Category All, Best Practices How to Unlock Employee Happiness: 10 Actionable Tips Employee happiness should be every employer’s priority. Find out why and how to make your employees happier. May 12, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Employee happiness can be hard to obtain and sustain since it is influenced by multiple factors. However, having happy employees is very beneficial for companies – it increases engagement, productivity, and enhances overall company culture. In many companies, HR Professionals are creating and implementing strategies to increase employee happiness. On the other hand, employee satisfaction and happiness are sometimes influenced by factors that are out of HR control. How can they be addressed? 📚 Read on to find out what exactly employee happiness is, why is it important for businesses and how to improve it in your organization. Before you start, get our eBook about 6 reasons why employee recognition is crucial for company’s success. What Is Employee Happiness Let’s start with what employee happiness is not. Namely, employee happiness is not about feeling happy and 100% satisfied all the time – because that is impossible. Instead, employee happiness is a concept that explains how satisfied employees are in their work life. It is about a positive mindset that helps employees do their best work and cross the obstacles that might occur in their work. When employees are happy with their jobs, they are also more engaged, which translates into overall better business performance. Therefore, employers have many reasons to take care of their employees’ happiness. Read on to find out why is it so important. Why Employee Happiness is Important You have probably heard this phrase: A happy employee is a productive employee. In this section, we will break down specific mechanisms that make employee happiness so crucial to organizational success. However, it is important to note that employee happiness very closely correlates with employee satisfaction and employee experience. Find out what are the 10 steps to improve employee experience – undertaking those actions will affect employee happiness, too. Increased employee productivity Multiple researches show that happy employees are indeed more productive. An Oxford study found that workers are 13% more productive when happy. Of course, employee productivity is also influenced by leadership style, workplace culture, and other. Improved company culture Nowadays, maintaining a positive company culture with connected employees is more challenging than ever. Employees work remote and they rarely see their colleagues. However, organizations are utilizing innovative methods to keep their employees connected even when physically away. As you can imagine, employee happiness can play a crucial role for company culture. When employees are unhappy, it eventually leads to dissatisfaction, decrease in communication, lower engagement levels, and more. Better customer service Another saying you probably heard is – happy employees make happy customers. Why is that so? There are several causal links between the two. In short, when employees are happy, they are also more motivated and productive. As such, they are more willing to solve your customers’ problems and increase their satisfaction levels. 📚 Learn more about how employee recognition improves customer satisfaction. More creativity and innovation When employee happiness is high, workers are in a place to develop new concepts and notice the links they might have missed in the past. Moreover, innovation rarely happens in isolation from others. It is rather a product of intense collaboration and open communication between colleagues – which is rarely fruitful if employees are dissatisfied and uninterested in solving problems. Less absenteeism In their study, Gallup found that highly engaged workplaces see 41% less absenteeism. As you are probably aware of, employee happiness plays a huge role for employee engagement. If employees are intrinsically happy, they will likely be easily engaged in their work. As a result, employers will see less absenteeism and therefore, less financial losses. Decreased employee turnover Almost always, employees make the decision to leave based on more than just one annoyance at their current company. Chamber of Commerce’s report on the reasons why employees leave their jobs is a great overview on the topic. Employee turnover is costly. Besides financial loss, employees also take their knowledge of internal procedures, contacts, and products when they leave. Moreover, it takes a lot of time and resources to replace highly skilled workers. The good news? Employee turnover is preventable. There are many things you can do as an employer to make your employees stay with you. One of them is trying to increase employee happiness – as happy employees stay in their jobs four times longer than unhappy ones. 10 Ways to Increase Employee Happiness Now that you know how important employee happiness is to keep your business soaring, you need to learn how to make your employees happy! In this section, we list both small and large items that can make your employees happier with their work. Moreover, this will lead to increased productivity and employee engagement. 