I was surprised to read in the Weekend Australian (29/30 Jan), that according to an Australian Institute of Management (AIM) survey, 33 % of employees are looking for a way out of their jobs, 40% feel unappreciated and 34% report they could be doing better at their current jobs.

That’s an awful lot of unhappy people in the workforce!

I was not surprised to read; however, that the cause of such discontent is generally not about salaries, ‘… it’s non-salary tools that companies can and should be using to attract and retain people,’ said Susan Heron, chief executive at AIM. Equally unsurprising was reading that feeling valued and having a work-life balance are important to employees; as they are important to everyone!

Organisational success is 100% tied in to its people; having a third of your people currently looking for ways out is directly affecting your bottom line, whether they leave or stay.

How does an organisation transform from an environment where workers feel ‘demotivated, bored, sad, angry, apathetic’ to one in which they feel dynamically engaged, appreciated, happy and creative?

One way to start, and this may sound simplistic and naive, is to make them smile! Or even better, make them laugh! We all know that serotonin is the happy chemical in our brain, what we don’t all know is that a simple smile (even a fake smile!) can trigger a squirt fest of happy juice right through the brain. This can be done by having sessions where employees are encouraged to make play part of their day.

Establish opportunities for employees to use their creativity and contribute to the innovation and wellbeing of your organisation. Shift your culture to one that embraces fun and play while remaining purposeful and focused; a culture where everyone is encouraged to engage all their intelligences and work with their WHOLE brain, not only the logical, analytical and efficient left side, but the emotional, imaginative and playful right side too.

Another important shift, is to create a culture where  individuals, regardless of their position, can express their leadership qualities and feel acknowledged for making a difference. According to Heron, this leadership equity is ‘fundamental to innovation and innovation is critical to long term success for Australia as a country’.

If there is nobody in your organisation that can get this started get experts in and let us help you get started. You won’t need to keep us for long, there may be some resistance to shifting the culture at first, but once it is experienced and embraced, it will sustain itself and your whole organisation will benefit!!

C’mon Australian employers, you can do better!