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Bolster employee happiness effectively, with a needs analysis

12 November 2015 Liane McGowan, Happy Monday
Liane McGowan, founder of Happy Monday.

Liane McGowan, founder of Happy Monday.

Employee engagement is fast rising as the key to corporate productivity and success. Yet many organisations spend large engagement budgets on blanket approaches that don’t adequately meet employees’ real needs. When the workforce is treated as one person, with one mind and one set of needs, alienation, discontent and a feeling of underappreciated creep in. This effectively cripples the workforce and dramatically lowers morale.

The starting point when focussing on employee wellness is to develop an understanding of the status quo, allowing management to determine where needs or gaps exist. The best way to achieve this is through internal research, conducted in the form of a needs analysis. Such an analysis paints a clear picture of the current climate in the workplace, providing an informed direction for employee wellness programmes and engagement.

To achieve the required objectives, a needs analysis should entail communication with employees in terms of their current level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, considering the factors present in the workplace that are either leading to contentment and a high level of staff retention, or frustration and a high staff turnover. If conducted correctly, the results of such an analysis will indicate the specific needs and requirements of the staff, from a group and individual perspective.

An essential element to the success of a needs analysis is that it is conducted in an anonymous fashion. This is crucial to gathering accurate data. Employees often require total anonymity in order to reveal how they truly feel, rather than what they think their managers want to hear.

The purpose of the analysis is to determine what is needed in order to contribute to the overall wellness of workers. However, to affect productivity and efficiency throughout the organisation, in a positive manner, it is not enough merely to identify the needs within the organisation. Knowing there is a problem is not the same as providing a solution. To make an impact, the analysis must be followed by action – in accordance with a well informed and developed, effective employee engagement and wellness campaign. The efficacy of this campaign will be determined by the accuracy of the data collected during the needs analysis.

The bottom line? Instead of striving merely for engaged employees, organisations should delve into the minds of their human resources to determine where gaps exist and implement reliable solutions that will foster a happy workforce. After all, happy employees are productive employees, making them profitable employees. This not only increases the company’s earning capacity, but decreases wastage in terms of remuneration for unproductive employees too.

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