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Over the last few years, top executives of leading companies have begun to realize that quality service for external clients depends on quality service for internal clients (i.e., employees of the company), which is impossible without taking care of their psycho-emotional health.

Happiness in the workplace is a "present" trend. According to a research, about 65% of Americans are generally satisfied with their work, and only 20% are obsessed with what they earn a living.

Thus, measuring employee happiness and identifying and preventing unhappiness appears critical for modern HR professionals and hiring managers.

What is Employee Happiness😊?

Employee happiness denotes an overall satisfaction and coincidence of expectations from work with actual perception. 

Employees' happiness lies at the intersection of involvement and satisfaction. This is a quality of employee experience that is higher than employee satisfaction. It is one of the building blocks for attracting employees. Let's look at this question in more detail!

Satisfied employees 😌 perform well in their roles and have few complaints, but they can still explore other opportunities if presented with the options. The employees involved, in turn, regularly do more in their tasks than is usually required. They personally invest in the development of the company. Loyalty to the business of such employees is very high. To reach this level, the organization needs the happiness of employees.

Why is it Essential to Measure Employee Happiness?

It is crucial to assess employees' happiness level to see at what stage is happiness in your company, identify patterns and learn to make improvements. The happiness of your employees has many benefits:

  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Greater productivity
  • Better corporate culture
  • Greater employee engagement
  • Less stressed employees
  • More satisfied customers

It is tough to reap the benefits of employee happiness if it is not measured from time to time. However, before measuring happiness, it’s essential to know your metrics, so you can zero in on the kind of culture you want to create. Furthermore, keep in mind that what employee happiness looks like varies across industries and spheres.

What is the Happiness Effect?

Employers have many responsibilities. Believe it or not, keeping their employees happy is one of the most responsibilities. While identifying the bad seed represents a necessary evil in business management, numerous attributes help to spot an unhappy employee 😞 at once.

On the other hand, business owners and supervisors should also take the time to identify those employees who perform their job enthusiastically and help set a positive example for others.

Here are a couple of distinctive features characterizing a happy employee:

  • Happy employees are smarter.
  • Happy employees volunteer for new tasks.
  • Happy employees have a sense of purpose.
  • Happy employees see problems as opportunities.
  • Happy employees socialize.
  • Happy employees take breaks but remain productive.
  • Happy employees are busy but not overwhelmed.

Employee happiness is rather subjective. Many hiring experts believe workplace happiness largely depends on each employee's personality type and character. Therefore it is a subject for vivid discussions. Recruiting with happiness traits in mind could be an efficient way to ensure positive workplace culture.

When it comes to the psychology of happiness, various theories exist. Thus, according to Sonja Lyubomirsky, 50% of happiness is genetically predetermined/ The remaining 50% largely depends on the outlook (40%) and slightly (10%) depends on the circumstances in life (Family, health, etc.). In this case, a personality assessment for the present and future employees is a secret weapon.

Employee Happiness vs. Job Satisfaction

Employee happiness has tended to be talked about much less than job satisfaction in the business world. Therefore, there might be some confusion between these terms. Besides, a comparable rarity of the term 'employee happiness' makes it seem like something difficult or impossible to achieve. However, this is not quite true.

First things first, let's draw a line between job satisfaction and employee happiness once and for all.

Employee happiness is often described as a constant positive attitude towards one's work. Besides, employee happiness also finds its representation in a strong motivation to solve problems rather than complain, willingly accept constructive criticism and improve one's knowledge and skills.

Satisfaction, as it is, means fulfillment and enjoyment a person drives from something. Job satisfaction, in its turn, is a measure of employee contentment with the job. This implies that the employees are satisfied at work as the work meets the expectations.

