Is Employee Happiness Important for Your Company?
When studying employee happiness all research comes to pretty much the same conclusion:
keep your employees happy and they will be more creative and more productive. Well,
there you go. The end!
It would be just that simple if companies had the secret to happiness. But each employee
is different and so they all have different definitions of happiness. And no one feels
happy all the time. That’s impossible. But if someone feels motivated about their work,
they feel positive about the company they work for and they accept criticism because
they are willing to get better for the company, then those are signs of employee happiness.
And happiness is made of a few parts which makes it even trickier. About 50% of happiness
is genetic. Another 10% is life and your circumstances (family, health, finances). And
the last 40% is the result of your personal outlook. So, figuring out what makes an
employee happy can be pretty tough. You really only have the ability to affect that last
40%. To change your company culture and work environment to emphasize employee happiness
will not be an overnight success. Here are some ideas on how to make that happen:
1. Allow Employees to Voice Their Opinions
In companies, employees often feel dissatisfied because they do not feel heard. It is
the quickest route to disengagement. Happiness will come when employees have a chance
to express their feelings in a constructive way and are allowed to contribute their
ideas to their work.
Recognition and reward for their work is a key to employee happiness and motivation.
When employees know that their work is being noticed and acknowledged they will stay
engaged and productivity will stay high. And rewards don’t always be money. Be creative
and personal with your reward perks. The more individual you make the rewards and
recognition, the happier your employees will be.
3. Provide Training and Resources
Providing training and resources for employees shows that they are valued and the
company is willing to invest in them. This will increase their motivation to perform
better to “pay back” this investment. And since employee tenure is on average 3-5 years,
employees will be happy with this increased skillset which they can take to another
position down the road.
4. Provide Clear Priorities
“Lack of Planning on Your Part Does Not Constitute an Emergency on My Part.” Ever hear
that quote? Or have a manager who tells you to “Drop everything and do this?” Nothing
aggravates an employee more than fuzzy priorities or being pulled in all directions.
Coming into work every day not knowing what they are going to be doing is frustrating.
Employees like to own their work and have control of their schedule. Set clear priorities,
with employee input and then if you have to change them, have a “why” that makes sense.
Employees will be on board with your plans and be happy for the clarity and input.
5. Always say “Thank You”
This may seem like an unnecessary item to include. Of course, we all say “Thank you”.
But you’d be surprised. In the hustle and bustle of our crazy work days, we get caught
up and forget our manners sometimes. And for employees who are crucial to the success
of our organizations, saying “thank you” is a little but very important key ingredient
This should really be at the top because if you mess this one up, then all the rest
really don’t matter. Be clear and consistent and frequent with your communication.
Make sure goals and responsibilities are always made direct and employees will
What else is good about happy employees? Companies benefit because happy employees
are also healthy employees. Lower stress which means less absenteeism, less healthcare
claims which is lower premiums and greater retention.
Will you make every employee happy all the time? Of course not. That’s just not possible.
But creating an environment where employee happiness is a goal and using these guidelines
will go a long way toward fostering a more engaged and happier workforce.