A Better Approach To Employee Happiness

By Executive coaching
The Carrera Agency roundtable meeting and event

A recent study of over 12,000 professional employees from the U.S. and Canada, revealed a compelling story on employee happiness in the workplace. For example, happy employees are 98% more likely to identify with company values, and 85% more efficient with their work than those who aren’t. Additionally, happy working professionals claim to feel fulfilled with their careers twice as often as those who aren’t. The numbers are clearly in favor of growing a company culture focused on employee happiness, but that’s easier said than done; this conversation involves both the employee and the organization. As a long-term field of study, researchers have identified three main drivers for employee happiness; let’s take a look at the distinct roles that these drivers play.

Positivity In The Workplace

We can do this! We will, find a solution! It’s positive attitudes like these that are highly contagious throughout the workplace.

And when companies operate with individuals who share this mindset, the entire organization prospers. In fact, employees that are positive at work are 85% more efficient than those that aren’t according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Positivity doesn’t come naturally for everyone, and quite frankly, there are too many underlying factors that play into the feeling for everyone to experience it all the time. So how do you force a positive attitude? You can’t. But you can train for one.

Celebrate success — Rewards are often granted to employees, but they aren’t always shared effectively. That is, to match a person’s preferences and reward them in a way that they want to be recognized. Yes, this does infer that you should get to know your team beyond the morning meeting. Recognizing a person based on their personality and character reinforces a message of importance, or better, a sense of worth — it just feels good.

Timely feedback — Positive feedback is a very powerful tool for driving happiness in the workplace; it reaffirms that leadership is present and cares about the work of employees. Address a team strategically, it doesn’t need to always highlight what’s going wrong, or what needs to be corrected; talk about the positives as well.   

Encourage communication — Especially in a team setting, humans need to communicate to experience positivity. In an atmosphere where people are comfortable conversing with one another, positivity will breed itself. Often, creating multiple channels for communication can help otherwise quiet or overly self-reliant employees. Meetings in different locations, town halls, ride-alongs, and even luncheons are worth experimenting with.

Express gratitude — Gratitude can travel up and down the chain of command. But it’s a team of employees that can use it most effectively. Appreciating one another and showing gratitude for hard work or collaboration unleashes all sorts of positivity. Don’t believe us? Just give it a try for a day — you will be surprised.

Career Progress

Whats next? Where can I go from here? How am I doing? These are all valid questions that employees ask. After all, we don’t work for the sake of working; or do we?

The majority of the workforce puts in their time every day, in order to develop skills that can be exchanged for compensation — and hopefully a little satisfaction. From the first job to the last, people rely on progress to grow into new roles, to gain experience, while exchanging their time for more money — that is, if every goes as planned. For this reason, career development — a measurable form of progression — has been identified as an integral driving force behind employee happiness.

But how do companies address career development for their employees in a way that’s beneficial to all? Here is a strategy with five action items:

  1. Set organizational goals that are not only achievable, but also measurable. By starting with important strategic goals, it becomes easier to determine where each employee can add value. Of course, a framework — set of tools that increases transparency — can streamline this process. They will likely be different for every organization.
  2. Show each employee how they fit into the big picture — specifically, how their professional role impacts the top-level goals set by the organization.
  3. Offer training for the mastery of new and existing skills. This aids employees in building a foundation for goal achievement. Additionally, provide a channel for professional development; a long-term benefit for the employee and the organization.
  4. Respect individualism when creating and measuring progression. Every employee has unique differences that need to be recognized. Often, managers should sit down with each team member to discover what motivates them. This is when questions such as —  what do you want to achieve, what tools do you need — are important to ask. The answers to such questions reveal how well aligned a person is to the larger strategy; at this step, adjustments can be made quickly to realign an employee with organizational goals.
  5. Reward employee effort that’s directed at the end goal. Creating milestones purely for the opportunity to celebrate them when reached is an effective tool for rewarding and visualizing progression.

Through the lens of talent management professionals, companies experience higher levels of success when both leadership teams and functional employees are committed to their work through feelings of ownership and achievement. Learn how to revitalize a talent management plan:

Professional Alignment

Happiness is defined differently for everyone in the workplace but there are common factors worth considering that increase levels of happiness across teams and departments — we refer to this as professional alignment. An understanding of how and when to develop this factor of employee happiness can make all the difference in the success of an organization. Here are five best practices for helping employees:

  1. Thoroughly help individuals understand how their work contributes to strategic goals. Defining a purpose is the key here; without it, employees are susceptible to feeling disposable, or lack a sense of “worth”.
  2. Be honest and organized during the new hire process. Accurate role descriptions, transparent reviews, and a structured interview process, are tools that effectively measure alignment.
  3. Set values that are true to the organization and help employees find meaning in them. Go deep into this process; this cultivates trust and builds flexibility rather than the bars that confine people to lackluster roles.
  4. Hold regular performance reviews; determine if everyone is in a position to best fit the company. If you find employees struggling, have an honest conversation to reveal a skill or ‘will’ gap.
  5. Promote opportunities for advancement within the organization. It’s the idea of growth that keeps people motivated and aligned with goals.

An overwhelming number of North America’s workforce are completely unhappy with their jobs — it’s not just a millennial problem. With the amount of time that people spend at work, companies must address these struggles; their culture depends on it. Fortunately these three drivers: positivity, progress, and alignment offer detailed insight on reviving employee happiness. Employees are your greatest brand ambassadors, their opinion carries more weight than any external source of marketing. Take care of them and they will take care of the organization.

Are employees core to your business? Let us help you identify the best talent for the right role.