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News Sept. 13, 2022

Five ways to make your employees and co-workers happier

A recent study published in Journal of Happiness Studies shows happy people perform better. offers the following five simple ways you can make people you work with—and your family and friends—happier.

  1. Offer “uncomfortable” praise. Praise is great but can be awkward for both parties. Research conducted by Christopher Littlefield shows although 88% of respondents associate feeling valued with recognition, close to 70% also associate “embarrassment or discomfort with the process of being recognized.” However, it also was determined any self-consciousness the other person may feel is far outweighed by how good they feel about being recognized and valued. The higher the praise, the better the person feels; finding the “perfect” words does not matter.
  2. Express gratitude more frequently. The same “awkwardness” applies to expressing gratitude, but research published in Psychological Science shows that expressers systematically undervalue its positive effect on the recipients. Tell people you are grateful for what they do.
  3. Reach out for no reason at all. Some bosses may check in with employees during a regularly scheduled meeting, but that sometimes can be too formulaic to have much of an effect. You might think people do not care when you reach out to say hi, check in or offer a few words of encouragement, but they do. It helps build and maintain relationships and makes recipients feel better about themselves.
  4. Provide a “partial favor.” Rather than saying “No” to a big favor, say “No, but …” Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, think about what you can do. Offer what you can provide because people who need help appreciate any gesture—no matter how small.
  5. Have serious conversations more often. Most co-workers and bosses tend to default to small talk. A series of studies published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found participants said they felt less awkward, more connected and much happier after a deep, serious conversation than they expected to feel. In fact, the more awkward and uncomfortable a conversation sounded, the more participants enjoyed the conversation and felt they bonded with the other person.

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