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How to keep your employees happy

To engage the workforce and remain competitive, it’s no longer sufficient to focus solely on benefits. Top employers create an environment where employees feel connected to the organization and have a positive work experience that’s part of a rich, fulfilling life.

The best benefit you can provide to your employees is the opportunity to make a difference through their work and help guide the company’s course. Benefits such as clear and frequent communication on company happenings, individual and department direction, and big-picture company direction make all the difference in employee happiness.

Employee happiness is getting a lot of attention in today’s workplace – but why should you care? It’s easy: Research demonstrates the link between happy employees and thriving business. One indicator found that happy employees are 20% more productive than their counterparts; that figure rose to 37% when assessing sales people. Discovering how to keep employees happy doesn’t just make sense – it makes dollars.

If employee stats aren’t enough, look to the stock market, where stock prices rose by 14% per year between 1998 and 2005 for companies listed under Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For." Wondering what makes employees happy? You’ll need to take a look at your own company culture.

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A "good" employer is one who sets clear expectations to employees, including what is to be done, when it is to be done by, and where it goes after they complete their responsibilities. Within these expectations, you need to set clear boundaries, demonstrate healthy leadership and provide sound direction.

This means spelling out rules, regulations, policies and procedures. While you can usually accomplish this by creating a comprehensive employee manual, a good employer or manager will also use the "personal touch" by talking with employees in group and one-on-one settings.

Whatever expectations you set, make sure they are consistent with all employees. Include such things as clocking in early, break times, lunch hours, etc. For example, is it acceptable to clock in early and leave work early? Are breaks mandatory? Will an employee be "docked" if they consistently take too long for lunch?

The more issues and expectations you outline, the fewer problems arise, which leads to productive workers.

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