You are not wired to notice when people do things the way they are supposed to.
You also have some intrinsic beliefs around what people “should do” because they are being paid to do a job.
As the owner of a business, or manager in a company, you look for what is wrong. It’s what you’ve been trained to do. It is your job to notice the outliers and fix them.
That is why, the number one reason for employee turnover is you.
They quit their bosses because they don’t feel valued and appreciated for the work they do.
As the leader of your business, your success is directly tied to how you make people feel. Happy customers do business with you longer. Happy team members work for your company longer than average.
So how do you create a culture of happy people?
Tony Hsieh wrote the book, Delivering Happiness (click for more info), and is probably the leading authority on creating happy workplaces. You should start there.
Here are some of the simple ways I try and create a culture of happiness inside of our small business. They will work for you as well:
1) Pay attention
Do you pay attention to what is going on with the people who work for your business? Two of my team members moved this year. In both cases, I sent them a text message wishing them good luck on move day. One of my employees replied and said, “OMG Lisa, you are the best boss ever.”
No, not the best boss ever; but, I recognize this is a big day for them and just by paying attention to what is going on in their life lets them know I care.
We all want to feel a sense of significance in life. We want to know we matter and that we are more than just someone who clocks in, does work, and then clocks out.
Pay attention to when people have things going on in their life and demonstrate a genuine interest in them. It matters.
2) Celebrate birthdays
Birthdays are meant to go in calendars so busy bosses do not forget. If it is your birthday and you work on my team, you get a gift. It’s a no brainer to show up and do something kind for your team members on their birthday.
If you can’t buy gifts, buy a card, or pick up the phone and spend some time talking to the person on their special day.
I know this sounds corny but the truth is your team notices when you do this, and they really notice when you forget.
3) Provide learning opportunities
We all need a bit of a learning curve in the work we do or we get bored. Challenge your team members to up-level their skill and provide them the support to do so. Find a course, book or a workshop and invest in their learning on a regular basis.
A bored team member looks for growth and opportunity elsewhere. A happy and engaged team member appreciates opportunities to learn and be stretched inside of your business if you allow for it.
4) Be accessible
Your time is valuable and when someone on your team needs you – be available.
I have a policy where any time one of my team members asks if they can talk to me, I make myself available that day. They deserve that level of respect from you. After all, they show up daily to support you and your customers in your business.
5) Acknowledge personal sacrifices
There are times where someone on your team goes above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe it’s working late, or on the weekend; whatever it may be, it is outside of the scope of what is usually expected of them.
Acknowledge their efforts. Pay attention to their contribution and let them know you see them and value what they have done.
When I used to work in the Corporate world, I made it a habit to send thank you cards or cards to acknowledge what I saw in people every time I went out to the field.
6) Become a good communicator
Your words mean a lot to other people. When you take time to give someone really valuable skill based feedback, you build character and confidence in him or her.
Learn how to communicate feedback to your team in a way that allows them to see exactly why their performance matters.
A number of years ago, I was at a workshop and one of the exercises we had to do was to write out a list of our strengths. I remember sitting in this circle writing down all the things I was good at when suddenly I felt the silence in the room. I looked around the circle and saw that everyone else’s page was blank.
The reason I was able to write was simple. My boss was an excellent communicator and took time to tell me the things I was good at in my job on a regular basis. Not only did she tell me I did a good job, she got detailed and specific so I could see how my skill made a difference.
That’s the type of communicator you want to be. Communicate so well that you build confidence in the people who work with you. When you do that, people are endeared to you for life because that type of communication matters.
7) Don’t avoid tough conversations
Silence is frightening. When someone is not performing, don’t be afraid to have a conversation with him or her. It is your responsibility to let people know where they stand through clear and open communication.
The worst thing you can do is give off a bad vibe and make people feel like they did something wrong. Treat your employees with respect, even when it comes to constructive feedback. They will be much happier and will respect you even more.
What do you do to create a culture of happiness?