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As an HR Manager, you want your recruits to be happy. That is your job, after all.

Plus, happier employees make for a more productive workplace. In fact, happiness amongst employees is a key factor in a company’s success — it’s proven to improve business results up to 30 percent.

But keeping everyone happy is easier said than done. To start, you have to know whether employees are happy or not. Someone might seem perfectly content, but at the end of the work day, they go home and vent all their office-related frustrations to friends or family. Not to mention, every aspect of “happiness” is subjective; it means something a little different to everyone, and the things that make us happy vary from person to person.

To determine what factors truly matter when it comes to satisfaction at work, we took a look at the research and came up with the six metrics that matter most. So, here are the questions to ask when assessing the happiness of employees.

  1. Does she like her direct manager? Even if she absolutely loves the office culture, her coworkers, and the company itself, it’ll be hard for her to be happy if she doesn’t care for the person she reports to. Nobody wants to be seen a mindless piece of equipment that serves solely to support the team in a highly designated capacity — it’s important that all employees are treated as individuals, with their own skills, interests, and aspirations.
  2. Are expectations clear? It’s hard to hit a goal if you don’t know where to aim. An employee should know exactly how he’s being assessed and what his manager expects of him, so he understands exactly what qualifies as progress. This allows him to plan for the future of his career, helping him stay focused, motivated, and work smart.
  3. Do your employees like the work environment? If you’ve ever had a work space that you can’t stand, you know how it affects you: low concentration, low energy, low productivity. Affecting factors can include everything from the in-office social life, to pet friendliness, and beyond. So whether the decor is drab, the temperature is cold, or the room is noisy, it’s important to recognize that even seemingly minor things can influence the way employees feel about the workplace.
  4. Does your company provide a platform for initiatives? Everyone wants the opportunity to be themselves and shape the office culture, even in small ways. Making sure that employees have a say when it comes to day-to-day office life, whether it’s bringing a pet to work or planning an out-of-office meetup can help them feel valued.
  5. Is the work meaningful? Now, this may sound like it only applies at nonprofits or other mission organizations — however, meaning can come from anywhere. While meaning certainly could come from making the world a better place, it could also come from career growth, personal growth, or skill growth.
  6. Are employees fairly compensated? Your employees know what they should be earning — they talk to their friends, search the Internet, and network with peers in the field. Unfair compensation can create resentment, so even if they love what they do, they won’t love who they’re doing it for.
  7. Is your workplace stable? Instability in the workplace can understandably cause a certain anxiety. If your company is regularly restructuring, undergoing rounds of layoffs, or frequently changing company policies, it’s likely impacting your employees’ mental health. When employees are uncertain of their future, it’s tough to focus on their jobs.

Knowing what to ask is the first step to making your workplace everyone’s happy place.

Do you think we missed something? What do you think affects workplace happiness? We want to hear from you 🙂

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