According to Gallup’s report, State of the American Workplace 2010-2012, the average American employee is far from happy at their job. Only 30% of American workers report feeling engaged in their jobs. The other 70% report either feeling not engaged or actively disengaged from their jobs. Employees not engaged with their work hurt productivity and moral, while the 18% who are actively disengaged may actually try to work against company goals. Such employees are more likely to steal, to waste company time and resources, miss work, negatively influence co-workers, and drive away customers.
Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost US businesses somewhere between $450 and $550 billion every year.
So what makes the top 30% feel engaged with the work that they do? Here are five factors that make employees happy to go to work:
- Doing a job they enjoy and are fulfilled by. If money was the only reason people worked, we would all be investment bankers. Happy employees aren’t just in it for the nine-to-five grind. They like what they do and get a sense of fulfillment from it.
- Working at a place where they fit in. Finding a workplace culture that matches a person’s values and preferences can be tough, but when it works, a good culture fit leads to faster integration, more productivity, and – you guessed it – happiness.
- Good leadership. No single style of management is best – employees and employers simply need to find the style that works best for their organization to maximize productivity and workplace engagement.
- Feeling valued and heard. Recognition for a job well done can be the difference between retaining top talent and watching it walk out the door. Open lines of communication are also essential for showing employees that they are valued and respected.
- Minimal stress. Of course, some jobs carry more stress than others, and no one will be able to eliminate stress altogether. That said, employers can help reduce stress in the workplace by making their employees feel secure in their roles, listening to their needs, and actively encouraging work-life balance.
Making your employees happier should be one of your top priorities, both to be a good human and to improve your bottom line. The easiest way to start is through employee assessments. By finding out what drives your employees, you can start the process of fostering a workplace culture that is lower stress, better managed, and more engaging for everyone.