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10 Ways in Which You Can Improve Employee Happiness in Your Workplace

By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

10 Ways in Which You Can Improve Employee Happiness in Your Workplace

Employee happiness is no longer a buzzword in the world of corporate, it has evolved to become the backbone, to ensure the sustainable growth of a company. A happy employee will not only be more productive (this figure goes up to 13%) but also improve the company culture and motivate others to do well too.  Top talent gravitates toward a better culture and unlike what you might hear, it is not rocket science to keep your employees happy.

Of course, at this point we are not referring to the external factors that exist in everyone’s life, what we are referring to are the factors that keep employees happy and engaged.  So, here is our guide to help you keep your employees happy.

1. Why Does Employee Happiness Matter?

Employee happiness is essential for a number of reasons. Happier employees lead to a better environment, better engagement between the managers and employees, lower rates of absenteeism, increased creativity and heightened problem-solving abilities, 

Having a happy employee thus means that your organization, as well as their personal goals, are in alignment. This, in turn, increases your employee retention rate. As you know employees are the foundation of any company’s success. The cost of replacing an employee is equivalent to 33% of their salary. In the US alone, companies spend upwards of $550 billion replacing employees who leave due to being unhappy. 

2. How to Measure Employee Happiness?

2.1. Start With an Employee Happiness Survey


An employee happiness survey is a questionnaire that enables you to gauge the happiness levels within your workforce with the help of a standard set of questions. Keep the evaluation questions extremely simple, as data collected that way is much easier to understand, compile and derive actionable results. 

2.2. Concentrate On Authentic Conversations

Authentic conversations refer to all the forums that you give your employees where they can voice their opinions without the fear of censorship or pushback on the part of the management. Something like a weekly all-hands meeting or a town hall where there is an open discussion regarding the company culture, values, and direction goes a long way in keeping the morale high and understanding the pulse of your employees. 

2.3. Consider the Metrics of Your Company

 Metrics like employee productivity, workplace safety incidents, customer feedback, employee retention rate, turnover rate, and wellness levels are all indicators of how your employees are feeling in the organization. Employee happiness and productivity go hand in hand. Your retention rate will be high, and your turnover rate will be low. The customers would be happy and the wellness levels of the staff as a collective will also be great. 

3. How to Ensure Employee Happiness?

3.1. Prioritize Work-Life Balance

Management of both - time spent at work and home is called work-life balance. In the current times, it has been reduced to a buzzword, but that does not mean that it still isn’t a very real, extremely crucial part of an employee’s happiness. 

It is important to ensure that your employees have a life beyond work, this is a sign of a healthy work environment. It is no longer all about just giving them perks within the office, the pandemic has changed the way people look at priorities. For employees, it is important to feel like the company prioritizes their well-being and this means that they want to create healthy boundaries in the workspace and cultivate interests beyond the professional realm. 

3.2. Allow Flexible Working

Flexible working refers to allowing people to have more freedom regarding their working schedule. This helps them come up with a schedule that works with their routine and avoid feeling stressed or worse, facing burnout. 

Better flexibility helps increase not only happiness but also productivity. Your employees should  not feel like they are being stretched beyond their capacity. It is important to remember that everyone has their own schedules that they feel the most comfortable with. Some people are early risers, others night owls, offering them flexibility will help you get the best quality of work and harmony across the board. 

3.3. Communicate With Your Employees

 Involve your employees in your decision-making process. In most companies, the leaders are the only ones who get to be a part of the decision-making process, but asking for your employee's suggestions or feedback during this time will make them feel important and help you create assets for your company as well. If your employees are a part of the decision-making process, they understand the nuances that go behind the working of your company.  

This is actually one of the easier ways you can boost the happiness of your employees. Everyone wants to feel that their voice is heard, that way they feel empowered to perform their best work. 

3.4. Enhance Learning and Development Opportunities

Consistent growth opportunities are important to keep employees happy. People do not like feeling that they are stagnant. They want to see their talents and the potential to earn grow. Employees are constantly striving for something, it is up to you to ensure you are creating the right stepping stones for your employees. 

Create a space that allows them to take greater risks, put forth new ideas, provide them with mentorship and support, and above help them upskill at every stage. This is a very tangible way you can ensure that you are partaking in employee happiness. Another thing that you need to remember is that if you do not give them the right opportunities, they will look for them somewhere else. It is actually as simple as that. 

3.5. Build a Positive Workspace

A positive workspace is one that practices transparency and open dialogue.  Of course, more factors go behind building a positive work environment, but these two remain on top of the list.  These are essential to mitigate any negative feelings before they grow out of hand. 

A positive workspace ensures that people feel like they can discuss anything and resolve any bubbling tensions before they begin to impact the work as a whole. As stated by Protex AI in this guide on workplace safety culture, organizations should focus on establishing trust among workers and encourage open communication to create a positive safety culture. Workplace training like one pertaining to the code of conduct can help create a platform for better transparency. 

