“Teams structured around open communication and honest feedback are generally the happiest and most engaged; employees have a stronger connection to the company, their work, and their colleagues.” – Aoife Geary, Content Editor, Jobbio
At Dropbox we believe creative energy and enlightened working are crucial to a happy and productive workforce. But they are only contributing factors. Each workplace is different and there are many aspects of employment that can help create a happy workplace. That’s why reports like Jobbio’s recent #WorkHappy Index are important to help us better understand what makes people truly happy at work.
As a company, Jobbio is all about helping people find jobs that are fulfilling, challenging, and worthwhile. It currently helps some 6,000+ companies find the talent they are looking for, while providing a platform for job seekers to highlight their capabilities and passion projects to prospective employers. It seeks to be authentic and original in its approach to the recruitment market, conducting research into working practices, culture, and tackling big issues like the gender pay gap.
We caught up with Aoife Geary, Content Editor at Jobbio, to find out more about the research, and what leaders can do to create workplaces where people want to stay.
“What makes a happy workplace is clearly a subjective issue,” says Aoife. “But, for me, it is one where employees are given freedom and autonomy over their work, and an environment where they’re challenged but also supported.”
We are motivated best by our own intrinsic motivators such as autonomy and the opportunity to keep improving. Creating an environment where your teams are free to work the way they want to will help you create a more effective and happier team. “One of the more expected responses from our report was the volume of people who stated that flexible working hours would make them more happy at work,” says Aoife. “People evidently want freedom and control over how they work. In fact, the top factor in identifying a good employer was their promotion of a good work-life balance.”
“The research also shows that companies are becoming more aware of this. They know they need to be less rigid, and understand the importance of allowing employees more freedom, and trusting them to do the right thing at work,” continues Aoife. “People are working remotely more frequently but a huge percentage want even more flexibility on working hours. We are also starting to see companies introduce wellbeing initiatives too, encouraging employees to be more mindful of their physical and mental health.”
Keeping your employees healthy by providing them the opportunity to unwind and relieve stress is a great way to improve the happiness of your working environment. Our recent blog articles with Headspace, a digital service that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training, illuminated the importance of a healthy mind by showing just how much more effective teams can be when free from stress.
Creating happy working environments however, doesn’t just come down encouraging your team to engage in mindfulness. You also need to engage your team in the work that you are doing. “The most positive working environments are those built on a genuine belief in the company mission and direction,” explains Aoife. “The research demonstrates that as a workforce, our priorities have changed from a comfortable paycheque to a career where we can have real impact. People want to work on projects that matter and that are adding value to people’s lives in some way.”
“The next piece of the puzzle is making it easier for your employees to collaborate, whether with their immediate team or the wider business,” continues Aoife. “Everyone brings something different to the table so there is always an opportunity to learn from each other. Therefore, collaboration is highly valuable and it should be a natural thing for your teams to do.”
Technology, she says, is helping make collaboration simpler, breaking down the real and imagined siloes between teams. “We use technology at Jobbio to connect with our audiences, better understand the content they want and then work with different elements of the business to create truly engaging stuff. Collaboration is critical to us producing our best work.”
Asked for any advice on how to improve the working environment, Aoife had this to say: “The research shows that employees want to be trusted more. You’ve hired them to do a job so you need to trust them to get on with it. Set KPIs and delivery dates but allow your employees to determine their own process. It will lead to better working relationships and to better outputs as employees take more autonomy over their work. Ultimately, you want to create an environment where your team feel comfortable offering feedback and critique of one another’s work, regardless of the role they’re in. You must value fresh perspectives as that leads to more creative energy in the workplace.”
Download your copy of the #WorkHappy Index from the Jobbio website and read more stories of how to improve your working environment, here.