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Employee Happiness: Why Happy Workers Are Productive Workers

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Long gone are the days when the term employee happiness was not of any vital importance. However, now it has become essential that employees feel happy, and organizations are actively prioritizing it to drive improved outcomes and lasting growth.

Key Takeaways

  1. Meaning of employee happiness.
  2. Ways to improve employee happiness.
  3. Top benefits of employee happiness and why does it matter?
  4. Examples of companies who are doing it the right way.

What is Employee Happiness?

Employee happiness refers to the pleasant emotional state and fulfillment employees experience in their workplace. It is generally characterized by , engagement, job satisfaction, and well-being. All of these boosts productivity and promote organizational success.

According to 'The How Of Happiness' by Sonja Lyubomirsky, happiness is influenced by genetics (50%) and life circumstances (10%), while 40% is tied to personal outlook. As an employer, you can influence this 40% of employee happiness by understanding their sources of joy, fostering positive work structures, and adapting your company culture.

The immediate quetion that arises is: how to make your employees happy?

Making your employees happy isn’t rocket science. Particularly increasing trends suggest that companies with better company culture, such as Google, attract the top talents.

Often, its because the perks of working there are tremendous. These perks instill a sense of belonging in the employees. Because when employees feel that their well being is given a priority, it inspires their loyalty. Thus, resulting in them performing their very best.

Having said that, let's widen our lens and explore the top five fundamental aspects of employee happiness.

5 Major Ways To Improve Employee Happiness

Recently, Fortune published a list of “100 best companies to work for". The ranking of a good workplace culture takes into account these five fundamental aspects:

  • Credibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Pride
  • Camaraderie

These five aspects are the main factors that determine the level of employee happiness. Does your organization try to enforce it?

If yes, then good for you! Seems like you are going in the right direction. However, if not, then don’t worry. These are pretty simple concepts and easily achievable.

1. Credibility

(Credits: Unsplash)

Credibility is the bona fide way for your company to become a future market leader. It is synonymous with the respect it invokes in people.

To say that your company is “credible” is to say that your company is trustworthy. However, the bottom line is that to establish your trustworthiness as a company, you need to pull out the big guns.

So if you are thinking that by only creating a loyal customer base, then you are mistaken. To establish credibility as a company, you need to cover a lot of ground.

Your employees know your company better than most. They have knowledge of the products. Usually, they know about the inner workings of your organization.

If your employees don’t believe in the efficiency of your product, hardly anyone else will. What’s better than to build credibility than by starting from your very own employees?

Related Articles: Employee Advocacy: Everything A Leader Needs To Know

a. Acknowledge Efforts

If your employee has done an excellent job, then appreciate them. Do your team members have good work ethics? Then show that it matters. Thus, make them aware that you understand the work that they are doing is significant.

Like it or not, your employees do need some kind of validation from you. Make use of this feature as it is the ultimate silver lining. One of the primary reasons people end up hating their job is that they have an “unreasonable boss.”

Don’t be that reason. Or that boss.

b. Rewards

Your employees spend their time and energy in fulfilling your company objectives. Otherwise, verbal recognition could only go so far in keeping your employees feel happy.

Thereby, having a well-implemented reward-based system is the magic solution that you need. Having an occasional reward system will make your employees love their jobs.

An occasional reward-based system enforces positive psychology among employees. The right combination of employee recognition and a reward system has indefinite benefits. Having some sort of prize to look forward to is a sure free way of greeting work with enthusiasm. As a result, it pushes them to do better.

c. Be Sensitive

The sooner you realize that your employees are human beings, the better it is for you.

You very well might be able to function on 3 hours of sleep and be available to work on holidays. This doesn’t mean that you can expect the same from your employees.

The one thing every employee seeks is to be able to strike a perfect work-life balance. A great way to do this is to offer remote or work from home options.

Do remain attuned to your employees’ problems. Seek out ways on how you can make their lives easier.

Related Articles: Empathy In The Workplace

Ensuring your employee’s happiness is one of your foremost goals. Thus, showing that you care about your employees will prove to be the biggest USP in establishing your credibility.

2. Respect

(Credits: Pixabay)

A downtrodden employee will hardly consider himself happy. Your company culture should be able to give an assurance of dignity at work.

Every person that you meet in your corporate career will have a role to play in its advancement. Never make the mistake of assuming that respect is something to be given out selectively. Respect everyone you meet.

According to research done by SHRM:

A respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as “very important” by 72% of employees in 2014, making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction.

So, if you want to cultivate workplace happiness, then start by respecting your employees.

