Is Employee Happiness the Missing Ingredient?
This month marks my fifth year in PR. From my first day of writing a press release to the very first time I picked up the phone to call a journalist, this field has not only forced me to leave my comfort zone of working in advertising behind, but also brought out my latent talents that I did not fully recognize before.
Working in communications you are always focused on delivering the best results to your clients. I have learnt from past managers to under promise and over deliver, as our job is to make sure a client’s business is well understood before the entire team commits to a strategy to take it to the next level.
However, in all the years I have worked in different industries (not just PR), I have seen a disconnect between the employer and employee. The phrase “the customer is king” or “the customer is always right” has been reiterated hundreds of times. Yes, somehow, in my humble opinion, this only emphasizes the fact that the importance of good employees is only second to that of clients. A company can be customer-focused, product-focused or service-focused, but it is equally important for it to be employee-focused. When employees are confident and happy in their roles, the real impact of this stretches to the company as a whole.
While it is important to ensure employees are fulfilling the tasks they are recruited for, it is equally necessary to pay attention to employee’s needs. An employer’s attention to the smallest matters concerning an employee can make a huge difference and ensure their loyalty for years to come. Many studies have been done and articles written on how there is, in fact, a strong correlation between happy employees and the high level of quality and service provided by organizations. Happy employees are therefore the key link that lead to happy customers. Here are a few crucial elements in making employees feel valued:
- Management’s role in giving employees recognition – Why is this so important? Recognizing good work should never be underestimated, as this not only increases employees’ confidence but encourages them to perform at their best.
Secondly, employee recognition plays a huge role in giving a powerful message that their work is valued and appreciated. Evan a small gesture of appreciation goes a long way in boosting the employee’s morale which in turn has a butterfly effect on the performance of the whole team. In my opinion, this seemingly small but potent management technique is often undervalued at the workplace.
- Employee Surveys – Why are they important? Surveys give the employees an opportunity to voice out their concerns remaining anonymous which adds a comfort level and encourages them to point out challenging areas without the fear of being judged. Managers can then address those areas which ultimately contributes to the improvement in workplace policies overall. Of the fourteen years I have been working, I have come across this technique being used only once! Which makes me want to emphasize again that small shifts in procedures can create a lasting impact in the workplace culture.
- Company Culture – Why is this important? Perhaps this is the single most vital element in the entire equation. A company culture stems from its vision and values that shapes how the company operates and communication flows within. A good company culture is based on ensuring a low turnover and decreasing the costs associated with disengaged employees. Management should ensure feelings of negativity are kept at bay, because as PR consultants, ours is a job that thrives on passion and vigor which has to be present each day in order for us to chase deadlines and generate creative ideas to serve clients better. Disengagement simply takes the life out of our jobs. The solution here again is communication – regular talks with the employees about their health, their overall wellbeing and how they are coping with work stress can lead to a massive change in how they view their work environment.
Working in PR, I have formed friendships with clients and media along the way that are highly valuable for me. Personally, I like to have the same equation with employers I work for and feel secure and well cared for in my role in order to be happy. Fortunately, joining Active DMC recently has shown me that there are organizations which prioritize the wellbeing and happiness of their employees while rewarding them for their hard work. I think I am finally at the right place!
By Mahvish Hameed, Communications Executive, Active DMC