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The days when an organization could rely on a simple paycheck to keep employees engaged and happy are long gone, if they ever existed in the first place. While compensation is important, even the highest-paying positions will see unexpected turnover and reduced productivity if companies neglect the happiness of their workforce. From recognizing employees, to supporting a healthy work-life balance, to giving workers a real voice in your company’s decisions and processes, there are a wide range of initiatives that your organization can implement to boost employee happiness.
Let’s take a brief look at just what employee happiness means and the benefits it can provide before diving into 11 actionable strategies for increasing employee happiness at your company.
What is employee happiness?
Employee happiness is when the emotional and mental state of individuals at your workplace is consistently high. It means that employees experience feelings of contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment in their roles. Happy employees maintain positive relationships with colleagues and feel pride in their work.
Employee happiness is not just about smiling at the office. It reflects a deeper sense of well-being that has an impact beyond the workplace, playing a key role in how satisfied employees are with their lives as a whole. It’s also not a one-size-fits-all concept — everyone has their own idea of what happiness looks like, after all — but it generally involves feeling valued on the job, seeing real chances for growth and advancement, and being able to balance the personal and professional aspects of life.
Why is employee happiness important?
Employee happiness isn’t just a “nice-to-have” for either organizations or workers themselves. It’s a key part of both business and personal success. Happy employees tend to be more engaged, productive, and committed to their work. They’re driven by a feeling of purpose and are more likely to take initiative and demonstrate creativity. Their lower stress levels lead to reduced burnout, impacting absenteeism and turnover. Happy employees are also much more likely to have positive interactions with customers, leaving your clients more satisfied and loyal to your brand.
11 strategies for increasing employee happiness
Let’s explore 11 effective strategies for increasing employee happiness, each with practical steps that organizations can start following today.
1. Support work-life balance
A healthy work-life balance is the foundation of long-term happiness at any workplace. Even the most engaged employees will eventually burn out and look for opportunities elsewhere if they don’t have time to rest, recharge, and pursue personal priorities. Supporting work-life balance starts with the basics, like providing employees with ample breaks and paid time off (PTO), but it doesn’t stop there. After all, a stretch of PTO won’t feel much like a real vacation if your manager is regularly messaging you regarding issues that require your attention. Teach both leaders and staff the importance of work-life balance, implement related policies, and pursue more wide-ranging wellness initiatives to ensure that employees can live healthy lives both on and off the clock.
2. Listen to your workforce
Actively listening to your workforce is a vital step in ensuring employee happiness. When employees have the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns, they feel heard and valued. Organizations should establish channels for employees to voice their concerns, suggestions, and feedback, powered by tools like pulse surveys and AI-powered chatbots. People leaders can then analyze this input and act on it to address employee pain points and resolve issues. This gives employees a greater sense of ownership in organizational success and lets them actively participate in shaping their work environment.
3. Provide avenues for professional growth
Employees feel happy when they understand how to advance in their current role and know that their employer is doing everything it can to support them as they work towards taking on greater responsibility. That’s why organizations need to establish clear routes for career advancement, communicate exactly what employees need to do to progress along those routes, and help team members pursue professional development opportunities.
Examine every role at your company to ensure that it’s part of a fulfilling, achievable career path. If not, adjust the responsibilities of certain positions or establish new roles to ensure that every employee can take the next step in their professional journey without having to look for a job elsewhere. And build a talent development program that meets the learning needs of your diverse workforce.
4. Foster a positive work culture
A positive organizational culture is one where employees feel valued, respected, and empowered. It’s characterized by open communication, trust, and a shared purpose. When employees work in a culture that supports their well-being, provides recognition for their contributions, and encourages personal and professional growth, they’re more likely to experience lasting happiness and engagement. A positive work culture also embraces diversity and inclusion, ensuring that all employees feel respected and welcome. By recognizing and appreciating the unique strengths and perspectives that each team member brings, your organization fosters a culture of belonging and mutual respect.
5. Recognize and reward employees
Whether it’s the contributions they make on a daily basis or the crowning achievement of concluding a successful years-long project, employees want their efforts to be recognized by both coworkers and organizational leadership. This positive reinforcement enhances job satisfaction and encourages employees to give their all on a daily basis. Get everyone at your company involved in both providing and receiving recognition with a platform that facilitates social recognition along with points-based rewards. The best recognition solutions let employees react to each others’ messages of thanks and include a built-in rewards marketplace where team members can redeem their points for merchandise and experiences they truly want.
6. Offer exceptional employee incentives
Employee incentives should go beyond traditional benefits to provide employees with unique and meaningful perks that make your organization stand apart from the competition. Whether these take the form of profit-sharing plans, wellness programs, or rewards for referring new talent will depend on what best caters to the diverse needs and preferences of your company’s workforce. Providing an array of great incentives demonstrates that the organization genuinely values the contributions of every employee and wants to reward what each team member brings to the table.
7. Create a great office environment
A great office environment enhances employee happiness by creating a positive and enjoyable place to work. For in-office workers, the organization can design spaces that are comfortable, inspiring, and equipped with modern amenities. Organizations can instead provide stipends to improve home offices for remote and hybrid employees — or even cover the cost of shared workspaces. This ensures that all employees have the environment they need to be productive and content, even when working outside of the office.
8. Build camaraderie with team-building activities
Team building activities foster camaraderie among employees and help your leaders gain a deeper understanding of team members’ individual goals and interests. When employees engage in activities they enjoy, they build positive relationships with their colleagues, fostering a supportive and pleasant work environment. Offer a diverse range of activities so employees can participate in events that align with their interests and preferences. And keep all activities voluntary, so team members don’t feel compelled to participate in events they’d rather skip.
9. Train managers on how to keep employees happy
Managers are a major determinant of employee happiness. When managers demonstrate a positive and empowering attitude, it influences their team’s morale in a major way. Organizations should strive to instill the skills and attitudes necessary to coach and support their direct reports effectively. Managers should also serve as role models when it comes to providing recognition and acting on employee feedback. And rather than micromanaging employees, managers must empower them to succeed by providing them with the resources, training, and encouragement they need to thrive.
10. Cultivate a culture of transparency
Transparency at work requires honesty and open communication about matters big and small. Organizations should clearly communicate the rationale behind their decisions and allow employees to have a real say in those decisions. In a transparent culture, employees can trust that leadership’s intentions are sincere, and they’re encouraged to participate in the decision-making process. When employees know that their voices are valued and they have a clear understanding of the reasons behind organizational decisions, they’re more likely to align with the company’s mission and values, fostering a sense of shared purpose and contentment.
11. Celebrate every employee milestone with style
Few things will make an employee less satisfied than failing to celebrate a major milestone. Organizations should begin by identifying the types of milestones they should recognize. These may include work anniversaries, significant professional accomplishments, and personal achievements. Celebrations, whether in-office or remote, help build camaraderie and create positive memories that contribute to overall employee happiness. They also foster feelings of belonging and community within the organization, as employees are encouraged to celebrate each other’s successes.
Make employee happiness contagious at your organization
While your organization could establish a number of separate initiatives to start boosting employee happiness, this prevents your company from leveraging these strategies’ natural synergies — not to mention the effort it takes to track and optimize each. Instead, centralize your employee happiness program in a single platform with the Achievers Employee Experience Platform. From empowering every employee with the ability to show appreciation with Achievers Recognize, to providing a real-time window into employee sentiment with Achievers Listen, to making everyone milestone memorable with Achievers Celebrate, the Achievers Employee Experience Platform is the fastest route to improved employee happiness at your organization.
Explore the ways Achievers can help your company keep your workforce happy over the long term by requesting a free demo today.
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