Key distinctive features between these two notions are quite obvious; however, they are often misunderstood by employers:

  • Satisfaction is always a result of something fulfilled - a completed task or an achieved milestone. In contrast, happiness is a more permanent state which evolves gradually.
  • It appears that employee job satisfaction is mainly controlled by the employer as it largely depends on rewards, recognition, and work-life balance. While employee happiness depends on employees themselves.
  • Studies proved that happy employees are 13% more productive. At the same time, there is very little correlation between job satisfaction and productivity;
  • Happiness at work is always a broader notion that encompasses being full of energy, engaged, committed, and, more importantly, satisfied.

There are hundreds of numbers in many longs, thoroughly documented reports that try to synthesize the most practical and concrete side of employee happiness and engagement. However, there are no black and white definitions here.

Despite the ambiguity of the terms, companies and employers can clarify the situation by collecting and combining human behavioral sciences that can shed more light on the “why” and “how” happiness works for their employees in particular.

How to Measure Employee Happiness while Identifying Unhappiness?

How to measure the happiness of employees, then? This is the central question of all caring company leaders. Foremost, measuring happiness at work can be pretty tricky, but it is essential always to keep trying. Over time, it will become clear what indicators of employee happiness are worth paying attention to. This will make the process more intuitive and easy.

Below are the best methods and approaches for measuring happiness in the workplace.

1. Employee happiness survey

Special surveys can be used to identify the level of happiness of employees. They can also be used to assess the level of employee satisfaction with their role and their level of involvement in the company and overall well-being. After collecting data with their help, it is easy to identify any potential problems and critical areas for improving the condition of employees.

Since employees may change periodically, such employee happiness and engagement surveys should be conducted regularly. Alternatively, you can send surveys throughout the company several times a year. For more accurate results, combining the survey with other methods of measuring happiness is recommended.

2. Anonymous employee feedback opportunities

Seeking your employees' feedback is essential for efficient business functioning. Unfortunately, according to recent research, 36% of employees work at a company that doesn't have a feedback program in place, while 37% report that their workplace either doesn't have an open-door policy or it has one, but it isn't working properly.

This makes it difficult for the employees to submit their feedback to leadership and makes them think their opinion is not valued. Employees' happiness is significantly linked to their sense of being important and useful at their workplace.

Furthermore, the ultimate aim of any employee feedback is for an employer to discover the state of their workplace culture and where they're succeeding or failing in terms of engagement and morale.

3. Frequent 1-on-1s and 2-way feedback

One-on-one interviews and performance tests help contextualize your employees' responses to surveys. With the help of interviews, you can get good employee feedback. According to SHRM research, peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to impact financial results than manager-only recognition positively. Still, a personal conversation with each of them has additional benefits in the fight for colleagues' happiness.

It is optimal to hold such conversations every two weeks. Of course, to set aside time for this, you should review your work schedule, but an example of 30 minutes of conversation can be a good start.

4. Employee performance checks

Employees' actions speak louder than words. Sometimes even anonymous polls won't tell you the whole truth. A more informative way to find out if employees have burned out is to check how consistent everyone's performance is, absenteeism, retention, or staff turnover, as well as hiring data and the company's overall reputation.

Also, use any metrics you have, such as performance, quality of work, errors, and speed of project completion and completion. To a greater extent, the level of employees` happiness shows a deep immersion in productivity at the individual level of each.

5. Employee wellness monitoring

One of the factors that affect the happiness of employees is stress. Every manager must invest in the health of their employees so that they do not reap the consequences of burnout and low levels of happiness in the future.

According to recent research, 79% of American employers carefully provide health programs to their employees. However, employees must have the necessary resources to care for their well-being. This is one aspect of increasing staff retention.

When interviewing employees about their health, you should ask them to assess their condition. Employees' productivity and well-being help form a stable, engaged, and hard-working workforce.

6. Employee stay and exit conversations

The best managers and employers do not just stand quietly watching their employees walking out of doors but proactively talk and discuss what is working in their companies and what is not.

Surveys show that the number one reason employees leave is not the work and, or not even the paycheck, but the relationship employees have with their supervisors and colleagues. Thus, the cost of building a healthy relationship in the workplace appears to be nothing compared to the cost of the turnover when talented employees leave.

