Preventing the Blowout: 3 Steps to Maintaining Employee Happiness

Every workplace has a vibe running through it that ties employees together much like a spider web. When everyone is working well and things are coming along smoothly every employee can feel good vibes radiating off of management and off each other. Likewise, when tension or negative feelings occur in one area of the office, these vibes are felt across the floor.

These negative tension vibes can be some of the most difficult ones for management staff to deal with. Often they crop up out of seemingly nothing, and can linger long after the problem that caused it has been resolved. If left unattended for too long, these vibes can significantly impact employee happiness, which can be the start of a much more profound workplace problem that could eventually lead to full on blowouts, drops in productivity, and employee retention problems.

3 Steps to Maintaining Employee Happiness

From a management perspective, preventing the blowout and maintaining a positive company culture is essential to business success. Here are three steps to boosting employee happiness in your workplace.

Listen Closely

Although a management position will put you in the forefront of decision making, it doesn’t mean you need to begin making all the decisions for your employees. More often than not, employees are interested in telling management how they feel about certain aspects of their workplace environment. Taking these suggestions into serious consideration can help reduce negative vibes from sprouting out of something that could be easily altered.

Making a point to ask employees how they feel about company policies, workplace activities, or even how their day is going can make a huge difference. Doing this both in public and private settings (depending upon which is appropriate) can help to build a culture of openness and trust where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts. The ability to build this environment by listening to employees is one of a few key management strategies.

Create Value for Everyone

A happy company culture is typically far more about values than it is about cool perks offered to employees. For this reason, one of the best ways to improve company culture is to focus on values that make people feel good permeating the whole organization. One way in which this can happen is by building every employee up for the positive contributions they make to the team. Focusing on top performers alone can actually contribute to dissention and negative feelings by making employees feel as though management picks favorites.    

Another way to create value that improves company culture is to adapt your management style to reflect values you’d like to see become part of the workplace culture. For instance, if you would like to see your company have a culture of transparency, then make a point to be as transparent as possible with employees whenever it is appropriate. Incorporating values such as transparency, honesty, and friendliness into your management style make employees feel valued as people rather than just workers, which in turn improves happiness and productivity.  

Stay Empathetic

Many managers feel that in order to get the desired response from employees it is necessary to have no feelings and to remain separate as a manager. In fact, in many cases the opposite may be true. Most employees feel greater respect for managers that are able to be a clear leader while still building relationships and sharing a laugh with their employees. They tend to be happier with managers that are empathetic.

Empathy in management can go a long ways towards helping improve employee happiness because it shows employees that they are cared about for more than their ability to produce work. Understanding that employees have lives outside of work and encouraging them to enjoy theirs can make them feel appreciated. Furthermore, it can help reduce fear in the workplace, which along with unhappiness, has been shown to decrease productivity and retention.
Negative vibes in a workplace can quickly add up and lead to a large company blowout. In order to help avoid this happening managers can work towards listening and incorporating employee opinions, creating value in the workplace, and having empathy when working with employees. All of these management goals can help employees feel more appreciated and happier with their workplace, which can in turn boost both retention and productivity.

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Brittni Brown

Brittni Brown is a current Masters candidate at the University of Idaho. In her free time, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and camping.


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