Keeping your employees happy results in gains for your business in terms of efficiency and sustained customer satisfaction. Employee happiness translates to customer happiness. Plus, happy employees stay with the company, which reduces the high cost associated with replacing the employee. In addition to search costs for things like online job search and the time spent on interviewing and onboarding new employees, you also experience operational costs as new employees aren’t as productive initially and require training.
Thus, maintaining a happy employee is critical for a business wanting to succeed.
If you accept the premise that employee happiness translates to customer happiness, the next question you should ask is: how do I make employees happy?
And, the answer isn’t simple.
In general, we talk about 2 tactics for achieving employee happiness and motivating them toward higher levels of achievement; employing intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors.
Intrinsic factors are internal psychological factors that make employees happy. Intrinsic factors make you happy to go to work, waking up in the morning to the excitement of what the day brings. Some of the operational actions that make employees happy at work include:
- A challenging position with opportunities for learning, advancement, and creativity without being beyond the skills and abilities of the worker
- Jobs that are interesting, where each day offers something different
- Fellow workers who are fun and easy to work with; where everyone pulls their weight and willingly helps co-workers
- Recognition of your hard work from supervisors and co-workers; treating employees as valued members of your community
- The ability to solve customer problems and make customers happy
- Optimal stress
In contrast, extrinsic factors represent tangible rewards or punishments given out by the organization. Among the tools companies use for extrinsic motivation and happiness are:
- Salary and benefits
- Penalties, such as demotions, salary decreases, etc
- Perks such as meals, entertainment, or travel. For instance, many tech firms provide free meals and snacks, offer company entertainment options such as movies, sports, or gaming, and personal care such as massages, laundry services, and sleep pods.
One of the interesting aspects of this notion of happiness is that extrinsic motivators work over the short run while intrinsic factors work over the long run as well. For instance, if you’re given a raise, you feel great about your job for a time but, before long, the raise is forgotten and you develop the “what have you done for me lately” attitude. In contrast, providing interesting work keeps creating happiness as you receive the reward every day.
Rather than using one type of motivation or another, you must judiciously use both intrinsic and extrinsic factors to ensure employee happiness over time.
Today, I’d like to discuss one type of motivational factor, employee leave, and how you can use it for both intrinsic and extrinsic happiness.
Navigating employee leave is a tricky thing. It’s hard to know how much leave you should provide employees, and what type of leave you should use because employee leave is both a perk as well as an indication that you value the employee. There are also legal elements impacting employee leave, such as requirements for family leave.
Understanding employee leave is important because it communicates the value placed on workers while demonstrating fairness to all employees so everyone understands the rules. So, keep reading to find out more!
Unpaid leave vs. paid leave
Understanding the basic difference between unpaid and paid leave is quite easy. With unpaid leave, employees get to take leave, but they do not get paid, whereas, with paid leave, they get paid their full salary, even while on leave. However, knowing when to grant which type of leave is a bit trickier.
Usually, employees provide several paid leave days, including annual leave and sick leave, although company policies vary and employees don’t all have the same options for paid leave. For instance, a retailer might provide leave for managers and no leave for front-line workers. Commonly, businesses adjust the amount of leave awarded based on the length of service.
Once an employee uses all their paid leave, the employer may allow them to take unpaid leave. Other types of leave, such as those falling under the Family and Medical Leave Act, are federally mandated and some businesses categorize them as unpaid leave. To learn more about this, contact an FMLA lawyer who can help you navigate the legal issues related to employee leave.
How much leave should you provide?
Different countries and even different regions within a country may impact the minimum leave offered to employees. In Europe, for instance, employees are guaranteed a certain amount of leave, with additional leave awarded for parents of new children, marriage, or other situations.
In addition to government mandates, many businesses contract with staff regarding the amount of leave available and dictating procedures for taking leave to ensure the business has a sufficient workforce at all times. For instance, only a certain number of workers may take leave at once and busy times for the business might allow no employee leave. However, compassion in the workplace is important as it shows that you value employees, so being flexible and understanding regarding special circumstances contributes to employee happiness.
Types of leave
There are many different types of leave, and depending on where your business is, you face different regulations and norms. If you’re ever unsure of what to do in a situation regarding an employee’s leave, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with a professional – rather safe than sorry, right. You can learn more about the most popular types of leave by clicking here.
When should you hire someone else?
In most cases, an employee taking leave affects the business in some way, but not drastically as most businesses can accommodate short breaks by backfilling with existing employees. However, this is not a long-term solution. If an employee plans a long absence, such as for military leave, you may need to consider hiring someone in their stead. A temporary worker is a good idea. Even if you only need to hire this worker for a temporary period, you should still make sure that you hire the right person.
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