We live in a world obsessed with achieving results. In such a world, satisfaction all too often remains the mysterious holy grail that we never find.

This is frequently an issue in our personal lives. But it’s no less important in our work.

Happiness at work is becoming more and more important. Managers around the globe are taking notice and developing strategies to engage with unhappy employees.

They realize that this is not just feel-good nonsense. Happy employees are more productive and engaged with their work.

This directly drives profitability.

Emotionally disconnected employees, on the other hand, can drag a company down. According to Gallup research, only 36% of employees in the U.S. are engaged with their work.

Another 14% are “actively disengaged.”

This means that only one-third of people enjoy and feel satisfied with their jobs. At the same time, 71% of executives say that employee engagement is important for their company’s success.

These stats make it clear why happiness at work is turning into a major topic for business leaders.

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What does employee happiness mean?

Happiness is an elusive idea. But in the workplace context, it’s easy to spot the benefits of employee happiness. It has a direct and positive impact on your company’s bottom line.

Happy employees feel engaged and enthusiastic about their work. They’re invested when management cares about their overall well-being.

These employees do their best to achieve company goals. Team productivity naturally goes up, and so do the company profits.

Happy team members see their jobs as meaningful. They enjoy the work that they’re doing.

This attitude helps improve people’s performance.

When your employees are happy, they work better with your customers.

It’s difficult to feel sympathetic with a grumpy customer representative. When a customer meets a cheerful and open person, they feel more connected with your brand.

Happier employees thus raise the level of customer loyalty.

Last but not least, happy employees are better colleagues and team players. You can truly foster a strong company culture only if your staff is satisfied at work.

Happy team members contribute to effective and meaningful collaboration within the group.

The importance of employee happiness

Making your employees happy creates a pleasant working environment. It also makes your business more successful.

Employee happiness should be a core goal rather than a short-term initiative. When you prioritize happiness, you can expect all of these benefits:

It makes your company more profitable

Employee engagement is crucial for financial performance. There is a direct link between employee satisfaction and involvement and business results.

Research shows that highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable compared to teams with lower engagement levels.

It reduces employee turnover

People switch jobs for a lot of reasons.

Some are after a bigger salary. Others quit to escape a stressful work environment.

Replacing employees is a natural part of any business. However, if you have a high turnover rate, that can become an expensive problem.

The good news is that when team members are happy with their jobs, they’re less likely to quit.

It fosters creativity and productivity

Can you imagine a super-stressed person unleashing their creativity freely? We can’t, either.

It’s difficult, if not impossible. If you want your employees to be creative, you need to make sure they’re happy.

Workers who are satisfied with their jobs are much more likely to perform better.

It creates a tight and powerful team

You should base your company culture around employee satisfaction, not competitiveness.

Of course, friendly competition can be useful. Fierce rivalry, on the other hand, creates conflicts that hurt your long-term results.

Happy employees feel connected with other team members. They are better suited to work towards the company’s goals together.

9 expert tips to increase employee happiness

There’s no magic formula that will make your team satisfied and engaged with their work. However, there are a few things you can do to boost employee happiness.

Your employees are more likely to feel happy with their jobs when you encourage:

  • Strong social connections between co-workers
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Autonomy to make smart decisions
  • Healthy work-life balance

Your company culture is important, too. No matter how hard you work on empowering your team, a toxic culture can defeat all your efforts.

So, how can you improve your culture and make sure your team is as happy as possible?

Here are nine things to start working on today.

1. Foster a feeling of belonging

Humans are social beings. We’re happier and perform better when we feel that we belong to a community.

That’s why it’s important to create a good atmosphere at your company.

Focus on nurturing mutual goals and values, as well as friendship.

One option to achieve this is to involve your team in charity, as in this company’s example:

“I keep my staff updated on the non-profit organization we support. My company donates supplements to low-income families in developing countries. I believe happiness is in helping other people, and my staff feels the same way.
They feel a greater fulfillment knowing that their work is doing more than just earning them a paycheck.
Every time I give an update, such as the number of bottles donated to countries X and Y, I get dozens of responses saying how the news made their day and brightened their morning.”

Vinay Amin, Health Expert & CEO of Eu Natural

You can foster a feeling of belonging by including employees in business decisions. This will show them that you value their opinion.

