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What is Employee Happiness: 15 Best Ways To Improve It

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What is employee happiness?

Employee happiness refers to the pleasant emotional state and fulfillment employees experience. It is generally characterized by engagement, job satisfaction, and well-being, all of which boost productivity and promote organizational success.

Can employers impact employee happiness?

According to 'The How Of Happiness' by Sonja Lyubomirsky, happiness is influenced by genetics (50%) and life circumstances (10%). At the same time, 40% is tied to personal outlook.

As an employer, you can influence this 40% of employee happiness by understanding their sources of joy, fostering favorable work structures, and adapting your company culture.

The immediate question arises: how do you make your employees happy?

Making your employees happy isn't rocket science. Increasing trends suggest that companies with better company culture, such as Google, attract and retain the best talents.

Often, it's because the perks of working there are tremendous. These perks instill a sense of belonging in the employees. When employees feel that their well-being is prioritized, it inspires their loyalty, resulting in them performing their best.

Let's widen our lens and explore employee happiness's top fifteen fundamental aspects.

15 major ways to improve employee happiness

1. Craft a Reward and Recognition Framework

Creating a culture of happiness among employees begins with acknowledging their exceptional efforts. When team members consistently demonstrate strong work ethics, it's vital to recognize their dedication and achievements.

Employees thrive on appreciation and validation. Implementing a thoughtfully designed rewards and recognition framework is a powerful tool for meeting this need. Organizations foster positive morale and inspire continued excellence by regularly celebrating outstanding contributions.

Rewards and recognition by vantage circle.png

A structured rewards system like Vantage Rewards provides employees with tangible incentives, fueling their motivation to excel. Organizations cultivate an environment where employees feel valued and fulfilled by intertwining meaningful recognition with enticing rewards.

2. Respect your employees

(Credits: Pixabay)

A downtrodden employee will hardly consider himself happy. Your company culture should be able to assure dignity at work.

Everyone you meet in your corporate career will have a role to play in its advancement. Never make the mistake of assuming that respect is something to be given out selectively. Respect everyone you meet.

According to research done by SHRM:

A respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as “very important” by 72% of employees in 2014, making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction.

So, if you want to cultivate workplace happiness, then start by respecting your employees.

3. Ensure fairness and equality in the workplace

(Credits: Unsplash)

As a leader, you should avoid showing favoritism in the workplace. Playing favoritism will create resentment among your employees.

You may have a favorite employee (we all do). However, providing a particular employee with extra advantages is unfair and will lead others to question your leadership.

Hence, endorse a company culture where equal treatment becomes a norm.

If you are still unclear about fostering an ethical company culture; don’t worry, I got you covered. Here are a few ways through which you can keep it in check:

a. Fair Compensation

None of your employees are working for free. Consequently, for offering their service and investing their time, fair compensation is a must.

  • Usually, if they worked overtime, pay them for it.
  • If their effort helps in the growth of your company, give out bonuses.
  • Likewise, if a team completes a project, show your appreciation by giving out rewards.
  • If both male and female employees are doing a similar job, don’t underpay your female employees.

b. Fair Promotions

It doesn’t matter whether you like an employee or not, but if they are deserving of a promotion, give them one. Bypassing a deserving employee of a well-deserved accolade will garner ill-will.

To establish yourself as a trustworthy leader, you should keep personal feelings aside. As a rule, act rationally.

Establish a transparent system where the process of giving out promotions becomes evident. Maintain a standard of conduct which employees can follow to further their career. Give out promotions in due time.

c. Address Problem Areas

No workplace is perfect, and nor will it ever be. Your employees will have their own set of problems.

They might genuinely feel that their rights as an employee are being violated. It might either be because of a collective dispute or an individual issue. An employee troubled by workplace problems will tend to be less productive.

Address this issue by making your employees feel comfortable about airing their grievances. Don’t turn their problems into something inconsequential.

