What Keeps Employees Happy?

What Keeps Employees Happy?

In the past, employers only had to be concerned about the success of employees within the boundaries of the workplace. Today, things have evolved. People are more connected than ever before, and the layers of a person’s work and personal life frequently overlap. It’s also definitely a job-seeker’s market, with many companies on the hunt for talent. This makes it more important than ever for employers to remember that happy employees lead to successful outcomes.

But, it’s a bit like trying to hit a moving target. Employers have to balance the desire to provide the things employees want against the realities of running a business. So, perhaps the question should be, what kinds of achievable things would make our employees happy?



40 percent of job candidates said that schedule flexibility is one of the top three things they seek during career choices, according to a global study by ManpowerGroup Solutions. The good news is, many employers have a fair degree of options they could deploy to meet this need.

Flex time, or choosing when one can start and end their shift, and being able to work from anywhere of their choosing were the two most-desired policies identified by the study. Other ideas suggested were:

  • Choice in work shifts
  • Caregiving leave
  • Compressed workweeks
  • Unlimited vacation days

It’s doubtful that any employer could offer all of these, but there are little ways almost any company could become a little more flexible. Choice over when breaks can be taken, the option of working from home when needed, and the ability to provide care to loved ones around their work schedule are all little things that can make employees very happy.


Choices in Benefits

When it comes to benefits, every one of your employees has a unique set of needs. Though an employer may hope to meet them all, that’s usually not the case.

One of the bigger trends happening in company benefits is the introduction of choice into the process. This is one of the simplest ways employers can provide offerings that can be adjusted to fit individual needs.

The blending of traditional with supplemental benefits can help meet all of the individual concerns of employees, according to the MetLife 2019 U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study.

  • Traditional benefits can help manage common needs and expenses. Examples would include retirement, medical, and dental.
  • Supplemental benefits provide a safety net that can be built to support diverse needs. Examples include accident insurance, life, disability, critical illness, legal service plans, and various on-site services. Another benefit gaining traction lately is post-retirement money management.


A Positive Culture

A company’s culture is the number one thing that makes employees want to come to work every day, according to a survey of over 10,000 workers by Monday.com, a workplace collaboration software firm.

For employers, this is fantastic. There’s a wealth of different ways to improve your company culture that are incredibly simple. The survey’s authors noted one of the most effective things employers can do is to show their employees – on the team level, and the individual – that their work is valued by the company. It’s really that easy.

There are probably a million different ways a company can go about this, too, which provides options that will fit any industry. At the core, employers should seek to:

  • Have all of your employees interact with customers/clients. This helps build a greater understanding of how an employee’s work connects with the clients you serve.
  • Celebrate employees. Work that is valued, recognized, and appreciated builds greater engagement between your workers and your company.

Another simple thing that can boost your company’s culture is to build a sense of belonging among all of the people in your company, as described by Gretchen Rubin’s bestseller The Happiness Project. Taking the time to get to know your employees won’t cost a thing, but it can have some surprisingly important results. This can lead to employees that are more creative, better team players, better leaders, and more productive – all from a little validation.


It’s the Little Things

For the most part, the things that really make employees happy aren’t necessarily expensive for companies. In fact, they’re often free. As they say, it’s the little things that matter most.

In that regard, increasing happiness is an incredible investment. A study from the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick reported that happier employees are 20 percent more productive. If that’s the case, it means there is probably no more affordable way to increase your company’s output more dramatically – and cost-effectively – than developing ways to make your employees happier.

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