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How to Make Joy a Priority in the Workplace

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

How to Make Joy a Priority in the Workplace

Our workplaces have become more advanced, and everywhere, the focus is on optimization. Organizations across the board want to make their processes more productive and increase output. Sadly, amidst all these, there's little focus on the primary factor that motivates employees: joy.

By now, everyone knows the importance of employee engagement. It has demonstrable effects on a company's bottom line, can help organizations attract and retain talent, and encourage a culture of innovation and productivity. At the core of that heightened employee experience is the joy employees derive at their workplace.

What Drives Joy?

There are many things that create "joy" in the workroom, even in a remote working environment. First and foremost, success helps in creating a substantial degree of joy. In turn, joy fuels team harmony and career success. However, there is more than success that fosters a joyful workplace, creates happy employees, and encourages positive change for the whole team.

Here are other Joy drivers:

  • joy arises from the idea of creating productive ideas that make a positive societal contribution
  • joy at work sparks from creating strong bonds with team members, business leaders, and possibly the business owner
  • leaders who incorporate meaningful efforts to make employees feel heard
  • palpable joy stems from believing one's work
  • funding for mental health benefits

In addition to the drivers outlined above, team experiences also correlate with joy at a significant level. For example, your worker would feel more joy when co-workers celebrate shared success.

Making Joy a Priority at Work: Understanding Joy in the Workplace

People intrinsically seek joy. Human beings inherently excel when they are happy or when they feel joy. Joy connects people. Part of the reason is that joy gets people to relax and look beyond short-term problems. Joy also brings out people's best attributes and encourages them to seek further success and pursue new ideas.

At its basic level, an organization can be said to be joyous when its employees look forward to Mondays. But beyond that, what are the components of joy? And what are the differences that one can spot in a joyous organization?  

1. Better Teamwork

In team athletics, factors like harmony, impact and acknowledgement visibly yield joy. The same factors can affect how much joy employees feel in a team environment.

When people are happy to work for a company, they are open to forming professional bonds without cynicism or suspicions. It helps employees trust their superiors and coworkers. After all, it's difficult to hate a team member who makes you happy and who exudes a positive attitude.

This makes it easier for management to form teams and make lateral changes to increase productivity and team performance. Employees here don't work in limiting silos. This fosters a culture of organic innovation as different domains learn from each other.

2. Result-Oriented

‍ When employees find joy in what they do, they look forward to challenges. Moreover, when your company culture delivers happiness, there's more incentive to sustain that culture.

This removes barriers to innovation and promotes problem-solving and giving practical advice to colleagues who may need it, which will further increase employee satisfaction and help in achieving business goals. That will create a virtuous cycle of joy leading to employee well-being and innovation and allow employees to experience joy in their work life.

3. Talent Recognition

‍In the business world, many leaders tend to think more about achieving a goal than finding joy, which may create a more toxic work environment. Many companies struggle with a high turnover rate because of this kind of work culture.

A joyous organization puts due emphasis not just on the bottom line or the outcome but also on the process. This means consciously and publicly appreciating and celebrating employee efforts.

This makes it easier for organizations to attract the right talent and retain them with ease. Beyond monetary rewards, what employees value is a company culture that actively appreciates performance and celebrates achievements in their professional life.

From an employee's point of view, joy in the workplace translates to a company culture where everyone knows their role, is willing to work with others without any friction, and knows that the system will reward their performance without prejudice.

That's the workplace where the employees will stay aligned with the organization's objectives, be invested in what they do, and find meaning in their work. Having an engaged workforce ensures high levels of innovation and success.

Wherever there's a “joy gap,” employees will be detached from the company's vision and their colleagues, and be less motivated to go the extra mile to meet a shared purpose. Those are organizations that will witness high levels of employee attrition and low levels of innovation.

Adding Joy to Work

The need to bring joy to the workplace is especially important when you consider the fact that happiness is relative. Employees are privy to employee engagement initiatives in other companies and have a realistic understanding of their employee experience, thanks to the internet and social media.

If an organization neglects joy, the joy gap will be compounded by the steps others take to increase happiness in their offices. What one company neglects will be magnified by what another encourages. So, it's in the best interests of organizations to take proactive measures to make their workplaces joyous and meaningful.

To make it easy and practical for HR managers and those in leadership, here are some strategies that will add joy to work and make their organizations irresistible places for the right talent.

Make It Intentional

Joy cannot be a fortunate outcome. It has to be a corporate objective with actionable insights and measurable goals. There should be an agreed-upon agenda to increasing happiness and improving health in the workplace that the human resources team needs to roll out with the complete backing of the management. Without explicit support of the leadership, your efforts to increase joy may come across as a one-off activity with no larger intent.

Share It with the Workforce

Leaders should also share their goals with their team members. Increasing joy shouldn't be tied to a favorable business outcome but be regarded as a core purpose. This brings accountability to the process and ensures participation across all levels. Once it's made public, employees will know that employee satisfaction and wellbeing are on top of the corporate agenda.

Encourage Crossover Initiatives

Rigidity is the enemy of joy. To improve workplace employee experiences, companies should encourage their talent to work with those outside their domains. This fluidity will impart freedom, something that employees cherish and is closely aligned with joy.

Involve Everyone

One of the most effective ways to prioritize joy in the workplace is to get inputs from the employees. What matters to them - a better choice of food in the pantry, better access to health care, less chances of long hours at work, outside lunches, gaming hours, travel subsidies, etc. - may not be instantly recognizable to HR without feedback. In fact, HR could add gamification to the process of getting suggestions, making it more joyous.

Another way of involving your workers is by crafting business cultures that promote a stronger sense of personal interconnection, having a shared purpose and heartfelt pride in their work and creating strong bonds within the team.

Be Socially Responsible

Today's workforce expects and demands their employers to be sensitive to the broader needs of society. This means that organizations will not only have to formally state their views but take concrete actions to create a company culture that values sustainability, inclusion, and diversity. Importantly, companies should share the steps they take to make their workplaces more inclusive and open.

With increasing digitization, any internal joy gap will be there for the whole world to see. That will deter the right talent from joining and encourage existing employees to leave. To solve the issue, organizations should accept that joy is what people live for. It's what gets them to be creative and committed. Importantly, it's also something that can be nurtured.

By giving employees the ability to provide honest feedback, Qualee delivers actionable insights that can help you understand whether your employees are happy in the workplace. Create a company culture full of joy with Qualee and sign up for our FREE Starter Plan today.

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