Are Your Staff Happy?

Managers know that happy and engaged staff are more productive. If your staff are unhappy and not engaged , your organisation will suffer. You will have higher staff turnover and absenteeism, increased recruitment costs, lower productivity and lower profitability. Recent occupational surveys shed light on some of the important factors that make staff happy.

In an analysis of nine separate occupational surveys, reported in the Guardian, the jobs that appeared most frequently in the top 10 for happiness were:
• Engineers
• Teachers
• Medical practitioners (including nurses)
• Professional Gardeners
• PAs
• Construction workers

At first sight there appears to be little in common between these very different jobs. So what is the common factor, or factors, that make them come out on top?
It’s not money, as some of them are notoriously not well paid. So it must be something to do with the job itself.

The two common factors that do appear to link these jobs are:

1. The ability to “make a difference” and see the results of your labour. The ability to say “I did that" and "that’s my work” go a very long way towards achieving job satisfaction. This is often summed up as empowerment. Well trained managers know how to delegate effectively so their staff are empowered (micromanagers beware!).

2. The people in these various jobs also have had to train hard to master their craft. It is known that staff who are well trained to carry out their role report higher levels of job satisfaction. Well trained staff not only are happier in their jobs, but also suffer less from stress as they are more able to meet their employers’ expectations. Training and re-training are an investment in your staffs’ happiness as well as their development.

Not all roles have a naturally high level of engagement associated with them. In these cases the manager must work even harder to create it. Key to improved engagement is effective two-way communication, appropriate support, effective leadership, recognition and reward. All too often employees are disenfranchised because they don’t get these management basics from their line manager. Indeed, staff often report that they feel that they are invisible to management until something goes wrong!