Why Employee Happiness Matters and 5 Keys to Foster It in Your Business

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Why Employee Happiness Matters and 5 Keys to Foster It in Your Business

You want your workplace to be productive. You want your workplace to be profitable. One element can influence both these metrics: Employee happiness. Why? Simply because happy people perform better.

When people feel happy, they’re energized, focused, and more engaged. Employees operating on all cylinders will be better at their tasks and more highly motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty. They’re more optimistic and emotionally stable; they’re more physically healthy too. Furthermore, happy employees tend to be loyal to the company, which means a more stable workforce.

Unfortunately, as many as 40 percent of employees admit they’re unhappy at work. As an employer, you’ll want to reap the benefits of content workers. There’s a big upside to a company having happy employees. In a TED talk for the series The Way We Work, Michael C. Bush says, “Organizations that have a lot of happy employees have three times the revenue growth, compared to organizations where that’s not true. They outperform the stock market by a factor of three. And if you look at employee turnover, it’s half that of organizations that have a lot of unhappy employees.”

If you’re concerned that making employees happy at work is going to detract from work actually getting done - or cost a lot of money, it isn’t. Making and fostering employee happiness isn’t a matter of providing them with expensive amenities or a fancy, fun or state-of-the-art workspace. It’s a matter of showing your respect for them with your company policies and by the way you treat them as human beings. In the wise words of Albert Schweitzer:

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

What ultimately makes employees happy then? Is it the wages you pay them? Bonuses and perks? The setup of your workspace? Allowances for flexibility? Management style? Yes, these things play a role but there are five fundamentals that are even more crucial to take into account when fostering a happy workforce:

  1. Emotions are shared in social groups. When individuals are happy, their happiness is reflected in the mood of those around them. A happy coworker’s mood rubs off on those around her. In short, happiness breeds more happiness in the workplace.
  2. Empowered employees are happier. Demonstrating your trust and respect go a long way toward ensuring happy employees. Make sure workers are provided all the tools and support necessary to do their jobs well. Likewise, granting them autonomy to take action on the company’s behalf shows your faith in their abilities. Empowerment measures like these lead to a higher degree of job satisfaction and overall happiness.
  3. Fairness is the key to trust. All employees should be given an equal degree of respect, attention and access to resources, no matter their job title or position. That means no special treatment or policies for anyone, regardless of their experience, company rank or length of employment. Employees gain trust in a company when they feel they’re being treated fairly - and that makes them happy.
  4. Employees like their ideas to be heeded. Incorporate employee feedback into company decision-making. When employees see that their ideas are taken into consideration in company policies, they feel the work environment more closely reflects what’s important to them. People are happy when their input is valued and acted upon.
  5. We are social beings. People are happier when they work together rather than in isolation. Promote teamwork to foster strong relationships among your employees. Working as a team will increase their creativity, sense of being supported, and motivation. As a result, they will be more collaborative, invested and yes, happier.

It’s wise to consider your employees’ happiness. Remember these five fundamental truths for fostering it in your business. You’ll have a more productive, profitable - and happy - company for your effort.

Are your employees happy working at your company?

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