A few weeks ago, we discussed a variety of ways for companies to keep their customers happy. And while this is extremely important, we can’t overstress the flip side of that coin: your employees. A recent article by Fast Company compared the American workforce to the Danish workforce, and some of the findings were (frighteningly) surprising. For one, according to statistics collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average American works 1,790 hours per year, while the average Dane works 1,540 (plus has five to six weeks for vacation!).
While we shouldn’t expect any sweeping changes to magically shorten our work week, the Fast Company article does suggest that we learn from the Danish concept of arbejdsglæde, which means “happiness at work.” At Pardot, we’ve learned that happy employees are more productive, enjoy their work more, and lead to happier customers. Let’s take a look at a few lessons learned from this workplace study, and a few ways that we have learned to cultivate our employees here at Pardot.
1. Encourage an Open Door Policy
The Fast Company article encourages companies to implement an organizational structure with a “low power distance,” which puts management and employees on more equal footing. By enforcing an open door policy, in which employees are not only welcome, but encouraged to approach management with issues and ideas, you’re empowering your employees to take matters into their own hands. When employees feel like they have a say in the company vision, and have the power to control their own destinies, their workplace satisfaction will only increase.
2. Trust Your Employees
In fact, by empowering your employees, you’re also increasing their autonomy. Giving them the freedom to voice their own opinions and pursue the projects that matter to them proves that you’ve given them your trust — and employees want to work first and foremost for companies that appreciate and value their work. In this way, professional relationships should be treated very similarly to any other relationship. Employees should be able to trust each other to do their best work, and do it well.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Apple Inc.
3. Invest in Your Employees
In Denmark, companies spend more on employee training than in any other country. Unsurprisingly, this investment in employee success is a main contributor to workplace satisfaction. This helps employees grow in their careers and further develop the skill sets they’ll need to be successful. If your company doesn’t have a program in place for professional growth, even something like a free mentor program, you’re missing multiple opportunities: the chance to show your employees that you’re willing to invest in their success, and the chance to further develop employee resources that you already have.
4. Don’t Shy Away from Fun Benefits
While professional development is important, don’t overlook how much your employees appreciate the small gestures, too. A casual dress code or free snacks can go a long way toward making your employees feel comfortable at work, helping them better enjoy the time they spend in the office. At Pardot, we invest a lot of our time in little perks to help our employees enjoy their time at work, like team lunches, breakfast, readily-available scooters, and beanbag chairs. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can have the biggest impact on your employees’ happiness.
What other steps has your company taken to ensure your employees are happy? Let us know in the comments!