Software company managers face the critical challenge of keeping the business running efficiently and profitably while defending a company culture in which workers feel safe and comfortable. A primary advantage of building a software development team comprised of happy people is decreased employee turnover — but the benefits don’t stop there.
Terry Simpson, technical evangelist at Nintex, shares his insights into the difference a happy software development team can make for your business.
What are the benefits of building a software development team of happy employees?
Simpson: Employees are the company’s most important asset. Happier employees are more productive and healthier. Their improved performance increases profitability, and they tend to pass their energy and positive attitudes right on to your customers.
How much of a difference can employees’ frame of mind make in terms of productivity?
Simpson: Our daily decisions and actions are driven partly by emotions. When your emotions are taking a positive direction, it is much easier to start that next project, help one more person, answer one more email, and pass that positive emotion onto one more employee.
One recent study, cited by the World Economic Forum, found that happier call-center employees achieved 13 percent higher sales than their unhappy colleagues — without putting in more hours.
Sales, in particular, is a rollercoaster of emotions. The sales cycle tends to have rapid swings, from rejection to rejoicing. Overall, employee morale and happiness have a significant impact on the success or failure of employees.
Moderation is key in this environment, and having a stable base of high morale can make or break a sales group. Successful sales groups celebrate each other’s successes and also provide support for times of rejection.
How does employee happiness impact innovation and creativity?
Simpson: Innovation and creativity require a lot of momentum and energy. Happy employees energize the company, and unhappy employees drain that energy right out. An unhappy employee will flounder and stew in the unhappiness. Happy employees will stay in motion with their heads held high, pushing forward for more innovation and creativity.
How does employee morale impact customer service?
Simpson: When your energy goes beyond yourself and into the customer interaction, it will make a deep impression. Happy employees naturally create positive interactions and experiences for those around them. Creating an environment of service-oriented and happy employees can accelerate the company’s growth. We all need cheerleaders in life, why not be a cheerleader for your customers in all your interactions?
What are the most important things for a software development company to do to ensure its employees are happy at work?
Simpson: Every day, I eat at least three meals. I need that nourishment to make it through the day. Software companies need to take the same approach with their software development teams — serving them, nourishing them, caring about their happiness, making sure they have what they need to succeed. This has to involve more than a single event; it’s about creating a company culture, and it has to come from the top. When this happens, it changes everything for the better — focus, intensity, and outcomes.
My company does this for me, and I strive to do the same thing every day in my interactions with co-workers, partners, and customers.