If you ask someone to define success, you’ll get a different answer each time. But for me, it’s always been about being happy.
Happy in your life, happy in your career, and happy in your relationships.
And when looking at my role as a business owner who’s growing a strong company and team, I’ve realized that those are the same exact things I wish for my employees. My goal is to create a culture that is welcoming, enjoyable, and allows each person to thrive.
Here are 21 everyday behaviors for employers that lead to a happier (and lower stress!) workplace.
1. Exercise common courtesy. Be kind, polite, and respectful to your team. Always. And extend that same courtesy to all of your customers, vendors, delivery drivers, etc.
2. Recognize major life events. Celebrate those events that are near and dear to your employees – birthdays, anniversaries, birth of a child, graduation.
3. Take a vested interest. Ask about your employees’ personal lives – how the new baby is, if their grandma is feeling better, etc. Show them that you care about them as a person as opposed to just an employee.
4. Write a handwritten thank you note. In the age of emails and text messages, a hand-written note can mean a lot. Thank employees for going above and beyond, for simply being a part of the team, or for stepping up in a meeting.
5. Call just to say hi. When you haven’t seen or talked with someone in a while, take the time to call and check in. It’ll be like a breath of fresh air.
6. Be available. Employees can look to you for guidance at any time, so strive to never be too busy for a call or a conversation. Be available, be present.
7. Ask, “How are you?”….and mean it. Drop the autoresponders that are built into our everyday communications. Take the time to say “Hi, how are you?” and stop to really listen for the answer.
8. Be direct and honest. Honesty sounds easy in theory, but it’s tough to pull off in real life sometimes, especially when you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Even so, honesty is still the best policy. Be direct, but kind and compassionate too.
9. Don’t dwell on mistakes. Everyone, including you, will make mistakes from time to time. So encourage the team that those instances are simply part of the learning process. Remind them you’re there to help them learn from their mistakes.
10. Be a good listener. As the one in charge, employees look to you for words of encouragement. But sometimes it’s best, and most unexpected, when you spend more time listening than talking.
11. Feature your star employee. Take to your Facebook business page (or other social media platform) to spread the news of your star employee. Share news of their promotion, new baby, engagement, or wedding. All with the employee’s permission, of course.
12. Meet for coffee or lunch. Set aside time to sit down and chat with an employee. Keep it casual, and have a real conversation about life and how they are doing.
13. Ask how you can help. Many times, employees know just what they need in order to do a better job. So ask them how you can help make them more successful, or what you could do the make their lives or work lives better.
14. Take action. Employees will take action, and often surprisingly successful ones at that, when they see you doing the same. Step on out with confidence and lead by example.
15. Be inspirational or funny. Send out an inspirational article or funny YouTube video to your employee email list. Choose ones that will help them think, grow, or simply laugh.
16. Say “I’m sorry”….and mean it. Don’t hesitate to apologize to your team when you make a mistake. Whether it’s due to a scheduling error or a foul mood, show them you’re human – and humble – too.
17. Offer constructive feedback. Employees need to know how they’re doing, so offer constructive feedback right away. Don’t keep it to yourself until performance review time.
18. Give back. Don’t place limits on goodwill. Give freely back to the world and your community by hosting fundraisers, events, and other worthwhile causes that are meaningful to your team.
19. Be authentic. People are smart; they can see through a façade. So always, always be authentic. It will set the stage for everyone around you to do the same.
20. Make it special. If you choose to give gifts, perhaps for holidays or birthdays, make it special. Do away with generic gifts and select a gift that would be meaningful to the employee. They love music? Great! An iTunes gift card would be perfect.
21. Have fun! Life is really too short to do anything other than what you love. So take the chance to be silly and carefree with your team any chance you get. Crank up some music, host a talent show, or wear pajamas to a meeting.
Let’s Change the Workplace
More than half of the employees in North America complain of constant, high stress levels at work. We can – and must – do better than that.
Life is too short to be anything but happy.
Incorporating these behaviors into your everyday routine – which really just breaks down to being thoughtful and caring towards others – leads to a happier workplace. One where stress is much less pervasive too.
The simple act of being present and listening can make an enormous impact in the lives of your team. It may just ignite the spark that transforms their day, week, year…or perhaps even their life.