I routinely tell my staff, “If you’re not happy and excited to go into work most days, you owe it to yourself to make a change.” I believe this to be true for every level of employee; from those in leadership roles to newly-hired interns.
There is no reason that a person working at the lowest levels of an organization should be more or less happy than those working at the highest. In other words, I don’t feel that one should spend a significant portion of their professional lives in a position that does not make them happy. This is not only something I wholeheartedly believe in, it is something I preach to each and every employee at STS Aviation Group.
The change I referenced in the first paragraph does not mean one must quit their job in an effort to find professional happiness / satisfaction. It is possible, in my opinion, to affect change and find happiness by simply altering the way one approaches their current role. For example, by having open and honest discussions with management, altering daily responsibilities and even moving to a different department, one can change their professional prospective in a positive way.
Time and time again it has been proven that happy employees miss fewer days, work more hours and have higher productivity levels than unhappy employees. Knowing this, there’s no room left for doubt that employee happiness translates directly to the underlining success of a company.
The old guard (and I am on the fringe of that group) believes in the concept of driving employees to work hard and put in long hours knowing that most will oblige because they’re being provided compensation. Members of that guard also feel that employees do not need to be happy inside the workplace; they just need to show up and do their job.
To change that mindset is difficult because it’s an idea rooted in much of the old guard’s upbringing. It is what their parents and grandparents grew up with. It is what they were taught and told to appreciate. It’s also hard to convince the very same group of people that putting a ping-pong table in the break room or providing workplace daycare is going to ultimately make the company more successful. To them, they just don’t see how these things help employee productivity and promote business growth. Are they wrong in thinking this way? The quick answer is no, they are not wrong. They might, however, be a little shortsighted.
There is no doubt that understanding employee behavior is a critical factor to business success. Most of the things that affect employee happiness do not cost companies a dime. According to a recent article in Inc. Magazine, the best way to make employees happy involves ongoing communication aimed at offering an heir of certainty about one’s professional future. If engaged regularly and often on that level, employees will more likely than not be excited about coming into work every day. This is true because they’ve been shown a light at the end of the tunnel. They can appreciate what they’re working toward while having a clear understanding of the path they need to follow in order to get there.
Creating excitement among employees is also free so long as a company’s management team is capable of doing so. How does one create excitement? There isn’t a definitive playbook to work from, but my suggestion is this. Find out what your employees are passionate about and play to those passions. If your team tends to thrive in a competitive atmosphere, give them something to compete for. Alternatively, if you throw an awesome end-of-the-year party, let employees be a part of the organization and planning process. I can go on and on offering endless examples of how to generate excitement inside the workplace, but at the end of the day, it boils down to knowing your staff as people and providing them with avenues that make their jobs both rewarding and worthwhile.
So… managers and business owners take note. We are in the early morning hours of a new age, and if employee happiness is not high on your priority list, you may be overlooking a very important and inexpensive tool designed to build a more successful business.
Thanks for taking the time, and I hope you enjoy the rest of STS Aviation Group’s quarterly newsletter.