I was listening to Pharrell’s song “Happy” on the radio on the way into work today. And as I hummed along I wondered,how far would organisations go to make their employees happy?

“The quality of the people that you get, grow, and keep on your team directly determines the success of your organization”

– management consultant John Spence said recently at ASAE’s 2014 Great Ideas Conference.

Part of keeping employees motivated, productive, and indeed recruiting the best new talent in the first place, involves creating an organisational culture that employees are happy to work in. So how can you create an organisational culture and a working environment that keeps employees happy?

Give people a voice

As well as keeping employees informed about what is going on within the organisation, listen to what your employees have to say. Give them an opportunity and a forum where they can make suggestions and raise their concerns.

Of course, don’t just listen. Implement their ideas where it is appropriate, and give due credit. If an idea isn’t followed through, then provide some feedback to your employee on the reason why it wasn’t taken further.

Recognise and reward employees

Make a point of celebrating the great work your employees do, both individually and as a team.Making people feel valued doesn’t need a lot of effort or money, so make it a regular part of your day.

Tell your employees specifically what they’ve done, the impact that it has had, and make it a big deal. Encourage co-workers to recognise and thank each other, so that recognition becomes an integral part of the organisation’s culture.

Give employees a career path

We all want to feel we have room to progress and develop our skills. So, even if it means an employee might eventually leave the organisation, invest your time in helping them develop a career progression path.

Help your team members identify areas that they want to develop, and then assist them in arranging mentors, secondments or training. Provide them with opportunities to develop their skills, such as taking on more responsibility on a project.

Get people talking

It’s easy to fall into a routine, and only talk to people you work with, or with your own team. As organisations grow they can go from everyone knowing everyone else, to some employees not even recognising each other.

Arrange a regular informal coffee morning, lunch or afternoon tea, so that employees from different departments can get together, get to know each other and find out what other departments are working on. And, if you have employees who work off-site, then schedule a regular video conference.

Talk the talk, walk the walk

Organisational culture needs to be driven from the top down. That’s why it’s important that senior leaders and managers not only define the organisational culture, but that they also live it.

Employees need to see that the senior management play by the same rules as the rest of the employees, so they should make time to meet with employees and be approachable.

And here are some more unusual ideas:

Play with job titles: Don’t stick to the norms when it comes to job titles. Perhaps your receptionist could be the Director of First Contact or your Sales Manager could be Enterprise Captain.

Make exercise part of the job: It can be difficult to find time to exercise with a busy lifestyle, but several organisations have recognised that physical and mental wellness is key to happy employees. As a result they’ve introduced treadmill desks, lunchtime yoga, and cut-off times for being at your desk or on the phone.

Make room to have some fun: You don’t need physical space to allow your team members to have some fun whilst they work, such as ongoing games, or bring in some beanbags for a meeting.

Create annual traditions: Involve employees in creating some fun traditions, such as an annual talent show or family fun day. People will then look forward to participating in these events.

Pay unhappy people to leave: Yes, you did read that correctly! Both Amazon and Zappos have used this system to encourage unhappy and less engaged employees to leave, which has resulted in boosting morale. It also encourages a better assessment of potential recruits to ensure they fit the company culture.

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