3 promising soft skills for more employee happiness
By Robin van der Meulen | February 1, 2021
Are you already convinced that employee happiness contributes to the success of an organization? Most innovative companies and HR managers certainly are! You can read on and on about the positive effects of happy employees on figures of absenteeism, staff turnover and productivity. But how can you encourage this if your employees (mainly) work from home? Pay attention to developing these three soft skills in employees, including personal leadership.
We can say that investing in happy and committed employees is also an investment in the sustainable success of your organization. But how do you achieve that, employee happiness? The presence of certain soft skills in employees can play a major role in experiencing employee happiness. Good news, because you can train those skills! From my experience as a Strategic Happiness Expert at 2DAYSMOOD, I will share three soft skills that are worth developing or training for more job satisfaction every day.
Skill 1: Resilience
A high workload is more the rule than the exception in many sectors nowadays. Certainly in the current time, in which people work longer hours, experience less work-life balance and can work less directly with colleagues, we see that the workload experience is increasing. As a result, we are seeing burnouts more and more, even at a younger age.
A high degree of stress resistance is then a desirable skill for your employees. Most people understand stress resistance as “being able to withstand work pressure and dealing with difficult situations”. The problem with this definition, however, is that we then focus on situations in which the employee is already experiencing stress. You would prefer to avoid work stress, right? Instead of training your stress resistance, it would be wiser to train your resilience.
Making the highway to employee happiness accessible
According to Veronique Kilian, author of the book “Employee Happiness? Train your Happiness Competences” (“Geluk op het werk? Train je Gelukscompetenties”), you can trigger your “higher brain” in different (work) situations. These are situations of relaxation, recovery and play.
“Your brain enters a different brain wavelength, in which you can relax better. That gives a broader view of the world. This makes you more receptive to inspiration and you develop more creativity to seize opportunities. If you know how to train that higher brain, you can influence this brain wavelength. Then the ‘happiness highway’ in your head becomes more accessible than the ‘worry and care highway’.”
So try to look up enough of those situations in your work. Especially as a manager or HR manager, it is important to set a good example with regard to a good work-life balance or to make time for relaxation and exercise. My personal tip? Where possible, schedule online meetings without video so that employees can take a walk. You can do that yourself. That in turn contributes to your vitality!
Skill 2: Personal leadership
Is your glass usually half full or half empty? This is not only determined personally, but also by our genes. The difference in happiness between people is in fact 50% genetically influenced. In addition, 10% is caused by external circumstances, over which we do not always have influence. But luckily your feeling of happiness is dependent on your own attitude and mindset by 40% (S. Lyubomirsky, 2005). This can also be trained. How? Through personal leadership. Personal leadership is the ability to determine direction in your work and life. Ideally, you should take that path with consistency and clarity.
Drivers for employee happiness
If you want to focus on creating your own employee happiness, you must first learn what the happiest situations are for you during or outside work. You can then analyze what the motives are for your employee happiness. And since there is no one standard recipe for happiness, you will have to roll up your sleeves and take action.
For example, which moments of employee happiness would you like to experience more often, and how can you easily achieve that? With the help of colleagues, permission from a manager or practical tools? This positive mindset and proactive attitude is not easy for everyone. However, employees can be coached to further develop and strengthen their personal leadership.
“Happiness is not just luck, it is a mindset.”
Skill 3: Significance
In these modern times we increasingly see that employees do not only work to live, but also live to work. Millennials and today’s young professionals in particular will recognize themselves in this. Salary is no longer the number 1 priority, but experiencing job satisfaction, challenges and having impact are gaining ground. Doing work without meaning is not going to create employee happiness.
This lack of employee happiness is also one of the causes of high staff turnover at many organizations, certainly within their group of millennials. It is therefore imperative that employees understand how they contribute to the bigger picture. Whether this is making the company successful or serving a social purpose.
Patience and appreciation
It is relevant at an early stage to learn or train that significance. The freshly graduated professionals start the working life full of energy and high expectations in order to make a difference. They may be less patient than other generations in finding employee happiness.
But how do you teach someone or yourself to give meaning to the work? Think of consciously expressing gratitude, being able to relate your own mission and vision to that of the organization, being able to reflect, be proud of yourself and, above all, learn to be patient. Millennials would prefer to be able to make an impact on day one, but this is not realistic and creates too high expectations and an unnecessary workload.
As an HR or team manager, you can help these employees by expressing their appreciation for the work they deliver, and making a concrete link with the company vision or strategy. Try to do this regularly, and you will see that appreciation and employee happiness are very closely linked!
These are three promising soft skills that can help the professionals of today and the future find employee happiness. These skills are also worth investing in for directors, team leaders or HR managers. Dare to engage in a conversation about employee happiness, set a good example or take on a coaching role yourself. This way, your teams can get started proactively and with a lot of job satisfaction.