With the events that have unfolded over recent years, building a happy workplace has never felt more paramount. We were recently asked to contribute to Plant Plan’s Happy Workplace Guide and share our insights into well-being in the workplace. Plant Plan enlisted the HR expertise of our managing director Brendan to find out how this works from a HR perspective, and here’s what he had to share.
The Changing Role of HR
The role of HR has become more challenging in recent years with hybrid working and the health and safety procedures around the pandemic. Following the first lockdown, many people got used to working from home, and although some people struggled with this, be it missing the social element of work or the balancing act of working from home while homeschooling, plenty found it beneficial for them financially by reducing their travel and time spent commuting. Then once the restrictions were lifted and children back in school, more and more employees found these benefits to be a huge asset to their work-life balance.
Those employers that were able to successfully continue providing services whilst allowing staff to work from home during covid-19 had to consider how they could integrate this way of working into permanent practice. This allowed them to stay competitive in a recruitment environment where there were more roles than candidates.
In order to support employers in implementing this way of working successfully, there was a need for guidance and clarity to be provided. This meant that staff could request to ‘hybrid’ work by following the flexible working process and clear guidance that was available for employers on the eligibility for this request to be accepted, supporting employers to be fair and consistent and reducing the risk of discrimination.
The Purpose of HR
So what is the main role of HR, and where does Employee happiness come in the list of priorities?
HR is there to provide support and guidance on all people matters throughout the employee life cycle. This can range from performance and conduct to recruitment, benefits, training, and development. One of the main focuses behind the role of HR is to maintain company morale by ensuring fairness and equality throughout.
Happy staff = Happy Workplace
Employee happiness is at the top of the priority list for HR, as with employee happiness comes great productivity. HR manage and encourage this by promoting a positive work environment through reward and recognition, training, and development for career pathways, promoting a work-life balance and engaging with staff whilst being open and transparent.
The areas of HR that make the most impact on staff happiness have to be fairness and equality, reward and recognition and a workplace culture that really fits its employees. There are also common traits and approaches to help HR to make a happy workplace for an organisation’s employees.
For HR to add value, they must first gain the trust and confidence of company leaders. Once we have this, we can influence and encourage staff development, training and reward strong performance whilst ensuring fairness and equality throughout the business.
Listen to Your Employees
The most important piece of advice in making a happy workplace is to listen to the employees, take on board their feedback and respond appropriately with respect and professionalism where necessary, showing the employees that they are valued and listened to. Reward high performers and support those who need it. Then Ensure that fairness and equality are at the core of all values embedded within the business because happy employees mean increased productivity and low turnover.