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Employee Engagement

16 Impactful ways to improve employee happiness in the workplace

“When applying for a new job or considering a career change, if the options are to remain in a job where I'm unhappy but earning marginally more money, I'd choose to get another job where I'm happier even if I'm earning a bit less.”
Rayne Morgan
Content Specialist

In today’s competitive job pool, offering a high-ranking job role or  a handsome paycheck is not enough to retain talent and boost organizational productivity. With the changing parameters of the corporate world, employee happiness has now become one of the most critical drivers of running a successful company. 

A burnt-out and frustrated employee affects productivity and is at high risk of leaving the organization. But happiness is not a tangible term, and employers can find it challenging to figure out the necessary measures to improve employee happiness at the workplace. So, we have compiled an extensive guide to discuss the importance of employee happiness, how it affects your business, how you can measure and improve it, and everything in between.

What is employee happiness?

ways to build employee happiness

Employee happiness definition

Employee happiness refers to the collective satisfaction among the workforce of an organization. The happiness level of the employees in an organization acts as the intersection between employee engagement and experience in a workplace. 

To put things into perspective, employee happiness assesses how satisfied an employee is with their employer’s treatment. Employee happiness also means having a positive outlook towards one’s work and workplace, constantly striving to improve by taking challenges head-on, and accepting criticism as a means to grow.

Why is employee happiness important for business? 

employee happiness at workplace

Employee happiness is important because not only is a happy workforce more pleasant to be around, but there are commercial benefits to a happy workforce aside from a more positive workplace. Employees that are happy, more creative and dedicated are more likely to stay with the company in the long run. Employee happiness is, therefore, important because its leads to

  • Increase in productivity and performance
  • Increase in innovation and creativity

Over the last few years, companies have realized that employee happiness is one of the pillars of organizational success., and is directly linked with performance. A handsome salary is no longer the primary driver for employees. The modern workforce doesn’t hesitate to change jobs if they don’t feel happy.

“Happy employees only mean greater chances of success for the company. Why? Well because firstly, when employees' essential needs are being met, they are physically and mentally in a good state. They always have replenished reserves of energy and can put in more and more work willingly. Happy and healthy employees help to avoid sensations like burn-outs and hence that only means higher productivity and returns for the company.”
Joshua Rich
President & CEO, Bullseye Locations

That’s why companies worldwide have shifted their focus to employee engagement and promoting a digital employee experience for maintaining a happy and satisfied workplace. 

Here are some benefits of employee happiness:

  • Economists at the University of Warwick conducted a study and found that happy employees are 12% more productive.  Employee happiness and productivity go hand-in-hand. Happy employees are more likely to go the extra mile and show increased productivity in their daily tasks. 
  • Happy employees are often engaged with their work, team, and workplace and create a better work environment for others around. Happy employees work with their colleagues in synergy, building a sense of community in the workplace. They comfortably share their workload, ask for help, and avoid extreme stress. 
  • If an employee is happy at their workplace, why would they leave? So, employee happiness essentially decreases attrition rate
  • Employees who feel happy in their work environment also feel motivated to solve problems and thrive in their job roles. They create opportunities for learning and growth and align their growth with that of the organization’s.
  • All in all, happy employees are more driven, get their best self to work, and are the backbones of a great organizational culture. So, a happy workforce is not a bonus but a necessity for a successful business. 
“Despite the fact that technology is advancing at a rapid pace, businesses still rely heavily on people; in fact, people will continue to be the most important factor in the future of work. The success of every firm depends on keeping those people happy and satisfied. The financial line of your business depends on employee happiness and satisfaction.”
Dustin Ray
Chief Growth Officer & Co-CEO, IncFile

How to improve employee happiness: 16 Effective Ways

employee happiness in the workplace

Making your employees happy isn’t really that difficult. It doesn’t even have to be very expensive; you just need to know your employees well, give them a chance to voice what they want, and actually listen to them. 

