Research tells us happy employees are more loyal and productive and so keeping staff content should be a priority for every business. But what makes them happy? You may be surprised to know that a pay increase isn’t necessarily one of them. Read on to find out how you can keep your workforce happy.

Work-life balance

Many employees will readily forgo a pay rise in favour of a better work-life balance. If you haven’t already done so, it’s worthwhile introducing flexible working arrangements for employees. Whether it be flexible hours or remote working, employees will appreciate being given greater control and will be more productive with a better work-life balance.

More communication

Ensuring that employees feel part of the bigger picture is an important aspect of communication. Staff who can see that their contribution is making a difference will feel more motivated and valued. Try to include feedback on team, departmental and company-wide performance and happenings at every team meeting so that staff can clearly see that bigger picture.

Ask employees for their opinion

Communication should be a two-way process and staff that believe they are being listened to and have opportunities to contribute tend to be more positive and engaged. Seeking the views of employees on, say a new company logo, health and safety at work policy or even locations for the Christmas party will go a long way to ensuring staff feel positive about their work.

Support training and development

One of the main reasons for an employee to feel negative about their job or find another one is because they have not had the chance to grow and develop. It’s critical that employers have formal training and development programmes and for these to be given a high priority by management.

Recognise and reward staff members

We all like to feel valued and recognised for our efforts and achievements. Finding ways to recognise and reward employees is important and could involve formal employee or team of the month type arrangements. Alternatively it could be less formal with, say, a company sponsored night out for a high performing team, or a day off for that staff member that went the extra mile.

Employee wellness

Fit and healthy employees are also in the best interests of the employer and will result in  lower absenteeism and sickness rates. Employee wellness schemes are a great way of valuing and rewarding staff as well as providing additional benefits that will supplement salaries. Employee wellness could involve corporate gym membership, life insurance or free dental and optical checks. Helping employees to be healthier will result in clear returns on your investment.

As we’ve seen, enabling employees to feel happier at work doesn’t have to come at the expense of an increased salaries bill. There are a range of other ways in which you can demonstrate the appreciation and value you place in your workforce. Happy employees are more productive employees and so it’s an investment that is well worth making.