How to Make Joy a Priority in the Workplace

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

How to Make Joy a Priority in the Workplace

Our workplaces have become more advanced, and everywhere, the focus is on optimisation. Organisations 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 organisations 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.

Understanding joy in the workplace

Human beings inherently excel when they are happy. 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.

At its basic level, an organisation 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 organisation?  

1. Better teamwork


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 people who make you happy.

This makes it easier for management to form teams and make lateral changes to increase productivity. 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, which will further increase employee satisfaction. That will create a virtuous cycle of joy leading to employee wellbeing leading to innovation leading to joy.

3. Talent recognition


A joyous organisation 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 organisations to attract the right talent and retain them with ease. Beyond monetary rewards, what employees value is a company culture that actively appreciates performance.

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 organisation’s objectives, be invested in what they do, and find meaning in their work.

Wherever there’s a “joy gap,” employees will be detached from the company’s vision, and be less motivated to go the extra mile. Those are organisations 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 organisation neglects joy, the 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 organisations 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 organisations 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 increase happiness 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, it 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 favourable 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 prioritise joy in the workplace is to get inputs from the employees. What matters to them - a better choice of food in the pantry, outside lunches, gaming hours, travel subsidies, etc. - may not be instantly recognisable to HR without feedback. In fact, HR could add gamification to the process of getting suggestions, making it more joyous.

Be socially responsible

Today’s workforce expects and demands their employers to be sensitive to the broader needs of society. This means that organisations 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 digitisation, 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, organisations 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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