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Leadership strategies to make employees happy

Team celebrates victory


As a leader, it’s no surprise that one of your most important roles is making sure employees are productive day in and day out. Many executives have tried to increase team productivity by adopting cutting edge technology and testing the most successful workflow methods they could find. Unfortunately, they are missing an important ingredient. The best way to increase productivity is to make your employees happy.

Don’t just take my word for it. In 2019, Oxford University’s Saïd Business School published a study that found workers are 13% more productive when they feel happy. Not only does productivity improve dramatically, but it is also more likely that happy employees will stay in the long run. That means you can enjoy low turnover rates and keep the best people to yourself.

The question now is how do you make your employees happy? While there are many factors that contribute to happiness, the following leadership strategies are sure to get you and your team on the right track.

Promote friendship with team building activities

A 2018 survey found that more than half of employees felt lonely at work and that number has only increased because of the changes associated with Covid-19. Whether or not your team is currently working remotely, take advantage of team building activities to combat loneliness and make your employees happier. When your employees are friends with each other, it is easier to feel happy at work. It’s like going to school as a kid feeling excited about sharing a class with friends instead of feeling isolated at a new school.

When planning team building activities, consider the different personalities of your employees. Keep in mind that not everyone will be interested in a karaoke night (unless you have an unusually sociable team). Don’t underestimate the value of activities like small group walks or events with family members. Employees are more likely to form natural bonds when they are relaxed, rather than when forced outside their social comfort zones.

Celebrate the victories

Even your humble and calmest employees will appreciate being recognized for their hard work. While they may not seek recognition, acknowledgment that they are performing well can breathe new life into employees who may be feeling a little burned out. In fact, 79% of U.S. employees who leave their jobs say they wrapped it up because they didn’t feel valued. Finding ways to celebrate the victories will give your entire team a welcome boost in morale.

Something I recently started with my team is ringing a gong every time we close a sale. Whoever rings the gong receives our praise, and the entire office can celebrate the victory for the company. This has quickly turned into a fun and motivating tradition.

There are endless ways to celebrate victories with your team. Treat team members to lunch after they achieve an ambitious goal or hold a friendship contest where the winners will receive gift cards. For your silent heroes, a friendly message or a one-on-one meeting thanking them for their hard work can be just as effective.

Congratulations on the milestones in life

Not only do you congratulate your employees on their work-related successes and successes, but also congratulate them when they have reached personal milestones. You see them mostly at work, but they focus on a lot of things outside of the office. Recognizing the personal life of employees helps them achieve the work-life balance that really creates the conditions for true happiness.

They can celebrate anything from birthdays and anniversaries to closing their first house or getting a graduate degree. There is no life event too small to be mentioned. Ask your HR manager about the new puppy or your sales manager how the painting class goes. Taking an interest in someone’s life can make their day easier and help them feel valued.

Simply achieving your goals goes a long way towards making your employees happy, but having the support and ability to grab life by the horns goes further. By giving a coworker who is about to go back to school, parental leave when an employee has a new child, or flexible hours, you show that you care about your employees beyond the hours they devote to your company.

Listen to feedback

Even after all of the work you do to keep your employees happy, there is always something that can be improved. At the end of the day, your employees will be assessing the working conditions and at least one of them will have some ideas on how to make things even better. A good leader will listen to them and do their best to use their feedback.

First, make it known that you are open to feedback on your leadership style and how the company operates. Then take the time to sit down with each employee who has a glimpse they want to share, whether it’s improving communication between departments or suggesting changes to the office’s new floor plan.

When you receive feedback, think seriously about it. Some of the best decisions you make are made by your people. Make the right settings and they’ll be happy that you not only listened but delivered. Be sure to schedule follow-up meetings with employees who have reached out to you to discuss the changes made or explain why they were propagated.

How do you measure happiness? You can see it on the faces of your employees every day. When smiles and laughs are easy to come by, communication is smooth, and the team chemistry is solid, you know your leadership strategies are working.


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