Here are 16 ways to make employees happy in the workplace:

1. Learning what happiness means to them

Employee happiness can be  achieved by identifying what is essential to your employees. Once you have a clear understanding of what their happiness entails, you can begin implementing methods that will assist them in increasing their connection to the firm and their job role. 

Find ways to interact with them and give them a chance to speak out. Informal ways like casual coffee catch ups with managers or HRs, formal employee happiness and employee engagement surveys, and town halls, etc. are great ways to understand what makes your employees happy and what your employees expect from you as an employer.

2. Encouraging work-life balance & flexibility

Work-life balance allows employees to make space for things in their lives, other than work, that makes them happy. It could be a hobby, travel, time spent with family and friends, etc. A healthy work life balance allows employees the time to unwind and reduce stress at work. This increases output. A healthy work-life balance also results in better creativity, ideas, and productivity.

Employees are happier when their job schedules allow them to meet their personal commitments. Providing a flexible working schedule draws top talent to your company. Employees may prefer to work flexibly for a variety of reasons, such as starting later in the day to drop their children off at school or working remotely due to a long commute.

Make it clear to your employees that you are adaptable and that they may come to you with any problem. With flexible work, you can take a Tuesday afternoon off to attend your child’s soccer game and socialize with the other parents. You can complete the required work later that evening, the next morning, or over the weekend. 

3. Involving employees in critical decision making

Make sure you involve your staff in the company’s important decisions. Ask for their ideas and what they think about specific projects and decisions. This will make your employees feel valued and help build trust, improving employee happiness. 

4. Providing career mobility

Give your employees room for growth to motivate them. Your employees should never feel stagnant in their jobs, they must have the option of career mobility. Ensure that deserving candidates have a chance to move up or even across the organization. When they see their performance can boost their career in the company, they will walk the extra mile to ensure better work quality. This will make them more engaged and happy in their job roles.

5. Valuing, recognizing, and rewarding talent

Another reason why people are dissatisfied with their jobs is that often their efforts are not recognized. Employee happiness in the workplace is also influenced by rewards and recognition. 

Give them credit where credit is due. If they have done something exceptional, remember to thank them in front of their coworkers. Appreciate your employees for their contribution to your company. This does not require any grand gestures. Employees feel recognized when their hard work is praised by the leadership. Specific measures that you can take for a better recognition program are:

  • Reward them for particular achievements
  • Implement a peer recognition program
  • Recognize employees’ hard work regardless of their position 
  • Give positive feedback for a job well done
  • Use frequent team meetings to recognize exceptional work

6. Always acting on their feedback

If you are an organization that frequently conducts employee surveys to gauge employee happiness, employee engagement, employee satisfaction, etc., you must act on the feedback received in the survey as well as to make the results of the surveys public. 

One of the best ways to make your employees feel valued is to ensure that you take appropriate actions based on their feedback. This bridges the gaps in your employee engagement strategy and makes your employees feel that their opinions are important. Such practices will make them comfortable and create a healthy and happy work environment. 

7. Paid time off

An important employee happiness metric, paid time off can have a deep impact on employees’ life. These leaves can be used for vacations, marriage, grief, or just to take a break. It is critical that your staff takes time away from their work. 

Employees that are exhausted will not produce beneficial results. Allowing, or in fact ensuring, that your employees take annual time off can alleviate employee happiness and productivity, and rejuvenate them to function at their peak, both emotionally and physically.

8. Promoting communication and transparency

Communication and transparency may seem like a small thing but actually impacts employee happiness and performance significantly. Imagine  that your manager didn’t communicate your KRAs to you and you are always confused which tasks to prioritize. This is a small-scale example but imagine this in a bigger setting; employees would be working aimlessly without understanding the organization’s vision or goals.

Often, the majority of issues develop when employees are dissatisfied with their managers, and more often than not, a transparent communication can help resolve the situation. Transparent communication can trickle down from the CEO/founders/leadership and can contribute in building a healthy company culture, based on openness and trust.

