to understand who fits in where. (In case you are someone who loves selling – make sure you check out our Proven Strategies To Increase Sales)
3. More Money Doesn’t Mean More Happiness
Once, the HR head of an IT company came to me for help. They were facing heavy attrition and losing money. They would train people, and within a few months, lots of those people would quit.
She told me, “We keep increasing salaries and still people quit! Our competitors are paying less, and yet have loyalty. What do we do?”
I explained to her, as I do to everyone – Money isn’t what makes people happy. In fact, many times, if people aren’t happy and they get a hike in salary, they quit even faster. This, again, is linked to human psychology.
A hike in salary makes them realize that it isn’t money that is making them unhappy, but something else. You need to find out what that ‘something else’ is and fix it!
4. If People Don’t Have A Life Outside Work – It’s Going To Get Sad
Everyone needs to have a life outside of work. Family, friends, travel, fun, reading, music, sports, laughter, food, learning, Yoga, meditation and growing are all part of living a full life. Make sure they aren’t constantly chained to their desks like slaves, working.
Make sure the people who work for you aren’t living a robotic life, where they are just constantly working. Give them opportunities and encourage them to experience the wonderful world we live in.
If people are leading happy and balanced lives with their families and loved ones, they will bring that energy to work. On the other hand, if they are working like machines, eventually they will face performance issues and breakdown!
Happiness at work, is linked to happiness in life.
5. Small Perks Lead To Big Smiles
The smallest things go a long way in making sure people are happy at work!
So go ahead and invest in giving your people small perks such as excellent quality food, salads and fruits, access to a gym membership or a crèche at work, meditation rooms or a music room where they can go and play some music.
Today, companies like Google are able to attract and retain the best talent because they keep investing in such perks.
Based on our research, investments in such perks leads to reduction in attrition levels by over 73%.
6. Pat People On The Back (When They Truly Deserve It!)
Human beings are basically like kids. Remember when you were in kindergarten and you did well and they gave you a gold star? How did it make you feel? It’s the same psychology. Even the army gives its people similar stars for doing well.
If you want people to be happier, make sure they feel noticed and valued when they do something nice. Someone from your team did something amazing? Thank them, write them a note and give them a small gift of appreciation.
Make sure nobody feels ignored and left out. Once they feel ignored and left out, they will start feeling sad.
7. Being Serious Usually Means You Are In Trouble
“Doctor, is it serious?” that’s usually how being serious sounds. To succeed at work or in life, you don’t have to be serious. You should work passionately and with focus, but you don’t need to make sad faces and stop smiling or joking.
It’s like a successful sports team – the players bond and have fun together, and also train and work super hard and push their limits.
I have had the privilege and opportunity of visiting and working with hundreds of different companies and work places. And let me tell you one thing, the companies who are succeeding and bringing in great profits, are always the ones who have a culture of happiness and fun.
People in such organizations are encouraged to think and be creative and attain their fullest potential.
Organizations, who are too serious, are the ones who usually end up dead soon! You seriously wouldn’t want that happening with yours, would you now?
You know why Blackberry died? It was too serious! People wanted to have fun with their phones, rather than just use it for boring emails.
8. Let People Express Their Ideas
Listen to what your people are saying. Encourage them to freely express their ideas and thoughts. This will make sure that they feel that they are a part of the organization.
And you never know, many times, these great ideas and suggestions can lead to growth and increased profits!
Also do keep in mind, you don’t have to follow their ideas, if you don’t agree with them. The leader gets to make the decision.
9. Don’t Reward People Who Don’t Perform – Fire Them!
Never reward someone who isn’t performing. No matter who that person is, or how much you love them. Business is all about results and performance. Once you start rewarding someone who is inefficient, it sends out a very negative image throughout the organization.
It demotivates high performers and spoils morale. Anyone who isn’t performing should be fired immediately, i.e. if you want to develop an organization that believes in merit and success.
I’ll share an example. There was a family run business that owned a series of high end car dealerships. They had come to me for advice, as morale was down and business was suffering.
After going in deep, I figured the problem was the nephew of the owner. This boy was extremely lazy and unethical, and yet used to be regularly rewarded. This demotivated the other staff and created a culture of lethargy and inefficiency. I told the owners if they had to grow, the nephew had to go!
If they didn’t fire him, they would be wasting the fees they paid me. They listened and within no time, morale was high and people were performing to their fullest.
Learn the art of firing people who aren’t going to change and perform.
10. Invest In The Growth Of Your People
If your people are constantly growing and learning, they are going to be happy and engaged and passionate. We, as human beings, have a deep inner desire to grow and learn more.
Make sure you have the right programs in place, to encourage learning and growth for everyone in your organization, while making sure these programs are fun and entertaining.
Please, do yourself a favor, and don’t send them to programs where they fall asleep out of boredom. Engage them in programs where they are super involved and active.
I guarantee you, if you follow and take immediate action on the above strategies, you can easily increase happiness levels several times and ensure maximum productivity and performance!
Stay happy! Best of luck!