Creating a positive atmosphere in the workplace is a continuous process. This means that you should take care to treat employees fairly and kindly on a daily basis.

2. Provide a fair salary and benefits

People get a job to make money, among other things. This is simply how the world works.

Salary isn’t the only factor that can help improve employee engagement. However, it’s certainly a major contributor. That’s why it’s essential to provide fair compensation to your employees:

“Our main strategy is providing a ton of employee benefits, which include personal and social benefits such as additional time-off and clothing allowances.”

Willie Greer, Founder of the Product Analyst

When determining employees’ salaries, consider the value of their input.

The more appreciated they feel, the more they will be willing to give their best for your business. Read more about some of the best employee appreciation ideas.

3. Help people find meaning in their work

The reasons for employee disengagement can be diverse. It may often be that the tasks that a person has to handle are below or above their skills and knowledge.

In both cases, the situation isn’t optimal and can damage morale.

People have to find meaning in their day-to-day tasks. Of course, not all projects can be super exciting. However, you need to think about employees’ preferences when you assign projects.

You should not forget to stir people’s passion for their jobs.

It’s also important to talk with your employees about their career goals:

“I have a monthly check-in meeting for 30 minutes where we talk about employees’ goals, dreams, and passions, and how I can help achieve them. I want to make sure people are passionate about what they are doing!”

Trevor Rappleye, CEO of CorporateFilming.net

4. Allow flexibility and nurture personal responsibility

If you want to build stronger relationships, flexibility and trust are crucial. Many business leaders find that providing flexible working conditions has largely positive effects:

“One thing that we find critically important for keeping employees happy is allowing for flexible working hours. Especially now, with the pandemic, every employee has different needs based on their personal circumstances and living situation.
So, we have decided to give our employees complete freedom in scheduling their own hours, remote or at the office, based on what they feel works best for them.
I’m happy how my employees are able to schedule their own hours so that our teams can work fluidly and unsupervised around the clock.
Flexible hours and the option of remote work will enable your employees to work when they feel and perform the best.
Also, the result of our flexible policy is that employees get to have a better work-life balance, resulting in happier employees that love working for us.”

Tom Winter, Co-founder of DevSkiller

Put the focus on achieving goals rather than on spending eight hours per day in an office. This way, you give people control over their schedules. You also demonstrate that you trust them to do the right thing:

“I am very flexible in terms of work hours, and I put more focus on output. I make sure that there is very little stress among everyone because I’ve always believed that productivity is much better that way.”

Jack Wang, CEO of Amazing Beauty Hair

This is how you help employees develop a sense of personal responsibility for their work. That way, they won’t consider their job as a series of tasks “assigned from above.” Instead, they’ll own their projects and fight for them.

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5. Give recognition and rewards

If you want teams to be happy, employee recognition is a great place to start.

Everyone needs encouragement. It’s especially important to receive it when you’ve worked hard and brought results for the company.

That’s why it’s essential to publicly recognize when a team member has performed well. You should express your satisfaction with their work in private conversations:

“I simply let my employees know that I appreciate their hard work; I do this individually, making sure to highlight a specific scenario. I try not to give employees a generic “well done.”
If a member gets a good review from a customer, for example, I relay the positive feedback to the employee and physically pat him/her on the back. An appreciated employee is a happy employee.”

Zach Reece, CEO of Colony Roofers

You can also set up a reward system. This shows employees that hard work and intense effort don’t go unnoticed:

“I built the company with a vision to recognize everyone’s effort in every accomplishment and indicated in the company handbook a respective reward system to keep my staff happy and motivated.
Monetary reward is something that keeps them motivated and benefits them a lot, which is why I made sure this will be part of the reward system.
I also allow the staff to track their progress and recommend themselves for promotion once they recognize they’re fit for a role.”

Willie Greer, Founder of the Product Analyst

6. Encourage team bonding and celebration

It’s a good idea to invest in and organize social activities that promote team bonding. This is how you can foster a healthy and pleasant work environment for your staff:

“Helping employees become happier in the workplace is a goal I actively pursue, and with this in mind, I like to encourage staff to organize events which will not only help with team bonding but also increase happiness outside of the workplace.
Such events include meals, pub quizzes, sporting and entertainment events, and any other events a team member wants others to participate.
Within the office, we have a pot where each month a name is drawn out. This person then organizes an event that is funded by the business up to a certain value.
We then arrange the event within the month and repeat this throughout the year. Everyone always looks forward to new experiences and time away from the office with co-workers.”