Listen to them. Present a fair system for solving disputes among employees. Hire a company counselor to combat stress or frustration in employees. Make them believe that their mental well-being matters to you.

4. Instill pride within the workplace

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Employees' happiness is significantly linked to their sense of pride in the workplace. If your employees are proud of working at your company, mentally pat yourself on the back. It means you are doing a great job!

Having pride in one's work and company is an incredible motivator and happiness initiator.

Especially, try to instill a sense of accomplishment within them. Feelings of negativity that may arise in the employees are to be expected. Work pressure and stress may be contributing factors.

  • Maybe, conduct motivational seminars. Show your employees that their work has helped in the positive growth of your company culture.

  • Likewise, have frequent meetings with your workers. As their leader, you need to connect with them. Your praise and validation will go a long way to increase their morale. When your workforce sees that their boss cares about their opinions, it is bound to develop their sense of pride.

  • Also, offer rewards occasionally and accordingly. Gift cards, gym memberships, work from home options- the variety is endless.

  • Entrust employees with new responsibilities. It will make them harbor a feeling of importance and pride in their work. Show that you trust them.

  • Consequently, place value on your employees’ viewpoints. Make it easier for your employees to discuss any new ideas or proposals. Conduct brainstorming sessions.

  • Take into account their views and go through the process of implementing those ideas. Discuss why those ideas may or may not work.

5. Build camaraderie

(Credits: Unsplash)

Camaraderie, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as:

A feeling of friendliness towards people that you work or share an experience with.

Thus, camaraderie works as an incredible booster for increasing the level of employee engagement.

In short, fellowship is the age-old human tradition of socializing. Much like wolves, humans work better as a pack or group. Because we are highly social creatures. Thus, regular social interactions foster our mental wellbeing.

The sight of employees, huddled around and gossiping, must be common across all the offices in the world. Thereby, some innovative managers must have had an idea to ban such kinds of interactions.

If you have the same idea, don’t. Stow this idea in your mental trash can. Harvard Business Review revealed how camaraderie affects company culture:

Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying. Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.

Here are a few reasons why workplace camaraderie should be encouraged:

  • Encourages employees to develop and work better as a team.
  • Being around peers creates a better workplace environment.
  • A fun work environment reduces stress and results in better performance.
  • Employees look forward to coming back to work.
  • Above all, it promotes a strong emotional support network.

Hence, to help in developing a friendly workplace environment, you can opt for the following ways:

a. Organizing Social Activities

It can be anything from an annual picnic or can be a cultural night. Accordingly, incorporate social events that encourage interactions among the employees.

b. Improve Company Culture

Encourage a company culture where everyone is free to mingle and socialize. A company culture of a blue collared job and cubicles is a big no. Avoid it if you can.

The most successful companies understand that employees actively are looking for a fun environment. For instance, Facebook’s company culture highly encourages social interactions among their employees. One of its employees stated that:

"There’s definitely a lot of people walking around and a lot of things happening and conversations,” he said. “You just have every opportunity to learn from your colleagues and to collaborate.

c. Being the Friendly Boss

An unfriendly boss can spoil the workplace environment faster than you can say “cheese.” As their leader, your employees need to see you as a friend. All the great leaders know that you are better off by being among them and not standing on a pedestal.

The idea is to make yourself seem approachable and not into someone intimidating.

Moving forward, let's explore the real benefits of putting employee happiness first. We'll see how this approach boosts engagement, productivity, and overall business success.

6. Boost employee happiness with tailored benefits

Extensive employee benefits are a surefire way to keep employees content and productive. However, allocating resources to benefits can be challenging, especially after investing in new hires.

Effective communication is key here. Engage with your employees to craft a benefits package that meets their specific needs. Utilize surveys and feedback mechanisms to gauge preferences accurately.

Identify what matters most to your workforce. Is it enhanced parental leave, improved education opportunities, or better healthcare coverage? Understanding these preferences prevents investing in unnecessary benefits.

