Teamwork, social events and company culture are vital to happiness at work
Workplace happiness isn’t just about competitive pay and benefits, increasingly workers are placing greater value on company culture
The UK’s savviest employers have always known that the key to a productive business is investing time and effort in understanding what makes people happy at work. Why do people love their job? What to employees want their workplace to look like? Understand and act on this and you should never have a problem with motivation or morale.
Yes, competitive pay and benefits are important, but employee happiness is dependent on so much more. Increasingly, workers are placing greater value on things like wellbeing and working conditions, where flexible working, collaboration, career progression and a great team spirit are part of the company culture.
“This is the human era of the workplace,” says Mark Batey, senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Alliance Manchester Business School. “The best places to work are those in which people can flourish and be their best selves – instead of pretending to be someone else five days a week. The perfect workplace also gives people flexibility and autonomy as to where and how they work, built on a culture of growth and trust.”
Among those organisations that have established a reputation for providing flexibility and demonstrating trust, is Pepsico, Top Employer-certified in the UK for five years running. “Our colleagues are offered the chance to grow professionally through regular training, career tools, and different assignments and experiences,” says Miriam Ort, vice-president and head of HR, PepsiCo UK & Ireland. “We also have a strong philosophy of career growth through experiences, which means we are willing to invest in moving talent through diverse roles that provide the breadth and depth our employees need to grow. This helps them build rewarding careers and become the talent we need for the future.”
Flexibility is crucial to employees’ ability to optimally manage their work and their lives. In 2015 Pepsico launched a refreshed flexible working philosophy in the UK that has been a huge hit with employees. “They give us consistent feedback that they greatly value this flexibility,” says Ort.
Keeping employees happy at work can come down to subtle changes in the values of an organisation. “I love having a workplace that embraces empathy as a key personality trait,” says Sarah Shields, vice-president and general manager, Channel, Dell EMC UK. “This creates a fantastic working culture and provides a broader scope for personal and professional development. We have opportunities to mentor more junior colleagues and volunteer in our local communities. By bringing our own experiences into the office we can create a team that supports and helps one another.”
Maximising employee happiness and engagement is management’s responsibility, but HR is also helping, becoming more strategic on key issues such as recruiting talent, building teams, developing future leaders and influencing company culture.
“HR teams can have a huge impact on company culture and employee satisfaction,” says Geoff Pearce, reward managing consultant at NorthgateArinso. “Team-building days, social events and ensuring a pleasant office environment – all are vital to happiness at work and creating a community spirit among colleagues.”
Source: The Guardian