9. Building a positive work environment

A positive work culture is critical, given how much time a person spends at work. Your employees should look forward to their work with enthusiasm. While this is not a short-term exercise, fostering a friendly and inclusive work environment has numerous good effects on employee happiness, mental health, experience, and engagement. Employees who feel engaged are not only happy but also work better as a team, which supports corporate success.

10. Offering extensive benefits

Employee perks, particularly those that promote a people’s financial, emotional, and physical well-being, have a natural impact on happiness. It’s no surprise that employees who have access to comprehensive perks and incentives packages are typically quite loyal. Benefits like dental, optical, and physical wellness perks are always appreciated by employees. 

Additionally, gym memberships and transportation privileges are excellent bonuses for keeping employees happy and healthy. It is critical to provide better perks so that your employees understand how much you care about them.

11. Encouraging innovation and creativity

When employees spend most of their time on the fundamentals of their job, innovation usually takes a back seat.  It is critical to promote employee happiness by allowing your employees the space for innovation and solving challenges with full ownership. Employees can only be more dynamic and imaginative in the workplace if they discover their own unique answers to challenges.

12. Providing the best resources and training opportunities

Identify each employee’s unique abilities and encourage them to apply them to their daily work. Structuring different and frequent training sessions will also help them hone their skills, boosting productivity and ensuring employee engagement. 

Ascertain that your employees have the resources they require to perform their duties. This entails providing proper technology as well as instruction on how to use it. It is human nature to strive for continuous improvement and growth. 

Employees will be happier at work if they are given the tools they need to grow. Promote employee happiness by providing regular training and top-notch resources, as well as possibilities for advancement. Recognizing and investing in your workforce’s unique skills results in happy workers and boosts the return on investment for every single individual you hire.

13. Prioritizing physical and mental wellness

Organizations should prioritize employees’ physical and mental well-being. The pandemic has pushed employee well-being to the forefront. Workplaces must establish a composition of physical and mental health metrics. Having a safe space to talk about mental health, encouraging each other, and prioritizing physical fitness can greatly help employees destress. Employee well-being is critical for fostering employee happiness in the workplace.

14. Supporting interdepartmental collaboration

Strong, healthy, and prosperous companies are the ones where everyone works as a team toward similar goals and achievements, each person realizing the importance of their individual contribution. 

When businesses embark on large-scale projects without proper consultation and collaboration among colleagues, it can result in misunderstanding, wasted time and resources, repetition of work, and, in the end, the lack of knowledge sharing can even lead to the failure of a project. However, when people collaborate and work closely across teams, everybody can contribute with their expertise, skills, and knowledge and make it a joint success.

15. Hosting off-sites and social events

Social events, celebrating festivals together, after work evenings, or office off-sites can encourage work friendships and interdepartmental collaboration. Give your employees the chance to know each other better – a place for them to feel like they belong. Belongingness and acceptance are integral components of employee happiness, and social events are the perfect place for your employees to feel that they are part of something.

16. Small acts of kindness

Small acts of kindness like offering meals or a fully loaded pantry, access to pet or child crèche facilities, paid time off on birthdays, relaxing lounge areas, high quality ergonomic chairs and tables, etc. can go a long way in alleviating stress and increasing employee happiness.

How to measure employee happiness? 

employee happiness

Measuring employee happiness is not a single-approach activity. Instead, it requires multiple approaches. You can never expect employee happiness to stay constant. An employee may feel happy because their efforts were recently recognized, another employee may feel unhappy because they have been working on the same project for a very long time with no end in sight and no success. 

To measure employee happiness, organizations need a holistic strategy, consisting of some or all of the following:

Employee happiness survey

Conducting employee happiness surveys at frequent intervals will give you precise insight into the topic. Such surveys, if conducted regularly, will provide you with actionable and real-time insights into how happy and content your employees are with their job roles and also help you measure employee happiness

Employee happiness can also be gauged through pulse surveys. However, asking the right questions is the key for this to work. Pulse surveys can be an important employee happiness metric, with 3-5 questions asked weekly or bi-monthly. 