One of the simplest ways that you can aid in the creation of a positive environment is through just smiling more. A smile conveys happiness and positive energy. You can easily spread happiness, it all begins with a smile.

3.6. Recognize and Reward Employees

Start by saying thank you, it will help you out a lot. As a manager, it might not be at the forefront of your mind to recognize an employee's hard work but what you need to realize is that it does not have to be a grand gesture. But recognizing their efforts can help them feel seen and want to do better. 

Some ways you can do so is by encouraging a regular feedback channel, recognizing the hard work that each person is putting in irrespective of what position they are in, and implementing a rewards system. 

Beyond managers, even a peer review system works well to help employees out. When a company encourages a peer recognition system it becomes easier for people to take part in it. For all this to work, what you need is a transparent work culture so that employees do not feel like they have to compete with each other. Instead, the focus needs to be on upliftment and encouragement. 

3.7. Encourage Breaks

Breaks, whether small like meal time, grabbing a snack, exercise time or big like regular vacations, need to be encouraged to ensure that your employees do not get overworked. Yes, working hard is important. But staying late, skipping meals and taking no holidays can have a counterproductive effect on your employees. As an anomaly it's fine, but as a habit, it can often get destructive and can lead your employees down the rabbit hole to burnout.  

Encourage your employees to put their health first and see the difference there is in the work. What you want are people who work smarter and have better ideas. 

3.8. Offer Extensive Benefits to Your Employees

Employee happiness to a large extent also depends on the benefits that they receive. This includes overtime pay, complementary meals, extended maternity and paternity leave etc.

 It's really simple, if employees feel like the company takes good care of them, they will be happy.

The conversation around benefits is one that remains decisive. Companies don’t want to put more money towards benefits especially if they recently onboarded a new employee. All you need to design is a comprehensive package that best suits the demographics of your organization. Make use of surveys, feedback systems and internal discussions to land on a package that seems the most conducive to their happiness. 

A simple thing that you can start with is allowing people a day off on their birthdays or paid paternity/maternity leave.  

3.9. Promote Team-Building Activities

As per How to Be Happy at Work by Annie McKee, one factor that comes into consideration for  a person to be happy at work is interpersonal relationships. You can promote this through team-building activities like day celebrations, sports, outdoor games, and picnics. Creating open channels of communication allows for better satisfaction at work. It is important to understand that people spend a major chunk of their time at work. So, it is important that they get along. If there is friction on the floor it is bound to not only affect the people involved but also everyone around.

The easiest way to ensure you are promoting team-building activities is by setting a day aside for an activity every week. This will provide a break from work as well as allow people from different teams to work with one another. 

3.10. Provide Positive Criticism and Feedback


Feedback is an important part of every review cycle, knowing how to give it is what makes all the difference. Positive criticism gives your employees the chance to make a change and improve their work, whereas the opposite may cause them to shut down and feel unhappy. 

Feedback is a management tool. It is an important part of every manager's job to ensure that they nudge their employees in the right direction for the best results.

4. Examples of Employee Happiness  

4.1. Netflix

Netflix has become a global phenomenon. But apart from being a great streaming service, they are also exceptional employers. About 86% of respondents from Netflix were found to be happy by the anonymous professional networking app, Blind. This was the highest in any company that was in the survey, 

They are aided by their employee-friendly policies like a transparent culture and great compensation packages.

One of their most radical policies for employees is the option to avail of a full year of paid leave for new parents. This policy is one of the many ways that Netflix shows its employees that it cares about their well-being as well as their contribution to the company. 

4.2. Apple

Apple is one of the biggest tech companies in the world and that growth has primarily been driven by its high-performing, extremely talented workforce. But how do they hire and retain this talent? Well, through their benefits and perks. These include life insurance, vacation time off, gym credit, and more.  

 One of the most impressive benefits on the table is the retirement plan. While people are employed by the company they are offered a 50%401(k) match for up to 6% of their total income to help build a good retirement fund. 

4.3. Google

Google has been synonymous with great company culture for years. They were actually one of the first few companies to implement benefits like free meals, employee trips, bonuses, gyms, a dog-friendly campus and a lot more. One of the biggest founding principles of this tech giant was that they wanted to create a culture that puts their employees well being above all else. 

Their biggest policy is the health insurance that they provide. Irrespective of whether you're a temp, contractor, a full-time or part-time employee, you will receive an annual $1,000 deductible that covers hospitalization for any reason.

5. FAQs

5.1. Why is being happy at work important?

It is important to be happy at work because happiness has a direct impact on productivity levels and performance at work.

5.2. How do you increase employee happiness?

To increase employee happiness companies should focus on building a transparent and positive work environment.

5.3. What makes employees happy at the workplace?

Employees are happy at the workplace when they receive the right support to not only work but also grow with the organization.

5.4. How do you know if your employees are happy?

Primary indicators of happy employees are high retention and low turnover rate

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