Consider both significant and minor perks. Do you acknowledge birthdays? Offer wellness initiatives? These gestures, big or small, enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty.

You foster a happier and more motivated workforce by actively listening to your employees and addressing their needs. Whether granting birthday leave or extending parental benefits, personalized support enhances morale and commitment.

7. Promote flexibility of work

Following the pandemic, many employees have expressed a strong preference for remote or hybrid work arrangements. These arrangements allow them to avoid commuting time, give them the flexibility to choose how and when they want to work and achieve a better work-life balance.

Consider allowing your staff members to work from anywhere in response to this trend. Coordinate with them and jointly decide which days would be best for them to spend in the office.

This strategy promotes a higher sense of autonomy and empowerment among staff members.

In addition, it acknowledges your workforce's evolving requirements and preferences, all of which add up to a more contented and effective team.

8. Help every employee chart a career path

Companies must hold regular career-planning conversations with their employees. As part of training and development, ensure your employees understand the many possibilities for work and career routes within the organization.

This will give staff members confidence that they have a future with your company, which is one of the most important factors in ensuring their long-term happiness and satisfaction.

9. Encourage frequent breaks

It's time to ditch the idea that sitting in chairs equals success.

Although it's tempting, pushing for long hours is counterproductive. Instead, breaks are vital for mental and physical freshness and to cut out unnecessary stress. They offer mental space, boost productivity, and battle burnout.

A Tork survey of 1,600 North American employees showed that those who took lunch breaks had higher engagement, job satisfaction, and loyalty. Break-takers reported feeling happier, and 39% noted improved work-life balance, highlighting the positive effects of breaks on well-being and satisfaction.

Thus, encourage walking or some chit-chatting with colleagues. You can also consider offering bean bags, a reading room, or a television.

Access to outdoor spaces like a garden or rooftop terrace for fresh air can be a great addition.

10. Prioritize employees' mental health and well-being

We all know mental health and well-being are super important.

Bosses who get that tend to be the best leaders. Conversely, those who brush it off often struggle to connect with their team.

When employers show they care about mental health, it makes a huge difference. Employees feel supported and valued and are game-changers for morale and productivity.

Ensure your employees access mental health resources, counseling, and mindfulness training. Also, tackle the stigma around mental health issues head-on. Creating a supportive environment is vital!

11. Implement employee feedback

The art of listening speaks volumes when it comes to employee happiness.

And it isn't merely about collecting and nodding to your employees' opinions.

It entails establishing a workplace culture where every voice holds significance. Acting upon collected feedback within a respectful and collaborative environment is critical to this approach.

Are you looking to optimize your employee feedback process? There are many platforms available to help. Consider Vantage Pulse, SurveyMonkey, CultureMonkey, and Workday Peakon.

For instance, Vantage Pulse stands out for its smooth transition from complex surveys to continuous listening. Its user-friendly interface makes trend analysis and turnover factor discovery a breeze.

Additionally, it seamlessly predicts behaviors to enhance employee retention. It's the subtle shift you need for a more effective feedback strategy.

12. Make time for socialization

We spend about one-third of our lives at work, and it's a big chunk of our time. And quite obviously, engaging with colleagues solely on a professional level can grow dull.

Nurturing personal connections is not only acceptable but must be encouraged. Socializing outside work through shared meals or weekend activities fortifies bonds, enriches relationships, and bolsters morale. All of them help foster a workplace culture of creativity and innovation.

13. Help employees take charge of their happiness

Employees need to take more responsibility for their own happiness now more than ever.

Employers can make every effort to foster the ideal work environment, but ultimately, it is up to the employees to choose how they want to balance work and private life.

Accepting personal accountability for their happiness is the first step toward that. Leaders have an essential role in this respect. They must promote the idea that employees can determine their level of happiness. It is sure to lead to a significant mental shift.

Leaders, for instance, need to prioritize their well-being and maintain a healthy work-life balance. It will positively set an example for the other team members.

