How do I make my employees happier?

A recent Australasian business survey found 16% of workers ‘hate’ their jobs and up to 62% are ambivalent and unhappy in their current job. How as employers and managers can we help to improve job satisfaction?

A few quick tips from Positive Psychology research:

1. Losada Ratio – workplace performance improves significantly when positive interactions out-number negative interactions – although this is intuitive it is shown that a minimum of a 3:1 ratio of positive-to-negative interactions in the workplace is actually needed to achieve significant changes. What this translates to is that if management can increase the number of positive interactions (eg positive feedback, encouraging messages etc) to be 3 times more common than negative interactions then performance will start to improve but less than this ratio will not have much benefit.

2. Volunteer days (or afternoons or weekends etc) – increase employees sense of purpose by affiliation with a business that contributes charitable work to society. Although, employees who do not value social conscience may find this a chore if forced to participate – therefore volunteer days should be voluntary!

3. Positive job descriptions – asking employees to help rewrite their job descriptions to highlight the sense of purpose and meaning that they can achieve through the job.

4. Pygmalion effect – manager’s who have an attitude that their workers work for personal values (rather than ‘people work because I pay them’) generate a self-fulfilling prophecy – your expectation’s of your workers often end up coming true. Ask yourself 3 questions every Monday: (1) Do I believe that my worker’s intelligence and skills can be improved with effort? (2) Do I believe that my workers want to make that effort, just as they want to find meaning and fulfilment in their lives? (3) How am I conveying these beliefs in my daily interactions, words and actions?

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