The rise in value of ‘human capital’ means that organisations should be motivated to keeping their employees happy like no time before, says Petra Wilton of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

How important are an organisation’s employees? They just might be the most important thing you’ve got going for you. It’s estimated that 80% of the market value of businesses is now accounted for by its “off balance sheet” assets. That means that the majority of your business’s value lies in its human capital – or, in plain English, its people. It’s a subject that deserves a lot more attention.

And one theme that arguably should exercise more of managers’ time is how to enable and keep their teams professionally happy. Here’s five great ideas if you’re looking for some inspiration to improve team morale and employee engagement:

Empower to the people

£64bn per year – that’s the net cost to the UK economy of disengaged employees, according to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills. But keeping your employees engaged is also about keeping them happy. You can create engagement through various means but one of the key ones is to give people the power and autonomy to make a real difference to their results. It’s the difference between a customer service team that can actually solve customers’ problems and one that’s tied down by rigid rules of an inflexible system. Empower your team and watch performance soar.

No fear

According to recent research, leading through fear not only leads to an unhappy team, but also actively diminishes cognitive ability. Dr Megan Reitz, who heads the Leadership Experience programme at Ashridge Business School, is concerned that staff members who succumb to the fear factor have impaired intellectual function. Instead, keep your employees happy by accepting criticism, maintaining your integrity and listening to their concerns.

Book a coach

Being receptive to your team’s concerns is a reactive approach to keeping them happy. You can be proactive in a number of ways. Suggesting a coach for those team members you think would benefit from helping them unblock their thinking, or a mentor with the insight and experience of an industrial longhorn, is a great way of showing that you are thinking about their long-term future.

Team dynamics

Team or group dynamics is a topic that pre-dates even Sigmund Freud, the grandfather of psychology. Modern theories of how groups are formed, of social cohesion and social identity are many and wide, and trying to judge which to use in your team management can be a challenge. One solution is to attend a management course that will give you the relevant and straightforward insights you need to understand the roles that people play in work groups. Check out CMI’s short courses, which cover the essentials of team management.

All change, please

No organisation is in stasis for a long time. Teams can expand, be joined with others, contract and even be tasked with a different role than was originally intended. So it’s no surprise that handling change is a cornerstone topic of management, and how you handle these times of potential crisis and opportunity may affect the happiness of those who work for you.

While the principles of change management lie in maintaining your integrity and good communication with your team, you won’t succeed on those alone. In some situations, you will need to know where best to upgrade your team’s capabilities (and how soon), how to counter resistance to change and provide emotional support when necessary.

Petra Wilton-1Petra Wilton takes a lead role in building alliances and partnerships in the public policy arena and promoting the needs of practising managers through engaging with and accessing the views of The Chartered Management Institute‘s 100,000 plus members. Petra also leads on the development of customer insight and building CMI’s body of knowledge, and she has co-authored many CMI reports. She also set up the Campus CMI initiative to inspire and create confidence in young people through developing their management and leadership skills.