The way an employee feels about their job is reflected in both their work and their interactions with customers.

We’ve all been there – working in a job that drained our motivation and challenged us to get through the day. The cause may have been the work environment, the tools, poor training, or no recognition by management. Whatever the reasons, you were unhappy and disengaged. The success of the company was not a priority.

Employee unhappiness is a persistent problem: Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report showed that a mere 33% of employees are engaged at work (and even the world’s best organizations only reached 70%). Unfortunately, employee happiness often goes unnoticed until they reach a breaking point.

Not only is employee retention good for the business, but it’s good for the customer as well.

Employees that are happy with their workplace tend to stay with a company much longer. Long-term employees have more experience and knowledge to provide better customer service. And when customers receive more knowledgeable service, they have a better experience and are more likely to do business with you again.

5 ways to create a culture of happy employees

1. Offer Meaningful Development

When your employees know they have a solid future ahead of them, they’re more likely to go that extra mile for customers because they know it will benefit their futures as well.

Employees today want to know what their paths for career growth are. Nobody wants a stagnant-looking role. Employee growth doesn’t always need to mean being promoted to a managerial position, some people don’t want to be managers. No matter an employee’s goal, make sure your company provides some type of framework for what their future look like.

2. Allowing For Honest Feedback

It’s imperative to be transparent with feedback to facilitate an open platform where problem areas can be addressed and ideas for improvement discussed. Just as important, make sure that improvements are implemented and followed.

Management must be committed to identifying and understanding if employees have what they need to be engaged and feel happy, and employees must be committed to giving honest feedback.

3. Create a System for Training

Offering access to training makes a big impact on improving employee skills. For employees who have a desire to move up in the company, provide one-on-one coaching and other support options for them.

Providing the right training can help employees better serve your customers. If you have an employee who has been trained in how to handle difficult discussions, naturally those skills will translate to how that employee interacts with your customers.

4. Show Them They’re Supported

Employees need an outlet to share what’s going on — a place where they aren’t scared or micromanaged. A lot of companies overlook that or see management only as a function to drive productivity and results. One of the best ways to support employees is through the management team.

Managers who know how to listen well, and how to give and accept feedback, are much more likely to create a healthy environment where employees feel supported. Strong managers who take care of their employees often deliver the future leaders of an organization.

5. Create a Fun Work Environment

A fun work environment can make a big difference in employee happiness. Fun can be had in many ways – pizza Fridays, after-work activities or company sports teams. The goal is to make the environment feel more relaxed and less like work. This can be achieved in ways that match your company culture and budget.

Perhaps your team is working hard on a large project and coming in early every day. Consider providing a daily breakfast to let employees know you appreciate their hard work. Those small gestures make a big difference in employee happiness levels and will translate to the level of service and patience your employees offer customers.

In successful organizations, employees at all levels possess the freedom to drive customer service excellence.

Similar to having a positive attitude that promotes a positive customer experience, employees that are happy and committed to their workplace genuinely want to see the company do well. They are more motivated and will often go the extra mile to give customers an exceptional experience.