“Happy”: Five ways to keep your team involved, satisfied and productive
By Jane Lowder – Founder and Career Coach, Max Coaching 

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You all know the Pharrell Williams song – possibly too well! But it struck a chord around the world. There’s no denying that happiness at work is something people seek, and as employers we know we need to provide in order to keep good people, and ensure a motivated team.

So how can business owners achieve this? Here we share 5 quick, easy strategies to do just that.

To make things more fun, see if you can pick the artist linked to the song title of each of the five points below. Answers are listed at the bottom of the article.

1. “It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it”

One surefire way to enhance the engagement and satisfaction of your employees is to give them meaningful opportunities to use their preferred skills and interests. Over 80 per cent of the people who come to Max Coaching seeking a career change do so because their work doesn’t align with what is important to them, to what they find most meaningful and rewarding.

To avoid losing staff to this kind of career dissatisfaction, it’s worth taking the time to ask your team:

  • What specialty do you have that you would like to utilise more in this practice?
  • What services are you particularly interested in providing that you would like us to add to our offerings?
  • How can we create opportunities for you to do more of the work that you find most meaningful and rewarding?

2. “What have you done to make you feel proud?”

It’s well recognised that staff who are proud of where they work are more motivated and productive, so a good question to ask yourself is:

  • What is it about my organisation that makes my team proud to work here?

A good example is an organisation we have worked with that dedicates a percentage of their income to philanthropic causes. The manager recognised that her team was quite passionate about a range of causes and so invited each team member to nominate causes they wanted the business to support, with equal percentages of the company’s giving going to each of the organisations nominated. Feedback indicated that this positively impacted staff dedication and loyalty towards the organisation.

3. “Where’s Your Head At?”

If you’re the owner of a small but thriving practice, then it’s pretty much given you are a very busy person. In the midst of all this frantic activity, it can be tough to get to all those emails, texts and phone calls demanding your attention.

But for your staff to be at their most productive, they need access to you - regularly. The best way to make this happen is to tell them how and when you prefer to be contacted.

One manager we worked with preferred verbal to written interactions, but didn’t tell his staff this. As many emails inevitably went unanswered staff became disgruntled, and less productive.

The best thing this manager did was tell his staff how he preferred to be contacted - “Catch me as I’m walking to a meeting, or call me when I’m in the car - anything but email”. Once his staff knew this, they were instantly more empowered and productive, and as a bonus, the manager felt less stressed about the size of his burgeoning inbox.

4. “Moving On Up”

It’s a given that people are at their happiest when they have purpose , which is why it is always a good idea to give your team some input into the future direction of the business.

One manager we worked with, concerned about the perceived burden he would place on his staff if he did this, didn’t share his thoughts or include his team in future planning.

Instead of adding to his team’s job satisfaction as he’d hoped, this strategy led to uncertainty and a sense of isolation amongst the team. Rather than pulling in one direction, his staff felt like islands, each doing their own thing without any idea of how what they did fitted in with the bigger vision for the firm.

To avoid this kind of situation arising, ask yourself:

  • Do all my team members know what my goals are for this organisation/firm?
  • Do my team members know their role and contribution towards the achievement of these goals?
  • Have I given my team a chance to contribute to future plans?

5. “Feedback”

One of the best things you can do for your team is provide clear, timely and accurate feedback. One person we worked with was on the cusp of walking out of a fantastic job due to the sheer frustration of receiving no feedback from their manager.

“I don’t know if I’m fulfilling my role or falling short. I don’t know if I am over delivering, under delivering, missing the mark or hitting it perfectly” she bemoaned.

Unbeknownst to this person, their manager was perfectly happy with what they were doing but adhered to the perspective “no news is good news”. All it took to retain, re-engage and re-energise this team member was for the manager to take a few minutes to deliver factual, accurate feedback about their performance.

To keep your team engaged and ensure open communication, ask yourself:

  • Do my team members know exactly what I expect of them?
  • Do my team members know what it is that I value about their work?
  • Do I regularly give my team members constructive feedback?


  • Bananarama
  • Heather Small
  • Basement Jaxx
  • M People
  • Janet Jackson



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