Small Ways to Make Big Impacts on Employee (and Customer) Happiness

Happy employees make for happy customers. It’s a simple equation, and one that many organizations have been practicing for years. Though some research indicates that unhappy employees are also capable of providing quality customer service, the truth is that it’s just good business to treat employees well.

Treating employees well to improve their happiness levels can mean different things in different organizations. Within larger, better-established businesses, employees expect high pay, good benefits and plenty of resources to improve their job and career. However, if your organization is small and new, you might not have the opportunities to appreciate employees in this way.

Fortunately, small gestures can have big impacts on workforce morale. Here are a few small gestures you can make to increase happiness for employees — and ultimately, customers.

Workplace Holiday Get-togethers

Holiday celebrations are fun, and generally, more fun in the workplace means more happiness amongst employees. A once-a-year winter holiday party isn’t enough; you should offer small celebrations throughout the year to give employees a break and show them that Christmas isn’t the only holiday that matters. Some celebrations you might consider adding to the calendar include:

  • National Pi Day
  • Patty’s Day
  • Employee Appreciation Day
  • May the Fourth Be With You
  • Flag Day
  • Oktoberfest

However, you shouldn’t try to take employees away from celebrations they might rather enjoy with their families, either — that means you shouldn’t plan an office party for New Year’s Day or Fourth of July. You also shouldn’t expect employees to come to gatherings that occur outside normal office hours, unless you are going to pay them for the pleasure. Some sweet treats, some games and a an hour or two off work (especially at the end of the week) to socialize is usually enough to lift spirits.

Employee Anniversary Presents

Birthdays are great, but they aren’t really associated with one’s professional career. While you can celebrate employee birthdays, you might make a bigger deal out of employee anniversaries, or the date on which each worker first started working at your organization. From an employment standpoint, anniversaries are important to reward; turnover is a significant expense for most employers because it costs thousands of dollars to advertise job positions and in wasted productivity of other workers.

Comparatively, it costs close to nothing to give workers a present to celebrate one year (or more) of work. Employee anniversary awards make people happy to have remained under your employ for so long, and they make people happy to continue working for you until the next anniversary rolls around.

Project Completion Lunches

Projects require your workers to remain attentive and active for a long period of time. When a project begins to head toward a close, many of its team members may begin to feel lost — or worse, lazy. WI though as much work to get done, workers can begin to feel disconnected from their work, which makes them less productive and less satisfied in their role. Thus, you should create a celebratory endpoint for the project, so your employees have something to look forward to besides more work.

A lunch that includes all the team members of a project is warranted. You should be sure to provide food from a restaurant everyone loves — or else proffer a company card and allow them an outing on the house. At this lunch, employees are likely to rehash project successes and make plans for future work together, solidifying their bond and ensuring they become more effective on upcoming projects.

Work-life Balance Emphases

Often, employees become unhappy not because of how they are treated (or mistreated) at work but rather how their work impacts their home life and vice versa. To fulfill your desire to be an employer that cultivates employee happiness, you need to make sure that employees have work-life balance and that you don’t push employees to develop unhealthy habits that lead to physical, mental or addiction problems.

The most important way to ensure this is to offer a comprehensive healthcare plan for all employees. When workers feel secure in their ability to obtain high-quality healthcare, they are more likely to remain committed to their work. However, you should also avoid creating a workplace culture based on competition and workaholism, and you should encourage workers to eat healthy foods and exercise — perhaps offering a gym on premises or discounts to fitness facilities nearby.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Finally, the best way to find out how to make your employees happier is to ask them. On a regular basis — perhaps every quarter — you should distribute surveys that allow employees to make anonymous complaints or suggestions for improvement. More importantly, you should maintain an open mind while reviewing these suggestions and enact policies that are most popular or impactful.