Happiness as a Key to Business Success
Have you ever felt like you work for Bill Lumbergh from the movie “Office Space?” Is your office a place you go to work day in and day out repeating the same brainless processes? I can see it, there you are working endlessly on those TPS reports, only to feel unfulfilled and unmotivated to perform any better than mediocre. You are there just to collect a pay check and “check the box.” Do you wonder why some jobs feel this way? I do, better though, I know why!
I believe people get complacent and unhappy with their jobs because they are not engaged, appreciated, or encouraged enough by their employer. Wouldn’t it be a great change to employ someone who had an ownership mentality and found joy in coming to work to create something magical and extraordinary? What if something or someone inspired them or even better, what if they were just happy? Do you think they would take greater pride in their work, do you think their happiness would infect others, do you think this would create a culture of success and a “can do” attitude? Most importantly, do you think it would make the business more successful? Creating a positive work environment not only makes things better for the employee, but it also makes good business sense for your company.
There are many benefits in creating a happy work place, and many of them are reaped by the employer. The three most important I believe are retention, innovation, and productivity.
Creating a positive work atmosphere leads to loyalty and prevents “the grass is greener” syndrome. Turnover is timely and costly. According to Right Management, a talent and career management consulting firm, “it costs nearly three times an employee’s salary to replace someone, which includes recruitment, severance, lost productivity and lost opportunities”. At Bit-Wizards, we pride ourselves on having great retention. Heck, we still employ the first five people hired after 13 years in business! The emphasis we place on creating a great work atmosphere has led to this retention rate. The primary reason people work is money, but it is not the only reason.
Salary & Benefits (& Perks?)
A competitive salary & possibly benefits (if appropriate for the industry) is admittance to this employee/employer dance. After that, creating a great work atmosphere takes many forms, some examples include: showing appreciation in little ways, providing a safe and comfortable working environment, supplying great equipment, offering training, and an upward path for advancement. At this point, perks and benefits are boundless. At Bit-Wizards, we have implemented morale enhancing ideas such as free drinks and snacks during the work day, creative monthly social events that include employee family members, and fun, relaxed areas for social interaction. Our employees love the lounging areas, dart board games, and video games. Many companies have implemented their own ideas, and the list is limitless.
Two areas companies fail miserably is in treating everyone equally when they are not, and not adequately showing appreciation. Both of these issues are most prevalent when it comes to compensation. Often employees are hired at a certain skill level and then organizations give regular 2% - 4% pay raises. Organizations often fail to recognize exponential jumps in skill level. They lose top trained talent to another company willing to pay what the person is now worth. Additionally, companies fail to reward top performers which leads to turn over or instills a sense of apathy about productivity. Bit-Wizards offers out-of-cycle pay raises to adjust for skill level or to reward the employee for exceptional continuous effort. Doing this also increases everyone’s incentive to work harder. If you invest in your employee, they will invest in you.
In our fast paced world, companies must innovate or die. Where do innovations come from? Do they come from the widgets you sell, the equipment that makes them, or so they float down from the corporate fairy god mother? No, they come from the people in your organization. Your people will come up with the next “great new thing” that will inevitably give you a competitive advantage or the cost cutting efficiency that adds to your bottom line. However, employers must coax it out of them. They must be challenged to learn new things, be fearless in their ability to speak up, and have a desire to help the company they care about, because it cares about them.
People need to reinvent themselves continually to stay relevant in this age. A company that understands that the growth of the individual is a partnership and encourages perpetual learning will reap the dual benefit of a continually trained, highly skilled staff of individuals who also feel a loyalty to their company. Bit-Wizards encourages an atmosphere of perpetual learning by paying for training, providing competitions to motivate people to do creative things, and so much more. However, Bit-Wizards expects team members to study on their own time, be continually learning, and be proactive in creating their own training plans. By empowering your employees with the proper training and tools, you allow them to be more innovative, and that leads to new and better products and/or services.
Social & Collaboration
A social environment inspires collaboration and innovation. At Bit-Wizards, with a few exceptions, all team members work together on site at our corporate headquarters. While technology allows for remote collaboration it cannot foster the spontaneous collaboration of going to lunch together, throwing some darts in the break room, or simply running into someone at the water cooler. Additionally, not only do our team members feel safe coming up with new ideas and improvement, they are encouraged to do so. Unintended consequences can sometimes occur. With no direction from the leadership at Bit-Wizards the Creative Team has a voluntary lunch training meeting every other Thursday to brainstorm ways to improve their department. Bit-Wizards provides the lunch, and our creative team makes their magic by working together to innovate and improve what they already do as a team on a daily basis. This meeting has generated numerous improvements in the efficiency and quality of our products. If you give your employees the proper tools and the proper setting, innovation will find them and you will be surprised with the ideas that may come up with on their own.
A hot topic in the corporate world, today, is employee morale. Places like Zappos are successfully developing a culture of happiness for their employees. Large corporations have discovered there is a link between employee happiness and productivity. For 10 years, scientists Amabile and Kramer researched creativity, productivity, and the psychology of everyday work life. “Whether [they] looked at entrepreneurial startups or large, established enterprises, the same [held] true: People are more productive and creative when they have more positive emotions.”
The founders of Bit-Wizards understood the link between employee contentment and productivity first hand. Louis Erickson and Vince Mayfield built Bit-Wizards with the ultimate goal of developing a company that inspired people and treated people with dignity and respect. They wanted their company values to be built on a culture of honesty, excellence, positive attitude, respect, and teamwork. They both previously worked at jobs that were comprised of a typical 60 - 80 hour work week where the employer devalued and didn’t appreciate the employee. Louis & Vince then found jobs with companies that respected and appreciated their employees. They learned what a huge difference that made in the quality of the products and in the quality of the lives of everyone concerned. Bit-Wizards entire culture is based on valuing the employee. Everyone is encouraged to be open and honest. This promotes a happy environment where every team member is valued. Some things Bit-Wizards has done to cultivate this environment includes monthly social events, weekly staff meetings where everyone has an opportunity to speak, and most importantly people are recognized and appreciated for their effort. Additionally, Bit-Wizards has invested in a Director of Morale. This person’s responsibilities rest on facilitating a happy environment, getting to know the team members individually, and helping the team grow deeper relationships. By developing a meaningful relationship with your employees, they will in turn want to work harder for you and the will remain loyal.
The Final Win
There is a direct win-win relationship for employees and employers when the atmosphere is happy and favorable. Increased retention, innovation, and productivity are huge reasons any employer will benefit from this type of environment. Offering employees the benefits they deserve instills loyalty. Empowering employees with the proper tools and education increases innovation and inspiration. Creating a happy environment that promotes friendship and honesty ensures deeper connections that cause employees to want to produce more and work harder. Bit-Wizards has become better and better at cultivating these behaviors and from this, I truly believe our team members look forward to coming to work and in turn that happiness infects others such as customers, clients, vendors, and co-workers. Cultivating a positive work environment opens a world of possibilities for continued growth and success of your business…not to mention a group of people that will be loyal to their company for years to come.