Why is everyone talking about job happiness and engagement nowadays? It seems to be a very trendy topic among managers and HR professionals. The reason is simple and obvious: happier employees are safer, better brand ambassadors, and more engaged and productive participants in the entire work process.
According to a recent Gallup poll, employee engagement has been rising this year, from close to 32% in January to almost 33% in February. However, this means that almost 70% of employees are not engaged. These numbers tell an important story because happiness and engagement are linked to virtually every area of business, including recruitment, retention, company branding, and productivity. Companies are finding it much harder to keep top performers on staff and hide any vulnerability the company may have in its culture, services, or branding, due to the transparency of social media. Job seekers (both active and passive) are also seeking happiness at work. Most employees are willing to sacrifice important-sounding job titles and some compensation in order to be happier in their careers. You’ve heard the saying, “Happy wife; happy life”? Well, the same is true in business–happy employees make for happy and profitable work life. So, the answer is yes! If you want to obtain your organizational goals, you want … no, you need happy employees.
Happiness is relative. While some people automatically believe that paying employees more money will make them happier, we have seen CEOs walk away from million-dollar jobs for more satisfying opportunities, and countless employees accept jobs with lower pay because they entail less stress and are more personally rewarding. It turns out that the type of work you do and your company’s culture and benefits packages are huge factors in determining happiness. A company that helps employees continue their education, encourages them to actually use their vacation time, provides opportunities for advancement, and offers great perks and flexible benefits have happier employees with higher job satisfaction numbers.
Determining if your employees are really happy can be very difficult, so here are four suggestions.
When developing questions to determine the level of happiness in your employees, remember to focus on what you really want to know, and be authentic. Ask questions like the following: “Is there anything I can do right now to make things better for you?” “If you could replace one thing immediately, what would it be?” “Are there any projects or new trends that you think are interesting?” If you are really brave, you can ask, “Is there anything I can do to be a better manager to you?”
Having a supportive boss who expresses an interest in the professional development and personal well-being of each member of the team is critical to winning the battle against employee turnover. It’s also the best possible way to have happy employees.