Andrew Roderick, CEO of Credit Repair Companies

Make sure also to encourage employees to celebrate each other’s achievements. This brings them together and makes them feel recognized within the team. It also helps build strong relationships and increases retention rates.

“What can we do to celebrate small victories, big victories, and to create opportunities for employees to have fun together?
In practice, this looks like a #smallvictory Slack channel, Fiesta Fridays (office outing for tacos/burritos – pre-COVID), a quarterly team outing, and impromptu pizza parties when a big deal lands.”

Kenneth Burke, Director of Marketing of Text Request

7. Provide mental health support

Mental health is a big part of employee happiness. To boost morale at work, you have to help people take care of their mental health.

For example, you can offer extra days off for mental health. It’s also important to support employees when they’re dealing with personal issues.

“To help promote employee happiness, we always encourage our employees to take breaks for life and leisure whenever they see fit. We know how beneficial leaving time for life and leisure in your schedule can be for your overall mental health and well-being.
It’s okay for employees to take days or even weeks off to go and spend time with their families or do what they enjoy.
Employees who are in a good place mentally and emotionally are able to be more productive, and that’s exactly why we encourage our employees to leave plenty of time in their schedules for life and leisure.”

Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly

Offering free wellness activities is also a good idea. Sports, yoga, and meditation classes have a positive effect on employees’ mental health.

“We’ve understood that happiness is a subjective matter. What makes one person happy may make another person unhappy. Instead of trying to accommodate each individual need, we focus directly on the mind.
For each employee, we make it mandatory to meditate for 30 minutes each morning. The benefits are extensive and include increased concentration, better memory, emotional balance, etc.
These are all proven via scientific studies. We actually measured the levels of happiness after a one month trial of meditation and found that their happiness levels increased from 6.5 to 8.5 out of ten.”

Amit Gami, Founder of Business Waste Guru

8. Offer training and courses

Continuous learning is the mantra of today’s business world. All of us need to pursue new skills and share our ideas with one another.

Show that you care for employees’ development by providing them with free courses.

“I offer the option to my team members to buy courses and training for them that they would like or that would help them feel happier and more successful in their role.
This year, I have invested around $4,000 in training and resources that are free to my entire team.”

Averi Melcher, Owner of Averi Melcher

Don’t forget that investing in your staff is not a sunk cost. It’s a direct investment in the success of your business.

9. Foster transparent and open communication

Business owners who act like partners and not like bosses can only win.

You have to open up the door for communication with your employees. Use this as a chance not only to tell people what you think but also to hear what they have to say.

“An important step in maintaining employee happiness is to listen to your employees. I have an open-door policy, and not just in name, but in practice. My door is rarely closed, and I am often out in the office, walking around and talking to people.
Happiness in the workplace comes from employees feeling valued both personally and professionally.”

Sarah Franklin, Co-Founder of Blue Tree AI

It’s also essential to reassure people that they can speak their minds in the workplace. Encouraging honesty and openness is a winning strategy for creating a productive team.

“The toughest thing about tracking employee happiness and spotting trends is to get honest answers. Some team members are worried about “rocking the boat” by giving any sort of negative feedback.
This is more common in countries with high power distance where employers tend to punish employees who speak up, ask questions, or give negative feedback even if it’s best for the company.
We have worked hard to encourage team members that are afraid to “rock the boat” by establishing a feeling of trust and comfort no matter how negative the feedback is.
We encourage all types of feedback, including negative, to grow and improve as a company.”

Kean Graham, CEO of MonetizeMore

We all want to improve employee morale, increase retention rates, and reduce stress. But at the end of the day, you have to be happy at your job too. Happiness is determined by a variety of factors, but one thing is certain: the best managers lead by example.

How do you go about keeping employees happy?

How do you help your unhappy employees with job satisfaction? Let us know in the comments.

Looking for more management tips? Check out these related articles:

Category: Employee Productivity, Workforce Management