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Are your future employees happy?

Happy

When looking at the companies that are leading the world in staff happiness, their success is often seen to be driven by benefits and incentives for their staff. These can range from flexible working hours to discount vouchers, career advancement and even team bonding exercises, but they are only part of the story. Staff motivation, employee satisfaction, employee loyalty and dedication to the cause all start with a “happy” work environment. Of course “happy” can mean different things to different people right? Well, it seems that some factors are common to most employees – to be respected and recognised for their work, to work for a successful or ambitious company, and to have faith in those around them. In other words, strong management, recognition of good work and colleagues we respect, as well as staff incentives, are the key to making the difference between a happy employee and a happy, dedicated and loyal employee.

Best of all though, is a company who will listen to their employees and be willing to adapt to their changing requirements as a workforce and as individuals.

In the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For 2014, Stuart Paterson, co-director of Crystal Palace Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre: “At our staff away days we have spoken about the tough situation that we all face due to the downward pressure on pricing.

“We reassure the team that we have a can-do culture and a diverse business, and that if we look after each other we will sail through these choppy waters and get to the other side.”

Greg Horton, executive head of Nedbank Private Wealth International: “The most crucial element in a service industry such as ours is to communicate with your team with honesty.”

So we are all able to recognise these are great models for our own businesses, and we can apply these traits to our employee policies.

But what about staff who don’t work for us yet? Should we be thinking about how our companies are represented even before someone applies for a job?

Of course, a happy workforce is also happy in their own community, and is therefore singing your praises, the best advert you could hope for in terms of potential employees. If you have a happy workforce then you will most likely be a successful company and therefore have a good reputation financially, and having implemented all those wonderful policies which you saw as a model for a happy company, you may even be seen in the press doing charitable works and on the television news as an authority in your field.

In the process of recruiting new staff however, all this good work can be undone.

It is vitally important to remember that a new employee’s dedication starts from the moment they hear about the job. They may attend an assessment centre. Does the room reflect your company culture? Is everyone involved in the day representative of your best and brightest?

Perhaps you have retined someone like Work Tree Consulting to find top talent for you. If so, congratulations! But make sure your recruiter is fully briefed and can represent you efectively. If we only know half the story then the perfect fit candidate may elude you.

What about your job spec? Is it the same as your job advert, and job description? If you answered yes, then you are doing your potential employees a disservice. They deserve to understand what they are looking to commit their working lives to. They deserve to get an honest picture of the company, and the expectations of them, as well as what they can expect in return.

So, you’ve advertised effectively, reviewed the CVs for the senior role and taken the assessment centre for the junior roles. Even now, it is easy for a company to give a bad impression by delaying feedback, and it’s of course possible to miss out on the best candidates by dragging out a decision. Second interviews should come swiftly after, and if a decision can be made but there is a delay before the new employee can start that’s fine – as long as communication is honest. Finally, offer letters or contracts and all other communications prior to a start date should be consistent.

But why, you are thinking, should I have to “sell” my company? Hasn’t there just been a recession? Aren’t people desperate for jobs? Regardless of the truth or otherwise of this thinking, it is the companies who manage recession and come out of it stronger who succeed in the long term. And what makes those companies successful is happy staff. The sooner you can help all incoming staff “get happy”, the sooner you will see success.

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About The Author
Matt Goulette, Director of Work Tree Consulting Ltd.

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