📚 Find out what other benefits you can expect when you create a highly engaged workplace. Reevaluate your total rewards package Every once in a while, you need to reexamine your total rewards package. Is it up to date? Is it relevant to your employees? Are you offering competitive compensation and benefits? You cannot have high employee happiness if you are disregarding the building blocks of employee experience – which are comprised in total rewards strategy. This is the absolute foundation for employee happiness, engagement, and subsequently – your long-term business success! Open communication Effective employee communication is at the basis of well-functioning workplace – especially if your workforce is hybrid or fully remote. When internal communication is inadequate, it can negatively influence employee happiness. Namely, 80% of employees are stressed out by ineffective communication at work, and 34% say that important information gets buried by too much information. Therefore, you should carefully devise your internal communications strategy and enable employees to collaborate efficiently. Furthermore, the ability to voice their opinion is important for your employees’ happiness. After all, no workplace is perfect, and you will encounter challenges. What matters is that your employees feel empowered to express their grievances, and to see that you are willing to resolve problems instead of sweeping them under the rug. Recognize employees’ work Employee recognition is one of the staples of total rewards strategy and good employee experience. Being recognized for their work makes employees feel valued and motivated to keep doing a good job. As shown in the picture below, research from SHRM shows that employee recognition positively impacts employee happiness, engagement, experience, and relationships. 📚 Here are some useful resources: ideas, messages, and certificates for employee anniversaries, and 60 inspiring employee appreciation quotes to use in the workplace. Enable training and development Millennials and Gen Z are looking for growth opportunities in the workplace. If they do not receive it, they are dissatisfied and move to organizations that provide more development opportunities. According to Gallup, 87% of Millennials say that professional career growth and development opportunities are important to them in a job. Therefore, offering employee development is crucial to optimizing employee happiness, engagement, and productivity. Train your managers If you were to single out one thing out of those listed in this article that affects employees’ happiness the most, it would probably be the relationship with their immediate manager. 50% of employees have quit their jobs at least once to get away from their managers. Moreover, 79% of employees believe that their managers do not care about their happiness. Since managers also account for large percentile of their subordinates’ engagement, it is crucial to train your managers to be supportive leaders. Independent of their management style, all managers should learn how to properly sustain engaging environment and enable their team members to reach their full potential. Take care of your employees’ wellbeing People’s main source of stress is often work. Moreover, pandemic has increased the stress levels in general population, and especially among employees that had to face challenges of working from inadequate environments such as their homes – where many lack privacy and peace to do their work. Traditional employee wellbeing benefits have included gym memberships, healthy meal reimbursements and other. However, lately we see more demand for mental health benefits, like reimbursement for psychotherapy and yoga classes. These benefits could make a real difference for your employees’ happiness. Respect employees’ private life Employees’ happiness is often disturbed by disturbed work-life balance – meaning, working overtime or not being able to shut off after work hours. This is why it is crucial to give your employees time to rest and focus on their personal lives – and contacting them in any way or form outside of working hours is not beneficial. Meaningful work Research shows that 9 out of 10 people are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work. It makes sense: you do not want to be stuck at a job doing something that you see no value in. Therefore, in order to increase your employees’ happiness, explain to them how their work is connected to the overall organizational output. They might be small cogs in a wheel, but their contribution allows the company to function the way it is supposed to! Encourage friendly inter-employee relations One of the staples of happy workplaces are employees that are also friends. That does not mean that everybody should be friends with everyone. Rather, see that the new people you are adding to the team are culturally fit for it, and organize non-work-related activities to encourage team spirit. For many, work colleagues are people that they see and hang out with the most. This is why work relationships have a huge impact on employee happiness. How to Measure Employee Happiness If you want to increase your employees’ happiness – you first need to evaluate how happy your employees are at the moment. Therefore, you can design an employee survey aiming to assess your employees’ happiness and satisfaction. Here are some of the questions you can ask your employees: Do you feel recognized for the work you do? Do you feel like you have opportunities for growth and advancement? How well do you collaborate with your team members? To what extent do you feel supported by your manager? Do you feel like you get enough feedback for your work? How satisfied are you with your work-life balance? How stressed are you at work? What are most common sources of stress in your life? Do you feel like your work is aligned with strategic goals of the business? In case you notice an area with which your employees are dissatisfied, dig deeper and ask them open-ended questions like these: How would you describe our company culture? Describe your relationship with your team members and manager. What do you feel is missing from your work? What would you like to change in our company? What are your suggestions for making your work life less stressful? It is not easy to undertake employee surveys if you do not have the right tools. If you are looking for a solution to help you evaluate your employees’ feelings and opinions, try out SurveyRocks. Besides easy creation and dispersion of your surveys, it can help you quickly get results and take actions to improve your employee happiness, engagement, and experience.