Six Ways to Build a Happier, Healthier Workforce

Having a workplace that enhances team members’ wellbeing can deliver big benefits. Research by the Corporate Leadership Council shows that the most committed employees perform 20 percent better than their peers and are 87 percent less likely to leave their jobs. The bottom line? A positive work environment can increase employee enthusiasm and productivity and contribute to innovation and overall company success.

Follow these six steps to help build a happier and healthier team:

1. Encourage interaction.

Employees who share common interests and goals have higher productivity and greater job satisfaction. This is a good reason to bring your team together for collaborative work and social interactions that create a sense of community. Even simple steps like installing larger lunch tables and moving coffee stations can improve workplace morale and productivity by as much as 25 percent, according to management consulting firm Sociometric Solutions.

2. Share goals and decision making.

Tell employees about your goals for the company and gather input on the best way to achieve them. This helps them feel empowered and increases their motivation.Sharing company objectives also demonstrates your respect for their contributions and builds a culture of cooperation. It can also help them feel more secure in their jobs because they can see how their work fits into the bigger picture.

3. Provide a career path.

A study by Right Management found a top reason employees leave is a lack of opportunity for growth. Does your staff have a way to advance in your company? Establish processes to help them develop their skills and achieve their professional goals. Have one-on-one meetings about their long-term hopes for their careers and then work backward to identify opportunities that could help them achieve them. Not every step on their path needs to be a step up; employees can learn from moves to lateral positions in new areas and by contributing to special projects.

4. Get moving.

Look for ways to bring physical activity into the workplace. Encourage walks at lunchtime, provide a gym membership subsidy or hold walking meetings. Physical exercise increases energy levels and contributes to a positive outlook. When employees are in a positive mood, they are more open to absorbing information and handling it effectively, research from The Wharton School has found.

5. Be responsive.

Reinforce your commitment to helping your employees succeed by providing the materials and information they need to do their jobs well. Take action quickly on any issues that may slow them down. When you can’t, explain why. This can solidify your reputation as a responsive leader and build engagement and a sense of urgency throughout your staff.

6. Show gratitude.

Recognize employees for their good work, both as a group and individually. Stop by their desks or offices to thank them for a specific task that they managed well. When a team of employees accomplishes a milestone, spread the word through recognition at a company meeting or with a company-wide communication.

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