One of the biggest mistakes leaders often makes is assuming that because a team member isn’t complaining, they are happy at work. Of course, asking about happiness during a stay or exit conversation may seem pathetic. Still, it can and will make a difference in your relationship with the rest of the crew and the future employees.

How to Improve Employee Happiness?

Increasing the level of employee happiness is a rather long and challenging process that requires endurance, dedication, and consistency. However, by constantly paying attention to your employees' problems, you can increase their satisfaction for a long time.

Here are some actionable tips to improve employee happiness right away.

1. Prioritize work-life balance

To start increasing the level of employee happiness, it is worth improving the balance between work and personal life because tired employees are more likely to become unmotivated and burn out faster. Unfortunately, an imbalance between the workplace and personal life has a destructive outcome for the employees and considerable financial losses for the employers. Higher employee turnover reduced productivity, and low engagement levels, are just a few of the results unsuitable both for businesses and employees themselves.

According to Inc, unfortunately, 66% of full-time employees in America do not have a work-life balance, in contrast to an astonishing 84% of freelancers who are happy with their lifestyle.

2. Be transparent and honest

To build a solid corporate culture, you need trust within the company. Employees want to know that their leaders are people who understand their problems because they, too, have experienced or continue to experience them.

When leaders are honest and open to their employees, there is sincere and genuine communication and complete trust. Unfortunately, a recent Interact/Harris Poll proved that 91% of employees believe their leaders to have at least some kind of communication skills lack. Besides, one more vital factor to consider is a lack of trust. The Edelman Trust Barometer showed that 1 in 3 employees doesn’t trust their employers, while others have minor trust issues.

3. Create a positive work environment

When employees work as one well-coordinated team, striving for high common goals, the company progresses, grows stronger, and prospers. However, suppose employees are irritable, hostile to each other, often conflict, and do not want to invest efforts in achieving joint goals. In that case, this inevitably affects the results and worsens the company's KPI.

According to the evidence gained in course of major long-term study, companies with the best corporate cultures grew 682 percent in revenue. Typically, for these companies, encouragement of all-around leadership initiatives and high appreciation of their employees, and owners, are key elements of the corporate culture. Furthermore, the recipe is quite simple - use recognition and rewards to highlight people who display the right behaviors, actions, and performance.

4. Foster a culture of gratitude

You can boost employee morale by showing them how valuable their efforts are to you through words and actions of gratitude. After all, even small things like that can make a big difference to your employees.

Unfortunately, according to a Gallup poll, only 14 % of employees worldwide are engaged at work. The remaining 86 % don’t feel valued or appreciated and don’t feel that their work is recognized.

5. Offer benefits beyond the basics

Many businesses offer employee benefits, and many employees expect them to reward employees with more than just money. Of course, few people will refuse a salary increase. But not all problems can be solved with money, especially regarding physical and mental well-being. In this case, an alternative solution will work much better.

When an employee does a good job, you can reward them with additional vacation, tickets for concerts or sports matches, or gift certificates. Thus, according to a recent survey, 79% of millennials regard an increase in rewards as a factor that would increase their loyalty to an employer to some extent.

Therefore, a good benefits program helps you attract and keep the best employees, leads to happier and more productive workers, and ultimately can help your business thrive.


Only a happy team can lead a company to achieve its goals. Therefore, it is necessary to look for integrated approaches and gradually change the organization of processes. In addition, the needs of each employee must be taken into account.

Employee loyalty is the foundation of a company's reputation. The source of the image is always hidden inside and from the inside is replicated to the outside world. Therefore, by investing in satisfied and happy employees, you are simultaneously investing in the company's reputation, customer service, and corporate thought leaders.

Even small changes in the issues described above will be enough to make employees feel happier and the company works more efficiently. After all, what matters is not what the employers do but how they treat their subordinates.

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