Swoovy Founder Brooke Waupsh stresses the need to keep employees fulfilled.

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By Brooke Waupsh, Photos by Sebastian Quinn

It’s no secret the pandemic took a toll on the workplace. Employees are more disengaged than ever before and are on the hunt to find a company that can refill their bucket of happiness. We’ve all heard of “The Great Resignation” and “The Great Reshuffle.” Now, it is “Quiet Quitting.”

Those terms exist because people are not happy at their current workplace and are now fighting to put themselves first. We as a society experienced a shift to a hybrid-remote workforce, which has become the norm, and not a temporary solution to a problem. While some companies are bringing people back in person, others have revamped office space to be hoteling workspaces where you can come and go; others have chosen to go fully remote.

Focusing on how to invest in your people is no longer a “nice to have” point on the strategic plan; it’s a “have to have.”

Just offering a higher salary won’t make people happy and keep them around. It’s the intangibles, the extra effort you put in to show employees their worth and make sure they’re happy. During both working hours and once they’re off the clock. It is also understanding them as humans and supporting their life around work. It’s time to look at what pre-pandemic strategies may have been in place and rethink how to evolve them.

How do you get that corporate culture “swagger” back and make your workplace your people’s happy place? Take a people-centric approach.

Offer remote as an option, if possible.

Forbes did a recent study reporting that continuing remote work has increased happiness and challenged the status quo for how to maintain and strengthen culture, morale and overall employee satisfaction.

Make your employees feel heard.

Have regular listening tools in place. Create a safe space where they know when and how they can give feedback. Establishing employee resource groups is a great way to give power to the people and allow employees to lead initiatives they feel passionately about.

Create a non-negotiable budget for employee engagement.

LinkedIn reported that 94% of employees would stay at their current job if the company invested in their careers.

Provide a sense of purpose and well-being through an employee volunteer program.

We talked to many companies that stopped their corporate service day during the pandemic and haven’t brought it back because their staff is remote. This is one of those strategies to rethink in our current work environments. It’s not enough to offer paid time off to volunteer; you must make it easy. According to America’s Charities Snapshot Employee Research, over 70% of employees say it’s imperative or very important to work where the culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.

Focus on well-being.

It’s not one size fits all. You need to make sure there’s a multi-pronged approach and program in place for your employees. Gallup defines the five areas of well-being as career, social, financial, physical and community. As an overarching starting point for determining the best programs to have in place for well-being, you need to think through a DEI lens first. It’s important to find programs you can implement that offer the ability for an individual to find or access the resources that are meaningful for them.

We’re in a very different world than we were a few years ago. Much like restaurants and many retail establishments have rethought operations, we have to rethink and invest in employee engagement and individuals contributing to the business. Do you want to create a great place to work? Do you want to retain your employees? Then you need to rethink what may have tied people together in the past at the water cooler, to a broader perspective of what they’ve personally and professionally experienced over the past few years and be their support system.

There’s a clear return on investment to building a better place to work by investing in your people in ways that are meaningful to them. Be people-centric. They will deliver.

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Why does investing in your people’s morale and happiness matter?

  • According to Forbes, disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy up to $550 billion a year. Per employee, disengagement costs companies $3,400 for every $10,000 an average disengaged employee earns per year.
  • According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the cost to backfill an employee today is six to nine months of their annual salary. That’s no chump change. For an employee making $60,000 per year, that comes out to $30,000 to $45,000.
  • According to Gallup and Harvard Business Review, companies with engagement programs in place have seen a 16% increase in profitability, an 18% increase in productivity and a 12% increase in customer loyalty.
Brooke Waupsh and Swoovy provide more resources for you to improve employee morale:

ROI Calculator
Brooke on Swoovy


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