Is it Your Resonsibility to Keep Your Employees Happy?

Should it be the responsibility of business to keep employees happy?  Certainly an employee’s happiness has something to do with the company they work for, but is that the responsibility of the company?  Happiness has many facets, and while work environment does have an effect on it, some has to be the individual’s responsibility.   

Here’s an article from Incentive Magazine that we found very interesting.  It’s about ten ways of keeping your employees motivated, engaged and happy.  You know, all those motherhood and apple pie type things that the author says are so important in business these days.  Far be it from me to argue with such admirable management talents such as, 

“being nice, caring, mindful, helpful, courteous, sensitive, present, happy, responsive and grateful.” 

but after I read it I felt like I just came out of being dropped into a syrup bowl.  It reminds you of a Boy Scout motto for business, doesn’t it?   I’m sure that if more of those things happened in the business worlds, the workplace would be a better place for all concerned, and I’m sure there are businesses where little of this is ever the norm.  And that’s a shame. 

As we have been in the employee recognition world for many years we certainly applaud any attempt to make the workplace a better place to be, but feel that there is another very important side of the issue.   

What about teaching employees how to be responsible?  What about fairness?  How about not providing the pabulum of the moment when dealing with annual or other performance reviews?  How about telling the truth about performance?   How about teaching them how to be accountable for their actions?  What about extoling honesty and integrity?  How about measuring performance accurately and taking out the subjectivity?  What about teaching them how to set personal and business goals and then how to achieve them? 

I’m all for appealing to employees through the pleasant touchy feely things, but they need to go hand in hand with the realities of business and why employees are there in the first place.  You could have a department full of happy souls doing marginal work and barely achieving their objectives.  But standing around in the afternoon holding hands and singing Kumbaya won’t cut it when you’re faced with competitors that are eating you alive because their employees are hungry to be the best. 

Happy, caring, helpful etc. employees are fine, but they are so much better when that is combined with a winning attitude shared by hard working no nonsense winners!

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