3. Fairness

(Credits: Unsplash)

As a leader, you should take care not to show any kind of favoritism. The act of playing favorites will create a sense of resentment among your employees.

Maybe, that you have a favorite employee (we all do). However, to present a particular employee with extra advantages is unfair. It will lead others to question your leadership. Hence, endorse a company culture where equal treatment becomes a norm.

Act nice. Play fair.

If you are still unclear about fostering an ethical company culture; don’t worry, I got you covered. Here are a few ways through which you can keep it in check:

a. Fair Compensation

None of your employees are working for free. Consequently, for offering their service and investing their time, fair compensation is a must.

  • Usually, if they worked overtime, pay them for it.
  • Mainly, if their service helped in the growth of your company, give out bonuses.
  • Likewise, if a team completed a project, show your appreciation by giving out rewards.
  • If both male and female employees are doing a similar job, don’t underpay your female employees.

b. Fair Promotions

It doesn’t matter whether you like an employee or not, but if she is deserving of a promotion, give her a promotion. Bypassing a deserving employee of a well-deserved accolade will garner ill-will.

To establish yourself as a trustworthy leader, you should keep personal feelings aside. As a rule, act rationally.

Establish a transparent system where the process of giving out promotions becomes evident. Maintain a standard of conduct which employees can follow to further their career. Give out promotions in due time.

c. Address Problem Areas

No workplace is perfect, and nor will it ever be. Your employees will have their own set of problems.

They might genuinely feel that their rights as an employee are being violated. It might either be because of a collective dispute or an individual issue. An employee troubled by workplace problems will tend to be less productive.

Address this issue by making your employees feel comfortable about airing their grievances. Don’t turn their problems into something inconsequential.

Listen to them. Present a fair system for solving disputes among employees. Hire a company counselor to combat stress or frustration in employees. Make them believe that their mental well-being matters to you.

4. Pride

(Credits: Unsplash)

Employees' happiness is significantly linked to their sense of pride in the workplace. If your employees are proud of working at your company, mentally pat yourself on the back. It means you are doing a great job!

Having pride is one's work and company is an incredible motivator and happiness initiator.

Especially, try to instill a sense of accomplishment within them. Feelings of negativity that may arise in the employees are to be expected. Work pressure and stress may be contributing factors.

  • Maybe, conduct motivational seminars. Show your employees that their work has helped in the positive growth of your company culture. Thereby, publicly acknowledge their excellent performance.

  • Likewise, have frequent meetings with your workers. As their leader, you need to connect with them. Your praise and validation will go a long way to increase their morale. When your workforce sees that their boss cares about their opinions, it is bound to develop their sense of pride.

  • Also, offer rewards occasionally and accordingly. Gift cards, gym memberships, work from home options- the variety is endless.

  • Entrust employees with new responsibilities. It will make them harbor a feeling of importance and pride in their work. Show that you trust them.

  • Consequently, place value on your employees’ viewpoints. Make it easier for your employees to discuss any new ideas or proposals. Conduct brainstorming sessions.

  • Take into account their views and go through the process of implementing those ideas. Discuss why those ideas may or may not work.

5. Camaraderie

(Credits: Unsplash)

Camaraderie, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as:

A feeling of friendliness towards people that you work or share an experience with.

Thus, camaraderie works as an incredible booster for increasing the level of employee engagement.

In short, fellowship is the age-old human tradition of socializing. Much like wolves, humans work better as a pack or group. Because we are highly social creatures. Thus, regular social interactions foster our mental wellbeing.

The sight of employees, huddled around and gossiping, must be common across all the offices in the world. Thereby, some innovative managers must have had an idea to ban such kinds of interactions.

If you have the same idea, don’t. Stow this idea in your mental trash can. Harvard Business Review revealed how camaraderie affects company culture:

Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying. Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.

Here are a few reasons why workplace camaraderie should be encouraged:

  • Encourages employees to develop and work better as a team.
  • Being around peers creates a better workplace environment.
  • A fun work environment reduces stress and results in better performance.
  • Employees look forward to coming back to work.
  • Above all, it promotes a strong emotional support network.

Hence, to help in developing a friendly workplace environment, you can opt for the following ways:

a. Organizing Social Activities

It can be anything from an annual picnic or can be a cultural night. Accordingly, incorporate social events that encourage interactions among the employees.

b. Improve Company Culture

Encourage a company culture where everyone is free to mingle and socialize. A company culture of a blue collared job and cubicles is a big no. Avoid it if you can.