Some of the questions you can ask are –

  • How are you feeling today?
  • Do you know what you will be working on today?/How did you like today’s tasks? 
  • How is your mood while starting work/leaving work? 
  • Do you feel fulfilled with your daily tasks? 

The responses to an employee happiness survey can give you a quick peek into how your employees are feeling, and where you need to improve or put your efforts.

Explore 50 essential questions for your employee engagement survey
Download now

Use Employee Net Promoter Score as an indicator

The Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a metric that can tell you how satisfied your employees are with your firm. It is computed via a survey that asks employees “How likely are you to recommend our company as a place to work on a scale of zero to ten?” 

Employees can be classified into the following groups based on their responses: 


Those who answered the question with a nine or 10 are classified as promoters. These individuals are the flag bearers of your organization and have vital insights into where the company is doing good. 


Employees who answered with a seven or an eight are classified as passives. You should always look for ways to transform these employees into promoters rather than detractors. 


Those who answered with a number between zero and six are dissatisfied with their jobs and will most likely depart the organization. Detractors might reveal a lot about your areas for improvement. 

To determine your eNPS, subtract the percentage of critics from the percentage of promoters.

Encourage one-on-one meetings

1-on-1 meetings allow a manager/HR/leadership member to better grasp each employee’s wants and concerns. These meetings can range from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, based on the situation and individual employee requirements. Holding one-on-one sessions at regular intervals (monthly/quarterly) can give important insights into employee happiness and concerns.

Discuss the following topics during these meetings: 

  • Current emotional state of the employee 
  • Their performance and KRAs 
  • Any impediments that may be hindering them from achieving their objectives
  • Any feedback for the manager/organization

Anonymous employee feedback

Most employees do not bring up their grievances due to the fear of being judged. Anonymous surveys can collect sincere and genuine employee feedback. Allowing employees to voice their concerns through open-ended questions can work wonders in letting employees be more expressive. These employee surveys can be used to understand grievances, areas of improvement, gather feedback on training programs, and on newly implemented changes. 

Track employee initiatives and innovations

An exceptional employee happiness metric or indicator, innovation, creativity, and ownership step from a side of our mind that is heavily governed by emotions. Happy employees are motivated to excel in their roles. Therefore, increased innovation in the workplace is an indirect indicator of employee happiness and productivity. 

If you observe your employees adhering to just daily tasks and not challenging their skills, you can conclude that employee happiness levels in your organization are stagnant. Happy employees on the contrary are  innovative and continually share new ideas. So, when more employees show interest in being creative with their jobs and take personal initiatives to improve performance, you can feel confident that your engagement and happiness strategies are working.

“To measure employee happiness, employers can use a variety of tools and metrics. One common method is to conduct regular employee surveys or focus groups where employees can provide feedback on their experience at the organization. This information can then be used to help identify areas that are making employees unhappy and address these issues, ultimately contributing to improvements in employee satisfaction levels over time. Other potential metrics that employers can use to assess their employees' happiness include absenteeism, employee turnover, and customer satisfaction scores.

For example, if absenteeism rates are high and customer satisfaction scores are low, this could be a sign that employees are unhappy in their roles or working conditions. Or, if you find that employees are consistently leaving the organization, you could look at your training, onboarding, and other support programs to determine if there are ways that these can be improved. Ultimately, the goal of measuring employee happiness is to identify areas in which improvements can be made and then address them to create a more positive work environment that fosters employee satisfaction and well-being.”

Joey Sasson
Vice President of Sales & Logistics, Moving APT

Leveraging technology to achieve employee happiness

employee happiness benefits

Reaching out to each employee may be challenging for enterprises. This can significantly hamper employee happiness and in turn hamper organizational success. To be consistent with your initiatives, an intelligent employee happiness software is vital. AI has the potential to redefine employee engagement and employee happiness. An employee happiness survey software that utilizes AI-based technology can be the simplest method to handle communication challenges at scale.

