Have you ever heard CEOs or managers tell people to smile? Believe it or not, there is a legitimate reason for the request. People prefer to shop at places where employees appear to be happy and are always smiling. You can view multiple studies that prove this both here and here.

The problem lies within your employees and yourself. You can’t force them to be happy. And forcing them to smile and pretend to be happy can increase mental and emotional strain, causing a decrease in performance and a higher turnover rate.

So what do you do? Keep reading. I’m about to dive into the importance of employee happiness and what you can do to help.

You Need to Care

When you look at your employees as tools for revenue accumulation, they will pick up on it quickly. The first step in improving how your employees think, feel, and act while on the clock is to take an interest in their well-being.

Talk to your employees. Find out what they need, what they want, and how you can help them.

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Business is not a two-way street. Customers->employees->you. The money flows from the left to the right. If your customers are having a bad experience because of disgruntled employees, the cash stops before it reaches their hands which means it will never hit yours.

If you aren’t paying your employees enough or your policies are overly strict, you will deal with shrinkage, causing the money coming into your business to disappear from your registers via sticky fingers.

It all starts and ends with you. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re a businessperson. And you’re a busy person who probably has too much on their plate already.

Too bad.

You have to make the time to care. Your business depends on it.

It’s Not Always About Money

Are you paying your employees a fair wage? Is it fair to you or is it industry standard? More often than not, you may think you’re paying fairly but you really aren’t. If you want employees to stay with your company for the long haul, you need to take care of them.

Money matters, but it isn’t everything.

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Here are some of the ways you can help enrich the lives of your employees that aren’t monetary.

Provide Mental Health Services

This may get expensive, but you may be able to get a deal from a counselor in exchange for regular work. Have a sign-up sheet, keep it in HR, and let people have half an hour a week, off the clock, free sessions with a mental health professional. Even with insurance, this kind of service can be expensive for employees. Getting 30 minutes a week for free is a huge perk and has the potential to greatly improve the overall happiness and work satisfaction of your employees.

Focus on Work/Life Balance

People do not work for fun. It’s not supposed to be a good time. And no matter what you do, the vast majority of your employees will look at their job as a burden to pay for their bills, hobbies, and entertainment.

Encourage your employees to take their breaks and enjoy them.

What exactly does work/life balance mean? In short, it’s the practice of reducing stress and burnout of your employees. Happy employees stay with a company for longer periods of time and have higher levels of performance.

The beginning of this project should focus on teaching employees about health and wellness. Work/life balance isn’t just about stress, it’s about longevity, health, and happiness.

Aside from offering mental health services at your office, you can offer classes for yoga, meditation, and regular workouts. If you don’t have the space to offer such a service, you can offer discounts at local gyms and offer prizes for people who participate in your programs. Some companies are offering massage chairs employees can take advantage of on their breaks.

Think outside of the box and talk to your employees about their needs and wants. A small cost on the short-term can have long-lasting benefits for your company as a whole.

Practice What You Preach

If you want employees to be happy, healthy, and treat your customers the way you want them to be treated, you have to practice what you preach.

If you’re walking through the office, constantly angry and yelling at people, why should your employees believe in what you say or your business?

However, if you smile, you exercise, and you practice work/life balance, the folks working for you will be incentivized to do as you do. Improve the life of your employees and they’ll improve your company. Your customer service and online reputation will be stellar. If you want to read more about online reputation, check out this ultimate guide to online reviews.

The Power of a Smile

Smiling and happiness are contagious. When you hire happy people, pay them well, and treat them fairly, you’ll be repaid tenfold.

What do you do about the toxic employees? The first thing you need to do is to give them a chance to turn their attitude around and get on the same page as everyone else. Sit them down, talk to them, and find out what they need to be successful and become the type of employee that you need them to be.

If you give employees multiple chances and they still aren’t willing to play ball, then the problem will usually take care of itself. They will eventually quit to move on to a company with other toxic employees. If they make an attempt to hurt your business, then you really have no other option but to let them go.

You can be the difference. But you have to put in the effort and you need to believe.