The great resignation has seen almost one in four UK workers plan to change jobs. The freedom of working from home for over a year has helped us put what’s most important into perspective, whether this be personal or business-related. Consequently, thousands of workers have decided they will no longer tolerate a role that makes them unhappy. Being locked away at home during multiple lockdowns has taken its toll on workplace satisfaction.
While the great resignation may signal exciting prospects to job seekers, for businesses, many are struggling to find skilled staff. With UK job vacancies at an all-time high, there is a real risk of businesses losing valuable talent due to workplace dissatisfaction, which could seriously damage growth prospects.
It’s time for businesses to stop paying lip service to workplace happiness and wellbeing, and start making tangible changes that increase long-term employee engagement.
How to maintain a happy workplace
A happy workplace is usually a productive, flexible and resilient one, simply because employees enjoy being at work. But happiness is not something you can buy. It comes from actions. For businesses, this means building a positive workplace culture from the ground up – one that’s inclusive and diverse, where employees feel respected and valued.
Understanding employees’ emotional intelligence can help businesses improve self-awareness, empathy, and spot signs of unhappiness at work. For instance, by recognising those who are not as present in their role as they once were. By gaining clarity around emotional intelligence, businesses can modify their approach to boost productivity and achieve greater workplace satisfaction.
Business leaders must also recognise the enormous amount of pressure employees have been under since the onset of the pandemic. Multiple lockdowns, furlough and isolation have naturally taken their toll on mental health. Workload pressure, tight deadlines and a lack of managerial support all contribute to unhappiness at work – people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses! Business leaders and line managers must actively encourage employee feedback to implement meaningful change. Creating channels for employees to share their thoughts quarterly – or even monthly – is an effective way of doing so. But businesses must also walk the talk and act on feedback, or employees will lose faith and disengage. It’s about encouraging a culture of positivity and change.
Ensuring development plans are a top priority is another tactic firms can employ to avoid losing talent. People are more likely to leave their job if they feel stuck, under-stimulated and bored. Job shadowing, mentors, re-skilling and upskilling are all ways to highlight career progression opportunities for employees. Not only will this drive productivity and engagement, but it will also aid retention, as employees feel respected, inspired and have a greater sense of purpose.
Happiness is the highest level of success
Happiness hasn’t always been seen as a necessity in the workplace, but in today’s world, it can be the difference between business growth and losing top talent.
More needs to be done to manage workplace happiness. It’s what drives business success. Listening to employees and understanding the diverse personality traits of the workforce by measuring emotional intelligence can help businesses boost morale, and uncover the root cause of issues. Only then can businesses empower employees and wake up from the great resignation nightmare.