It’s a simple concept, really—the happier your employees are, the more productive they tend to be. According to a 2015 study by economists at the University of Warwick, “happy” people tended to be 12 percent more productive (and unhappy workers were 10 percent less productive)! Increased productivity can lead to greater efficiency, higher profits, cleaner and safer venues and help provide a better overall guest experience. However, 26 percent of employees are indifferent to their jobs, somewhat unhappy or extremely unhappy according to the 2016 Industry & Productivity Reportby Bolste. We as managers can, and should, be the driving factor in our employees’ happiness. So how can we keep our employees happy and improve their productivity?
Let Us Go
As managers, employee happiness begins and ends with us. E.M. Kelly wrote, “Remember the difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says go—a leader says ‘Let’s go!’” Let us go! By recognizing the “us” in the equation and not just driving the individual to go by themselves, leaders help set the tone and shape the message of teamwork, inclusivity, trust, and respect that is delivered to their staffs. Each of those feelings has been shown to increase employees’ happiness and the respectful treatment of employees ranked first (67 percent) on the list of aspects that contribute to overall employee satisfaction according to the annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey by the Society for HR Management. Thus, building a culture that is centered on teamwork can directly lead to happier employees and increased productivity.
Leaders are also instrumental in creating a fun environment. This year at Venue Management School, I learned that it can take as little as 10 minutes of fun a week to help engage your staff and boost their morale and productivity. We participated in a 10-minute activity during class, which wasn’t an elaborate scheme to make us think deeper about a topic but simply a way to take a break from a busy day, have some fun, and build teamwork. I know several people from class who have taken that concept back to their venues, myself included, and seen a noticeable improvement in the happiness and morale of their employees. Thank you to Kerry Painter, CFE, CEM, CMP, who taught that class and gave many of us this inspiration.
Avoiding burnout is another crucial element to maintaining employee happiness. According to a 2015 survey by Staples Advantage, more employees are burning out due to longer hours, fewer breaks, and an evolving workplace attitude that forces many to be “always on.” It’s important to remember how easy it is to jump headfirst into our industry and work day and night for seemingly years on end. It is our responsibility as managers to create an environment that embraces work-life balance. There are many ways to help boost happiness and diminish the chance for burnout: Enabling flexible schedules and work hours, encouraging employees to take breaks during the day (which would lend itself greatly to a fun 10-minute activity once a week!), scheduling meetings more efficiently, and rethinking those after-hours emails. I can be as guilty as anyone in regards to that last point but it’s important to remember that those emails are encouraging staff to have that “always on” mentality. By only sending urgent emails after hours or waiting until the next morning to send emails, employees can have a work-life balance without worrying about having to answer emails and focus on work at all hours.
By no means is this a complete list of ways to help improve productivity by keeping employees happy. There are several great authors and articles on the subject, which I’d encourage any leader or future leader to read. Walt Disney once wrote, “You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful places in the world… But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” Our employees are our No. 1 assets, and they are who turn our events, venues, and dreams into realities. As a result, maintaining their happiness and boosting their productivity should be our No. 1 goal. FM