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There are many factors responsible for an Organization’s short-term survival and long-term success especially in the New Normal. Maintaining Employee happiness be it Permanent staff or Temporary & Contract Workers, is very crucial and has serious implications even though most often it is misperceived as an easy task for HR leaders.

In the current scenario it is important to maintain happiness of Temporary staff to stay nimble and adaptable. We see that happy Temporary & Contract staff can help the organization reduce turnover cost and raise productivity, two things that is imperative for Organizations to sustain in the New normal. Our APAC Workforce Insights Report found that Happier Contract & Temporary employees were more likely to complete their Contract period or project they have undertaken. Focus on Temporary & Contract Workforce has escalated in the last few months as a result of rightsizing adapted by many Organizations.

Stability and Productivity are key defining factors for Organizations to tide through this wave of unprecedented environment while keeping the morale and engagement of employees high during remote working time. Our APAC Workforce Insights report found that Happier Permanent employees were more likely to stay with their Organization for 4 years or more, providing the much-required stability and least disruption to the Organizational plan.

Employee happiness directly or indirectly affect productivity, motivation, employee turnover and absenteeism.

However, in the current scenario when majority of the work is from home and the boundaries between home and work is blurred, the challenges in maintaining employee happiness becomes magnified.

Periodic intervention that help employees manage time better and increase self-efficacy is the need of the hour to avoid burnout and maintain productivity and enhance it. Efficient utilizing of the calendar and goal setting where tasks are slotted into transactional (need to do), important (must do for self and team), Urgent (deadline to be met) as well as a slot for tasks that focuses on personal growth.

In the current scenario, Calls and video conferences have replaced the face to face work conversations among employees. However, creating an opportunity for informal conversations to replace the water cooler conversations can also help play an important part in maintaining happiness among Physically distant workforce. This will also reemphasize the feeling of belonging to the team or the whole Organization, despite the distance among employees.

Why is there so much emphasis on Employee happiness? Employee happiness and satisfaction in turn affects customer satisfaction. Employees are the driving factor behind happy Customers. Employee interactions usually define whether the Customer experience is positive or negative. Interaction with Unhappy employees can dampen the customer experience, that may later lead to serious repercussions for the Business.

Some of the factors that boost employee happiness are:

Pleasant work environment and work culture: Creating and maintaining a positive work environment and work culture deeply motivates and engages employees, instilling a sense of belonging. A healthy work environment gives employees opportunities to share ideas for the Organizational success and growth. Emphasis on two-way Communication and feedback system plays a crucial role in defining work culture that effects Employee happiness. Creating a culture where Leaders are upbeat and genuine in their approach can boost the team’s self-esteem and efficacy which will have a cascading effect on their team members and eventually towards customers. During remote working, it is even more important to ensure regular communication and engagement to maintain the culture of the Organization.

Recognition for work: Around 48% of respondents in the Kelly APAC Workforce Insights report considered Recognition for work as an important factor in Employee happiness. Creating a system that makes recognizing work easy is the first step to address this factor with a direct implication on Employee happiness. Besides having periodic awards or felicitation, it is also important to encourage impromptu praise. Sending a mail to the entire organization or writing a personal note of appreciation to the individual when you notice an employee going above and beyond their duties to achieve an organizational goal.

Work-life Balance: 52% of employees surveyed pegged Work-life balance as one of the top priority factors of employee happiness. Work-life balance is a critical factor in determining Employee happiness because it directly impacts individual productivity, team productivity as well as improves engagement and retention. Besides encouraging work-life balance, what is also important is to train People Managers in spotting an imminent burnout among team members and equip them to take meaningful action to combat the same. Organizations can also help employees by running sessions on time boxing and calendar management, that will help employees in slotting tasks and optimal use of Calendars.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Around 47% of Permanent staff and 50 % of Temporary and Contract workers surveyed in APAC 2020 Workforce Insight reports strongly believe that flexible working would make them happier. Currently work-life balance is one of the key benefits today’s employees seek from their organizations. Employers that encourage employees to adopt flexible working schedule not only benefit from Happy employees but also gain from a productive workforce and create a more desirable organization that people want to work for. Our way of work has undergone a dramatic transformation and its possible that the Pandemic is a tipping point for flexible work arrangement. Both Employees and Employers have realized that Flexible working has helped them tide the wave of the ongoing Pandemic. Even though the flexible working trend was gaining popularity before the Pandemic, embracing it in the current situation has helped Organizations stay adaptable and nimble in the New normal.

Job Autonomy: The power to choose a way to deliver a task is one of the main catalysts for job satisfaction resulting in happy employees. As human beings we attach purpose to things that belong to us, so empowering employees with Ownership aids better performance while instilling a strong sense of belonging and finding joy while doing the task. So, while job autonomy sounds hard during remote working it can be achieved with some effort. Achieving autonomy in this work from home environment requires defining a clear boundary between “work” and “home” environment. This not just helps in focusing on work as if you were at office, but also helps detach from work at the end of the day when you re-enter “home” environment. Also training people managers on learning new ways of delegation and empowerment to check in if everything is running smooth and if they need help rather than checking up with micromanagement at the forefront.

The result of satisfied and happy employees is multifold ranging from Lesser absenteeism to low turnover leading to career longevity who possess institutional know how and can contribute to the Organization in a meaningful way to achieve their Goal. Given the current scenario, it is even more important to ensure that during remote working, productivity and motivation stays intact and propelled if possible.

This article was originally published on Kelly Services Blog

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