Five work culture hacks for a happier workplace

Gina Jones

Monday 15 August 2016

The most productive teams are those that are happiest. Here are five top tips for spreading the cheer.

It’s a widely known fact that happier teams are more productive, but it turns out that a positive mindset is more influential than you might think.

According to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: “Only 25 per cent of job success is based upon IQ. Seventy-five per cent is about how your brain believes your behaviour matters, connects to other people and manages stress.”

Want to harness this brain power into business success? Here’s how to do it:

1. Give employees a voice

When Swedish fashion giant H&M launched its first national recruiting campaign in the US this year, it used one of its best assets to sell the business: its employees. The ‘Place of Possible’ campaign included video testimonials from current team members, emphasising the benefits and positioning a job with the company as a long-term career path, rather than ‘just a job’. Giving employees a voice in this way and a sense of autonomy over their own career paths makes for a happier workforce – and one which isn’t afraid to shout about that to get new team members in!

2. Turn your team into believers

Natural cosmetics company Lush, which has stores across Europe, gives its shop staff access to all new products free of charge, as well as supplies of products for hands on training sessions. “We like all our shop staff to be able to talk about and recommend products from personal experience, as well as product knowledge training,” says the company’s website.

As a result, its team are almost evangelical when talking about its products and even upload their own Lush haul videos to YouTube.

By giving employees free access to products and encouraging them to have a personal connection with what they are selling, companies can cultivate this kind of enthusiasm – which can only be good for morale and sales.

3. Get up and go

Holland consistently ranks as having the happiest workers in Europe, and experts think that physical exercise may be a contributing factor. In fact, it came top of 28 European countries for physical exercise, with the highest percentage of its population getting moderate exercise at least four days a week.

Employees at Schipol airport, in Amsterdam, were offered free bicycle loans as part of the Your SchipolBIKE scheme. They were given a choice of two types of bicycle, which they could access by registering online and use around the airport grounds or to pop out during breaks. Encouraging workers to engage in physical activity at work is a great way to help boost those endorphins and create a happier team.

4. Give them a chance to give back

Soft drinks company Britvic, which has operations in the UK, Ireland and France, encourages its employees to get involved with charities by allowing them to volunteer during work time. Team members are given two hours per month (or up to two full days a year) of paid work time to help out with good causes in their local communities. It’s all part of their ‘Learning for Life’ corporate responsibility programme, the idea being that employees can use their resources to give back to others, but they also get the opportunity to learn new skills while undertaking their charity work.

5. Invest in your team

The Marriott hotel group prides itself on frequently promoting from within; thousands of its managers began their careers with the group in entry-level positions and Marriott associates average 78 hours of training and 34 hours of professional development each year. It’s currently investing in the future of the business via its Voyage Global Leadership Development Program, which offers hands-on training in a variety of areas of the business and is currently available in more than 30 countries, including nine in Europe.

While training can be costly, investing directly in up-skilling your existing team will not only make them feel valued and encourage employee loyalty, but it will also add to the bottom line by retaining all those skills in-house.

Finally, remember that changing your team’s mindset and encouraging optimism is probably less difficult than you think. Make your employees feel valued and enable them to perform at the top of their game by arming them with the right devices.

Combining form and function, the Yoga 900 BE is a stylish laptop with serious processing power. It’s one of a range of flexible devices from Lenovo that can effectively support businesses and their employees as they embrace the future of work.