What makes people happy at work? Is it a big paycheck? Free beer on tap? Fluffy dogs roaming about the office?
Not surprisingly, it’s a little deeper than that. The things that make people most satisfied in the workplace tend to be things money can’t buy—such as feeling passionate about their job or feeling valued by management.
That doesn’t mean these things are easy to achieve for employees or for their employers. (Though talent management software system can help!)
Employees have to find a job and a company culture that clicks for them and will make them feel fulfilled, while employers have to put in the effort to regularly check in with their employees, show their employees they care, and make sure they’re satisfied.
Below, we’ll explore why employee satisfaction is essential for your business, and give you five ways to boost the happiness of your team members.
Why is workplace happiness so important?
If you’re the CEO, manager, or team leader, it’s essential that you prioritize the happiness of your employees—for your sake as well as theirs.
A study conducted by the University of Warwick shows that happy people are 12% more productive at work.
As the researcher explains:
Happy people work better with their team, have more energy to devote to creativity and daily tasks, and more effectively make decisions and address project issues. There’s no downside to keeping your employees as happy as you can.
5 ways to promote employee satisfaction
Though it requires time, effort, and strategy, making people happy at work is readily attainable with skillful management, a supportive workplace environment, and a passionate team.
Here are five key factors that make people genuinely love their jobs:
1. Opportunities for professional development and growth
Too often, people feel that their workplaces are boring and stagnant. While employees don’t want to feel overwhelmed, they also don’t want to just sit around with very few tasks.
Instead, they want to be challenged with tasks that are doable but that still require brain power, effort, and creativity.
Challenging tasks at work give people the sense that they’re learning, growing personally and professionally, and developing worthwhile skills that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. This, in turn, gives employees a sense of fulfillment.
This means that employers have an important role in paying attention to the needs and concerns of their employees. If employees are dissatisfied because of a lack of challenges, a bonus, while always appreciated, usually won’t solve the root of the problem. They also need to feel that they have some autonomy in the company, whether you give them more responsibility or promote them to a higher position.
2. Engaging their passions
Opportunities for personal and professional development are a huge plus in any workplace.
But the ideal recipe for happiness? Room for self growth combined with a job employees believe in and are passionate about.
People don’t need to have their “dream job” in order to be passionate about their job. The industry they work for might be outside their usual areas of interest, but they can still find ways to enjoy the position if they’re given tasks that align with their passions and people they like.
Employers and team members have a big role to play in making each and every employee passionate about his or her job. You should create a culture of openness, enthusiasm, and camaraderie within the workplace so that employees are comfortable to be themselves and have fun while they work.
3. Making a difference
No one likes to feel that what they’re doing is empty and pointless. Removing that sense of emptiness gives employees a feeling of direction and purpose, which in turn makes them truly enjoy their jobs.
People feel that their work comes with a sense of purpose when they’re making a difference. For some people, this could mean making a contribution in sciences, medicine, or the arts, or helping the world by combating global warming or injustice. For others, it means developing your company’s product, seeing progress in a client’s account, or writing and publishing a stellar article.
There’s no real definition of what it means to make a difference. Instead, it’s about employees feeling like they’re making an important change on behalf of a company, industry, or field they care about.
4. Feeling recognized and valued
Employees want to feel that their work has meaning, not just for themselves but also for the company. They also want to feel that their bosses acknowledge and appreciate the professional accomplishments they’ve made and the effort they put into their work.
At its core, feeling recognized and valued by the management makes employees feel appreciated, improves their happiness levels, and ultimately boosts productivity. It shows employees that their work isn’t in vain, and that they’re being applauded for their contributions to the workplace.
5. Honest, effective management
Another factor that makes employees happy in the workplace is management that is transparent and capable. Employees like managers that can effectively delegate tasks and work efficiently to accomplish team and company goals.
People also like managers who are open and honest with them about success, areas for improvement, and challenges.
This kind of transparency makes employees feel that they are trusted in the company, and it also gives them a sense of responsibility and a feeling that what they are doing matters. Employees want to feel like management takes them seriously and sees them as part of the team.
What’s the secret to being happy at work?
Achieving happiness shouldn’t be just a side benefit of someone’s job; instead, it should be a priority. Employers can make workplace happiness a priority by managing effectively and transparently, recognizing their employees for their hard work, and giving them opportunities to engage with their interests and grow.
When it comes to creating and maintaining a successful company and an effective working environment, cultivating happiness is a double win.
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