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A complete guide to employee happiness: explanations and tips


July 19, 2022


May 24, 2023

The most successful companies in the world know that concentrating on employee happiness can have a huge impact on their business. An organization with happy workers will have a better chance at thriving, the best example being one of the giants of Silicon Valley: Google.  As much as your business cannot operate without a workforce, it cannot perform successfully if your teams are unhappy. Fostering happiness is part of building a positive work culture, including contentment and engagement levels. Even though these two key characteristics are deeply interconnected, they are different. Focusing on employee satisfaction has many essential benefits for managers and staff members. So how is happiness in the workplace defined and why is it crucial? How do you measure it? And most importantly, how do you ensure your workers stay happy? Because employee happiness is not a bonus but a must, we, at deskbird, have decided to dive into this hot topic.

How do you define employee happiness?

The four main pillars of employee happiness

As an employer, a manager, or an HR person, you are probably familiar with Maslow’s pyramid. Well, employee happiness, which can be divided into four pillars: safety, relationship, acknowledgment, and freedom, is highly related to this concept.  When taking a closer look, these drivers are very similar to the hierarchy of needs on the famous Maslow pyramid. 

  • Safety: Having a proper salary plays a key role in fostering a happy workforce. Not only does it enable employees to live decently, but it is also the most basic way to reward them for their work. The same goes for health benefits.
  • Relationships: There is nothing worse than being anxious to go to work because of a toxic relationship with a leader or team member. For happy workers, getting along with colleagues and experiencing a good relationship with their manager is crucial.
  • Acknowledgment: Acknowledgment makes employees feel that they are valued, leading to more creativity, engagement, and productivity. They also tend to stick around longer with a company that recognizes their work.
  • Freedom: Last but not least, freedom is essential for enhancing happiness in the workplace, especially among new generations of workers. Flexi-time and hybrid work yet appear as key solutions to meet employees’ expectations when it comes to autonomy.

💡Important note: employee satisfaction and happiness are two different topics. Workers can be satisfied with their job and the advantages it offers without being happy.

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Two colleagues discussing work.

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The solutions to measure happiness in the workplace 

Conduct surveys regularly (anonymous or not)

Implementing a feedback system is a great solution to measure happiness in the workplace. It gives you a clear overview of how your employees are feeling regarding their job, the company, the organizational culture, the HR and management strategies, the benefits, etc. Some people can be reluctant about sharing their thoughts and worry that it could impact their job security. To make sure this issue does not keep you from gaining input, anonymous surveys are the best solution.

Collect and analyze data

The rise of technology in the workplace is also a very for tracking staff happiness. Digital solutions, such as employee scheduling software, workspace booking tools, or worker satisfaction platforms, for instance, enable you to collect relevant insights concerning your team members. The analysis of this information can help identify some pain points that can affect the overall experience in the workplace. For example, a person who keeps canceling or postponing video calls may be suffering from Zoom fatigue. This can heavily impact how your employees feel about their job.

Use an employee satisfaction index

An Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI) is an aggregate KPI globally used by HR departments. It gives you a better understanding of how your workers feel about their job and their professional environment. The index includes different questions that allow employees to express their level of satisfaction from 1 to 5. At the end of the survey, the closer the sum of the points is to 100, the more satisfied and happy your team members are. 

Listen and be available

The skill of listening is one of the most significant qualities of a manager. Even if the solutions mentioned above are relevant and efficient, human connection in a  technology-driven world is always appreciated. It is vital that you talk and listen to your team members. This will allow you to show them that you are available for them. Similarly, you will be able to identify any sign of discontentment, confusion, or disappointment.

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Employee and boss discussing employee satisfaction feedback.

Why is it important to keep employees happy? 

What are the benefits of collaborating with happy workers? Why is it essential and what does it change your business? Focusing on maintaining your employees’ satisfaction can is a catalyst for success and staying competitive in the fight for talent attraction. 

A happy environment positively impacts your workforce’s work and their bond with your organization. Keeping your team members happy creates a snowball effect that every company should be working towards. Here are a few benefits of employee happiness:

People who are satisfied with their jobs and workplaces have a positive impact on the business and on their teammates. They are motivated by and inspire others, which clearly leads to better performance in general. When workers are happy, they are also eager to tackle new projects. Moreover, if an unexpected event happens, they tend to be more resilient and solution-oriented. 

The advantages of creating and maintaining employee happiness are endless. Does it have any downsides? None that we can think of. The future of work is employee-centric, there is no doubt about it.

👉Do you want to encourage teamwork and foster a positive atmosphere in the office? Discover our interactive floor plan feature and help your team members easily find their colleagues!

Team of employees working together on laptops
Happy team working together in the office.

How do you increase and maintain employee happiness?

Develop the right workplace culture

A toxic work culture can destroy a company. How? Because it has a direct impact on your employees who are the backbone of your business. As we mentioned earlier, just as a car requires an engine, a company needs a workforce to run. However, collaborating with unhappy workers is like putting diesel in a gasoline engine. In the long run, it will break down. As we highlighted in our article about culture in the workplace, culture does not create itself. Intentional action must be taken to build a positive work culture based on an employee-centric approach.

Offer career growth opportunity

Growth as a person and as an employee is one of the most important benefits a company can offer to its employees. Therefore, offering re-skilling, up-skilling, and career growth opportunities should be considered when you want your workforce to thrive. With the rise of new technology and New Work, re-skilling and up-skilling are a must for organizations to stay competitive. However,  Millennials and Gen. Z workers expect these growth opportunities are provided. Obviously, being able to evolve within the company and climb the career ladder also drives motivation and can impact overall happiness.

💡Good to know: according to the 2021 Employee Turnover Report from Quantum Workplace, 38% of employees quit their job because of a lack of career growth.

Focus on trust and recognition 

Micromanagement kills employee engagement, productivity, and happiness.  You need to learn to trust your team members and stop checking every single action they take. The statistics are clear: ​​71% of people affirm that micromanagement interfered with their job performance, 85% reported their morale was negatively impacted, and 69% considered quitting due to micromanagement (source: Micromanagement Survey by BK Connection). Consequently, focusing on building trust and showing recognition for your workers is essential to fostering happiness in the workplace, creating a positive employee experience, and retaining your talent. 

Allow more work flexibility

The more our ways of work evolve, the greater role flexibility plays in employee happiness. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic and remote work experience. Hybrid work provides workers with more time for themselves, their family, and friends, while still being fully employed. By encouraging flexible schedules based on days at the office, at home, or in the third workplace, they can achieve a better work-life balance. If your goal is to create an employee-first culture and therefore, focus on making your staff happy, allowing more freedom and flexibility is crucial.

👉How to manage a multigenerational workforce? Read our article to know about challenges, benefits, and tips to embrace more generational diversity in the workplace.

Man in blue suit and headphones speaking at table with colleagues
Happy employee discussing with collegues

Talent attraction and workforce retention are both major topics for HR. New Work trends are established on a more employee-centric approach. Consequently, employee happiness is a very important aspect of  HR management strategies. Using surveys, collecting data, listening, and building trustworthy relationships are all key solutions to measure happiness in the workplace. Based on this information, you can then set up the right actions to make and keep your team happy. Is work flexibility a topic you need to tackle?

Request a free demo of the deskbird app to discover how we can help you and your employees to embrace the hybrid work model.

A complete guide to employee happiness: explanations and tips

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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