Tips for Enhancing Non-Profit Employees’ Workplace Happiness (Without Breaking the Bank)

Let’s face it, happy employees are productive employees and not only is that good for day in and day out morale, but it is good for the organization’s bottom line. Smart organizations and HR departments know that it pays to invest in their people. Organizations are hiring “Perk Managers” whose sole task is to recruit and retain the best talent and keep them happy.

Happy employees are less likely to leave, more inclined to contribute above and beyond the job description, and more supportive of customers and fellow employees.

Keeping your employees is more than just the bottom line, it is about doing the right thing and creating a positive workplace culture that gives back to its work force and ultimately its community.

Clearly, when employees are fairly compensated for their work, that is one of the first places to start. After all, not many people come to work to volunteer their time. However, multiple sources tell us that pay alone is not the driving test of a happy employee.

For small, struggling nonprofit organizations, hiring a perk manager or increasing salaries may not be an option. There are some tangible actions you can take, however that are relatively low cost, yet yield high results in terms of employee happiness.

  • Foster a positive, affirming atmosphere: When management embraces thankfulness and positive social support, it takes off like wildfire among the rest of the organization. Simply showing gratitude spontaneously to employees for good efforts or making changes will charge your staff tenfold. Give recognition to staff who are supportive and have positive attitudes. Support volunteer organizations as an office or organization and provide time off for employees who participate.
  • Keep a fun workplace. This is not to say endless ping pong and foosball tournaments all day, but allowing for and encouraging moments of fun and laughter can build team bonds as well as relieve stress. You will see creativity and energy increase as you encourage individuality and fun. Consider Thirsty Thursdays, yoga classes, nerf gun battles, Halloween contests, inner-department contests, as well as holiday and milestone celebrations.
  • Open Door Policy…really. If management is available and approachable and responds with an open mind to suggestions, critiques, and issues, then employee satisfaction and commitment is through the roof. Managers need to be engaged, know their teams and in touch with who their staff are beyond what they do at the office. This fosters trusts and an invitation to communicate. Employees need to feel heard and that they can make a difference as well as a part of solutions. Feedback can be gathered as management gets out of the office and gets to know the group. Allow for anonymous sharing via the organization’s blogs. Go beyond that and address what is shared and show that you are willing to make changes and invest in your staff happiness and suggestions.
  • Facilitate work life balance: Workers in the US are notorious for long job hours, work that negatively detracts from family life. When workers are shown that their personal life is important to the organization, they feel appreciated and valued. Allowing for emergency in home care for dependents, tuition assistance, child care support, health screening and fitness club discounts as well as discounted sports team tickets, other event tickets and discounted ski passes.
  • Flexible work environment: This can mean allowing for flex commute times to reduce time in traffic congestion, allowing work from home flexibility, or converting office space to more comfortable environments with sofa’s quiet desk alternatives, and café-style tables.

Studies have shown that when employees have been allowed to work from home, they are 13% more productive and 50% less likely to leave their jobs.

There is a huge array of options out there for workplace rewards. Most of those shared here are relatively low cost, yet will result in a big jump in job satisfaction and a surge in productivity. Integrate these into your office culture and you will see happier employees. We just bet that will “trickle up” and result in happier managers as well.

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