There is also this outdated idea that happiness is reserved solely for weekends! It's high time we shift gears and encourage our employees to sprinkle a bit of joy into their workdays. Let's help them ditch the Monday blues mentality and empower them to be happy and healthy daily.

14. Provide free food and drinks

According to a Peapod study, giving free food to employees can boost their happiness by 67% compared to those who don't.

Interestingly, Millennials value workplace food the most and wish their employer offered more snack options. Moreover, snacks can attract employees to new companies, with 48% saying they'd consider perks like snacks when job hunting.

In summary, free meals are a giant magnet for employee happiness.

Revamp the office snack game with a healthy snack basket delivered straight to desks. It's a tasty surprise that fuels productivity and adds excitement to the daily grind.

15. Offer free yoga/meditation class

Employees appreciate the opportunity to prioritize self-care and bond with colleagues outside of work tasks.

Providing company-sponsored yoga or meditation classes, as exemplified by Vantage Circle, significantly boosts employee happiness. These sessions promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being, fostering a positive work environment.

Moving forward, let's explore the real benefits of prioritizing employee happiness. We'll see how this approach boosts engagement, productivity, and overall business success.

Benefits of employee happiness

1. Happiness leads to engagement

An HBR article claims that happier workers are more engaged. Furthermore, workers who are engaged at work are more productive and absent from work less frequently.

2. Happiness leads to a stress-free workplace

Happy workers are more likely to show up for work, which keeps the quality of your workplace culture high. Their positive presence fosters a sense of commitment, reliability, and enthusiasm among the team, ultimately elevating the overall work environment.

3. Happiness boosts creativity

An American Psychological Association study involving over 600 individuals demonstrated that days marked by enthusiasm, energy, and excitement were associated with heightened feelings of creativity. This establishes a direct connection between employee happiness and creativity, fostering innovative thinking and idea generation.

4. Happiness helps in retention

Unhappy employees tend to switch jobs more often. According to a Job Sage survey, 1 in 4 individuals left a job due to mental health reasons. Conversely, content employees are more likely to stay with the company.

5. Happy employees = Happy customers

42 percent of customers in a PwC report are willing to pay extra for positive and friendly customer service. So it's clear that enhancing customer interactions is pivotal. Remember, only happy employees are known to deliver superior customer service. Their positive outlook and job satisfaction directly translate into more engaged interactions with customers, fostering a healthy and productive business-customer relationship.

6. Finally, happiness is contagious!

The positive impact of happy employees isn't limited to themselves. Their feelings and vibes extend to their colleagues as well. It aids in creating a harmonious environment that enhances overall team morale and productivity.

As we near the end of this blog, let's take a brief look at the remarkable achievements of these organizations, which act as beacons for employee happiness. Their accomplishments reveal the route to a transformative journey that will result in a more engaged and content workforce.

Top 3 Companies for Employee Happiness Revealed

In a recent survey by Comparably, the top three companies for employee happiness have been unveiled, showcasing a mix of innovative industries and employee-centric cultures.

  • Workday: Workday is a cloud-based HR and finance application provider that tops the list. Employees praise the company for its inclusive culture, fair compensation, and generous benefits, including 25 annual vacation days.

  • Uber: Uber is second on the list and is known for its focus on diversity, inclusion, and professional growth. Employees appreciate the supportive environment and competitive benefits, including a wellness allowance.

  • Topgolf: Ranked third is Topgolf, offering a unique high-tech golfing experience. Employees describe the work environment as positive and welcoming, with a supportive team and a "home away from home" atmosphere.


In summary, prioritizing employee happiness isn't just nice—it's essential. By fostering a positive culture, supporting growth, and prioritizing mental health, organizations can unleash their team's full potential. Happy employees are not only productive but also loyal and innovative. Let's invest in their happiness—it's not just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. A happy workplace is where dreams are realized, and success thrives.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest to research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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The Ultimate Guide to Employee Rewards and Recognition

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Rewards and Recognition