The most successful companies understand that employees actively are looking for a fun environment. For instance, Facebook’s company culture highly encourages social interactions among their employees. One of its employees stated that:

"There’s definitely a lot of people walking around and a lot of things happening and conversations,” he said. “You just have every opportunity to learn from your colleagues and to collaborate.

c. Being the Friendly Boss

An unfriendly boss can spoil the workplace environment faster than you can say “cheese.” As their leader, your employees need to see you as a friend. All the great leaders know that you are better off by being among them and not standing on a pedestal.

The idea is to make yourself seem approachable and not into someone intimidating.

Moving forward, let's explore the real benefits of putting employee happiness first. We'll see how this approach boosts engagement, productivity, and overall business success.

Top Six Benefits of Employee Happiness

1. Happiness leads to engagement

An HBR article claims that happier workers are more engaged. Furthermore, workers who are engaged at work are more productive and absent from work less frequently.

2. Happiness leads to a stress-free workplace

Happy workers are more likely to show up for work, which keeps the quality of your workplace culture high. Their positive presence fosters a sense of commitment, reliability, and enthusiasm among the team, ultimately elevating the overall work environment.

3. Happiness boosts creativity

An American Psychological Association study involving over 600 individuals demonstrated that days marked by enthusiasm, energy, and excitement were associated with heightened feelings of creativity. This establishes a direct connection between employee happiness and creativity, fostering innovative thinking and idea generation.

4. Happiness helps in retention

Unhappy employees tend to switch jobs more often. According to a Job Sage survey, 1 in 4 individuals left a job due to mental health reasons. Conversely, content employees are more likely to stay with the company.

5. Happy employees = Happy customers

42 percent of customers in a PwC report are willing to pay extra for positive and friendly customer service. So it's clear that enhancing customer interactions is pivotal. Remember, only happy employees are known to deliver superior customer service. Their positive outlook and job satisfaction directly translate into more engaged interactions with customers, fostering a healthy and productive business-customer relationship.

6. Finally, happiness in contagious!

The positive impact of happy employees isn't limited to themselves. Their feelings and vibes extend to their colleagues as well. It aids in creating a harmonious environment that enhances overall team morale and productivity.

As we near the end of this blog, let's take a brief look at the remarkable achievements of these organizations, which act as beacons for employee happiness. Their accomplishments reveal the route to a transformative journey that will result in a more engaged and content workforce.

Employee Happiness: Examples of How To Improve Employee Motivation and Morale

(Credits: Unsplash)

1. Netflix

Here’s an example of how Netflix shows some love for their employees. At Netflix, the employees who become new parents get a year of paid leave. This establishes that Netflix actually cares about its employees.

Consequently, Netflix staff wouldn’t mind going the extra mile to help achieve the company objectives. Take into account the words of the brilliant Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba:

Always let your employees come to work with a smile.

To ensure your organization’s success, you must acknowledge your employees’ happiness quota.

However, the million-dollar question remains.

How do you go on about achieving something as abstract as happiness?

Happiness is subjective. Indeed, it is not measurable on a simple scale. Furthermore, the factors affecting job satisfaction are debatable and variable.

Even if you provide world-class facilities, results may differ. So, it might inspire some people to work harder. However, others might have a bad experience in a similar scenario.

Therefore, it is better to be aware of the various factors that come into play to ensure happiness. By only focusing on a single element is doomed to fail.

Every workplace is unique and will respond to different factors. Your best bet is to experiment with multiple factors. Find out the formula that will work the best for your organization.

2. Apple

Your relationship with your employees plays a crucial part. Harvard Business Review published an article about why good companies continue to fail. The most noteworthy is how Apple Computers faced one of their biggest hurdles:

Imposing the necessary discipline, however, ran counter to the Apple culture, and top management found itself frustrated whenever it tried to exert more control. The engineers simply refused to change their ways. The relationships with creative employees that enabled Apple’s early growth ultimately hindered it from responding to environmental changes.

You might be the most brilliant boss alive. Also, your company culture might be as close to perfect as it gets. However, none of it matters if your own employees aren’t invested emotionally. Feelings of unhappiness will result in decreased productivity and quality of work.

The good news is that you can help prevent such adverse situations. Before looking for ways to increase profits, think of ways to boost employee happiness.

Let’s look at what each of the five aspects requires and how they act in boosting employee happiness at work.


To summarize, happiness in the workplace is a significant factor contributing to employee engagement. Try to promote happy company culture. In particular, being mindful of your employees’ happiness is the first step to take. Look for ways on how you can boost it.

It can be as simple as looking to improve upon the five given aspects. i.e., credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. Aim to develop a free, happy, and positive company culture. You will observe how, in the long run, this will be one of your best investments.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest to research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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