Here’s how an AI-powered software can help you boost employee happiness:

Automate employee happiness surveys 

Automating regular pulse or employee happiness surveys can take the load off HRs. Manually structuring the questions and circulating the surveys becomes an overwhelming task for HR. But AI-based tools that help promote employee happiness can make this job easier. Automated surveys also seamlessly analyze employee feedback, generating tangible results, and actionable insights.

Derive actionables in real-time

Real-time employee happiness and pulse surveys collect data from which you can instantly draw actionable information. Rapid resolution of employee complaints and suggestions contributes to their happiness by making them feel heard and valued.

Understand employee sentiment

Intelligent AI-powered tools use natural language processing ( NLP ) to analyze open-ended and unstructured employee feedback data to  understand employees’ feelings.  It helps narrow down employee sentiments as positive, negative, or neutral, and  assigns a score based on each employee feedback.

Conversational chatbot and anonymous surveys

An AI-driven software for employee happiness, with the functionality of a conversational chatbot and anonymous surveys, can make taking employee feedback simple and smooth. Anonymous surveys make it easier for employees to express their issues candidly. An intuitive chatbot gives the much needed human touch to the whole automation process. This ensures personalization, a quick turnaround time, and happy employees.


Michael Alexis, CEO, TeamBuilding

Employee happiness is a critical measure of the success of a business, perhaps even a close second to profitability. The reason employee happiness is so important is that it will impact literally everything else you do — from productivity to work culture and more.

You could think of employee happiness as a table supported by dozens of uneven legs. One leg might be pay, another one friendships at work, another one recognition and so on. Some legs may be longer and some shorter. Some legs you could lose all together and the table would still be stable. The importance of each leg varies from person to person and is somewhat generational and cultural as well.

Employees share an important relationship with their work and the organization. Today, employee happiness, satisfaction, and engagement is not solely determined by salary. The organization’s work culture, vision, purpose, all contribute equally to employee happiness. Employers must take constructive and proactive measures to ensure employee happiness in the workplace is taken care of, because it truly matters.

There’s more than solid evidence to relate employee happiness to increased productivity and performance levels.  Happy employees mean happy customers, and that should be reason enough for organizations to start taking employee happiness seriously.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes employees happy at work?/How to make employees happy?

The following makes employees happy at work:

  • Knowing that their employer cares for them, 
  • Feeling heard, 
  • Being recognized for their work, 
  • Growth opportunities, 
  • Fair pay, 
  • Inclusive work environment, 
  • Space for autonomy and creativity, 
  • Flexibility and work-life balance, 
  • Small acts of kindness, 
  • Guiltless paid time off, 
  • A healthy mix of work and fun, 
  • Open and transparent communication.

What are the benefits of employee happiness?

The benefits of employee happiness are manifold. Other than employee happiness and productivity being intrinsically linked, meaning happy employees are more productive and perform better, here are other ways employee happiness benefits a business:

  • Happy employees mean lower attrition rates.
  • Happy employees are creative, innovative, and enjoy challenges at work.
  • Happy employees don’t mind going out of their way for the organization.
  • Happy employees spread happiness, they make customers happy.

Does employee happiness have an impact on productivity?

Employee happiness is the secret sauce of productivity. Employee happiness and productivity are significantly connected, and the former impacts the latter by almost 13%, a study by Oxford University found. When employees are happy, they are more likely to commit themselves to accomplishing a task quickly and efficiently, finding creative ways to tackle a problem, helping their peers, collaborating with others, delivering top-notch customer service, and ultimately being more productive.

What factors contribute to employee happiness?

11 factors that contribute to employee happiness are:

  • Healthy work-life balance
  • Growth opportunities
  • Transparent communication
  • Fair pay
  • Inclusive work environment
  • Flexible timings
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Social events
  • Paid time off
  • Space for innovation and creativity
  • Trust, autonomy, and ownership

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