The pull and tug of managing employees’ happiness is like a game of blackjack. As the metaphorical dealers, employers carefully scrutinize what’s on the table and hedge their bets accordingly. They must satisfy the bottom line while retaining the best and brightest around. At the same time, workers don’t want to settle for a low hand. But demanding too much may get them axed.

Companies can throw piles of cash at team-building retreats, seminars, and pizza lunches. But bolstering genuine employee happiness amid the daily grind doesn’t have to cost a cent.

  • Offer Flexible Work Options: Georgetown Law School and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have spearheaded the Workplace Flexibility 2010 initiative to develop a public policy program for promoting flexible work options. According to the initiative’s research, 80% of employees would appreciate more flexible work options.
  • Set Clear Goals: While mangers must grant their employees a degree of independence over their tasks, they should also set clear-cut goals. Psychologists agree that people work their best and hardest when endeavoring to meet a specific, challenging goal
  • Provide Consistent Feedback: Providing consistent feedback opens up communication between employees and managers — and the resulting benefits go both ways. Employees gain a better understanding of where they’re succeeding and what requires more attention; managers glean insight into office dynamics and daily work flow.

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