By Dennis McMichael, Practice Manager — Animal Hospital of Dauphin County
Previously, I took you through my first top 5 tips for a happy workplace. Here are my remaining top factors that I consider to be the most impactful in cracking open your workplace Zen (as a team).
6. Set Goals (as a team): In professional sports a team’s shared goals are apparent and understood. Moreover, the teams’ success towards those goals is blatantly, and sometimes brutally obvious (Go Phillies! Go Eagles!). In the common workplace neither of these statements holds true; however, each member of the team plays just as much of a role in achieving the team’s shared goals. As such the team’s involvement in understanding challenges, creating shared goals, monitoring progress, and managing their shared goals to success is paramount in fostering happiness and success. Beyond that the involvement of fresh minds in the process will lead to new ideas and the discovery of untapped talents.
7. Create Happy Customers (as a team): The customer is always right because if the customer is wrong, your competition is happy to make it right! Too often a disconnect occurs in considering customers as the primary resource for achieving success toward the team’s shared goals. By assuming the role of a customer advocate, team members align and accomplish the customer’s goals, the team’s goals, and their individual goals while creating happy customers in the process. And the happiest teams are teams working with happy customers!
8. Make It Personal (as a team): When was the last time you stopped a staff meeting and played a fun, interactive game? The gains realized are well worth the small amount of time sacrificed from the team’s everyday routine. Team members connecting on a personal level greatly increases the probability of greater cohesiveness at the professional level. Additionally, a little bit of camaraderie goes a long way in strengthening staff retention and creating more natural and enjoyable customer interactions. At times, the most effective thing a team leader can do is create an opportunity for the team to interact freely without the constraints and distractions of the job obstructing the team’s ability to develop their relationships and identity.
9. Recognize Contributions (as a team): Teams and their individual members contribute their talents every day; however, only the largest accomplishments are consistently celebrated with any sort of fanfare. “Great job making that copy, Mary!” and “You really nailed sweeping that floor, Joe!” are examples of praises very rarely uttered in the workplace. But why not? There is absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing another team member’s contributions to the overall success of the team’s shared goals. In fact, offering such praise will play a crucial role in creating a happy team and an environment conducive to productive communication.
10. Love What You Do (as a team): On average we spend 45% of our waking hours at work or performing work-related functions. That is way too much time to not derive some enjoyment from our jobs and our teams. It is always a useful exercise for each team member to reflect on their position and identify the functions, responsibilities, and accomplishments that make them most content in their role. Likewise, it is just as worthwhile to examine the less enjoyable tasks and look for ways to make them more enticing for the team member. Even if the end result is the same, the exercise itself will help increase contentedness with the individual. In the end, when we love what we do it shows. And the effects are contagious to team members and customers alike!
A happy workplace requires an appropriate mix of all the ingredients to get it just right. Similarly, different teams will have different mixes for what’s right for them; however, the ingredients will all still be there. And the best part is that once your mix is established the workplace will become a lot of fun!