Laura Iñiguez, Content Manager at Hirebook
Laura is a content and social media strategist with deep experience in Employee Engagement, People Management, and Culture. She works with Hirebook to bring their innovative best practices to life through content, videos, and webinars seen by thousands around the globe.
Pub: January 19 2022
Upd: November 17 2022
It’s hard to think of “happiness” having something to do with work, after all, the raw meaning of “work” has no room for happiness in it… or does it?
Culturally, we’re used to thinking of work as something we have to do in order to afford a living, and it’s not something we want to do. But with work taking such a large part of our day, shouldn’t it be something less tedious?
Pretty much every employee has at some point thought about resigning their job for a variety of reasons, besides personal ones, like feeling underpaid, feeling they’re doing a lot more than what they signed up for, a hostile work environment, few growth opportunities, low job satisfaction, wanting to change careers, lack of support, etc. If an employee experiences any of the aforementioned, they probably won’t perform their best, taking a toll not only on their mental health but on the organization’s business success as well. Over 75% of employees admit to leaving their company due to not feeling valued.
Nowadays we know that having happy employees contributes to high performance, but workplace happiness can have different meanings in the mind of the employees. For some people, workplace happiness may be a high paycheck and great benefits. For others, it may be having growth and development opportunities. Some people might think a happy workplace is somewhere you can socialize and have a good time with colleagues; or a company with appealing company culture, cool facilities, and a position composed of a nice set of responsibilities.
There are many different perceptions of workplace happiness, but the truth is that we’re living in an era where employees specifically look for this when considering staying in a position or searching for a new opportunity. Younger generations don’t want to live for their work, they want to work to enjoy life.
Why is Workplace Happiness Important?
Employee happiness plays a big role in productivity, not only will happy employees reach their goals faster, but they’ll get better results in more than one way. There are several studies that prove this theory and provide interesting insights like:
- Happy employees are 20% more productive. Research has shown that employees who are happy and enjoy their work are more willing to work extra hours and make a bigger effort to meet their objectives.
- Happiness lowers work related stress levels. As obvious as this statement is, it’s important to remember that low stress levels have a positive impact on our mental health and employee productivity.
- Workplace happiness means higher retention rates. Happy employees usually stay four times longer in their jobs, and they are also more likely to reject other employers even if they offer a higher salary.
- Psychological Safety - Employees who are happy and feel comfortable at their workplace tend to take accountability for their mistakes and have a genuine interest in finding a solution, instead of hiding and blaming others, which would only cause more stress and hostility.
- Happiness contributes to creativity - Happy minds are creative minds that will not only focus on achieving their goals but on achieving them in the best way possible.
Unfortunately, some of these statistics aren’t as good as they could or should be. There’s clearly a lot to do in terms of creating a happy and engaged workplace.
Behind every successful company culture, there has to be a thorough organizational psychology strategy. Employers are not 100% responsible for their employees’ happiness but if life is already difficult enough, every piece of effort made towards making life easier is widely appreciated and has very positive outcomes. More than 50% of CEOs say that a positive corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, company value, organizational behavior, and growth rate; it may be challenging to reinforce positive psychology to improve workplace happiness, but it’s definitely not impossible.
How to Improve Workplace Happiness
There are several strategies that can help you increase employee engagement and workplace happiness. Although it is kind of impossible to measure happiness, you will get to enjoy the benefits and take advantage of the happiness you instill. Furthermore, other performance-related metrics will let you know when your happiness strategies have paid off.
Having your team together to brainstorm is a great way to drive collaboration among employees and spark up creativity. Brainstorming sessions are often an underrated technique to boost morale because we only associate it with work, but they’re opportunities to create bonds between team members and stimulate new ideas.
Foster Professional Relationships
A good manager knows that their employees have a personal life that’s above their professional one, so it’s important to get to know them better on a personal level. Check-in periodically with your team and ask them if there’s anything they need help with. Ask them about regular stuff that has nothing to do with work, like their hobbies, likes, and dislikes. You never know when you can bond with someone over the most random things like being into the same show.
You can boost morale through building relationships with activities like a mentor program, a book club, pairing new hires with senior employees, or hosting games to drive teamwork.
Collaboration among employees is one of the greatest strengths an organization can have, but it doesn’t happen magically. Some people aren’t used to working in teams or would rather just fly solo, but everyone needs a little help every once in a while, and it’s important to build trust to make it easier to ask for help.
Team-building activities are a great tool to instill collaboration, improve communication, boost morale, and create bonds between employees. To give some ideas, you could host:
- Room Escape events
- Scavenger hunts
- Trivia challenges
- Mindful meditation sessions
- Boardgame championships
Keeping activities interactive and fun is the key to boosting morale, and that can only lead to happy employees!
Care for your Employees’ Professional Development
Many employees cite a bad company culture and lack of opportunities as their main reason to leave a job. You can’t expect your employees to stay in the same positions forever, because they’re most likely looking to develop a professional and successful career, and if they can’t find development opportunities at their job, they’ll start looking somewhere else. Besides not having to spend thousands of dollars on replacing an employee, caring for your employees’ development will bring you lots of other benefits like high performance, creative solutions, and networking opportunities.
Professional development can be as simple as creating a mentoring program with the most experienced employees as mentors, having important speakers share their knowledge with your team, or even helping them take online courses.
One of the most important aspects of human relationships is open and honest communication. If your employees don’t trust you, they won’t feel drawn to making a good job to make you proud; they won’t ask questions if they have doubts about their tasks, which will cause mistakes that they definitely won’t take accountability for, because, again, they don’t really trust you.
Every check-in, every one-on-one, or even team meeting is an opportunity for you to be truthful and make your employees feel safe with you. A leader should be the one to set the example and create a happy and trustful environment.
Every employee, no matter their position, is searching for job satisfaction and maintaining a steady work life balance. It’s weird to think that organizational and business success can have such an influence over an employee’s personal life, but we mustn’t forget that it also happens the other way around, so we should do what’s in our hands to look out for our best interests benefitting the company and the people working in it. A little effort can bring great rewards!