Last week, we released our year-long study on how employee happiness correlates with five key employee engagement drivers. What we found is that work/life balance is more closely correlated to overall happiness than other factors like management, team dynamics, role & responsibilities and workplace environment.
Earlier this fall, Robert Half International – a global recruiting agency – released its own findings on employee happiness in North America.
One of the biggest challenges to scaling a company is maintaining culture and employee happiness. Larger companies (10,000 employees and up) had lower employee happiness scores than smaller companies: 67 vs. total average of 71 out of 100. The smallest companies surveyed (1-10 employees) reported the happiest average scores.
Instilling a feeling of pride and personal ownership in employees is the No. 1 driver of happiness. Across most regions and both genders, “Pride” (feeling great about one’s own contribution to the overall organizational vision) was cited as the leading reason employees felt happy.
But, for Millennials in particular, the No. 1 driver was “a sense of accomplishment.” Though this seems to be a nuance of “Pride,” it’s important to understand that Gen Z-ers are motivated by slightly different – perhaps more individualistic – factors. Managers should provide clarity when it comes to the individual role and responsibilities of each team member, enabling frequent and collaborative goal-setting on progress against milestones.
Senior leaders were most happy across the board; in fact, the happiest age of all employees surveyed was 55. This could be due to a number of factors, including a more well-defined work-life balance and more overall confidence in their roles as managers.
Most importantly, the survey points out that happiness is not a continuous state. As employees, we all have our good days and bad days. More than a mood, employee happiness should be seen as a mindset that’s embedded in an individual’s long-term approach to work. Robert Half defines happiness as, “deep feeling of satisfaction and meaning generated by doing a good job.”
So, why should we care about keeping employees happy? Beyond the obvious – we want them to stick around work and do good work – Robert Half cites a few key benefits:
- Happy employees are more loyal, and are therefore less prone to turnover.
- They do better work. Gallup found that engaged employees are a whopping 21 percent MORE productive that disengaged employees.
- Happy employees are less stressed, and therefore healthier overall.