Happiness in the workplace and what influences it?

In an earlier blog we looked at happiness in the workplace and why it’s important. We concluded that happier employees do better on all fronts, from day-to-day health to productivity to career advancement, and this consistently improves the bottom line as well as myriad other benefits for the business.

How do we enable employees to achieve happiness at work?  Awarding big pay increases isn’t the answer; according to research conducted by Glassdoor, compensation is one of the least important factors in regards to workplace happiness.   

Here are the main things that influence workplace happiness:

Company culture

A positive environment where staff feel empowered to perform at their best is critical to creating happiness at work. Every person is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the best company culture. Where employees are part of a work culture that fits them, they will be more productive and more fulfilled.

Opportunities to make an impact

Most people want to be in a job where the work they do is meaningful, and they can make an impact. Some are attracted to larger organisations where there are several opportunities to make a broad impact across functions and geographies. Others prefer smaller or start-up companies where each person has an opportunity to quickly make a big impact. When your employees have opportunities to make their mark and show others their capabilities and strengths, they are more likely to thrive, and feel motivated to do their best. 

Relationship with manager, team leader or line manager

A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed workers in the USA concluded that “the primary reason people leave their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor”.  Undoubtedly the relationship an employee has with his or her manager is one of the relationships that most impacts on workplace happiness. A manager who wants his or her employees to succeed can be a source of inspiration and ideas, helping staff explore options for improving engagement and overall job satisfaction as well as identifying career-development and promotional opportunities.  

Relationship with co-workers

Given the sheer number of hours we each spend with our co-workers, it makes sense that daily interactions with them have an impact on overall job satisfaction. These relationships can help people feel like part of a team and more connected at work. 

Learning and development

One of the keys to long-term career success is continuous learning and development.  The degree to which employees could gain new skills and have new experiences will greatly impact on their job satisfaction and levels of happiness at work.

Benefits and perks

While some benefits and perks fall into the compensation category, like a company car or bonus, others are truly happiness-inducing without impacting on your company’s bottom line.  Flexible working hours support work-life balance and can help reduce stress and burnout. Perks like wellness programs, support for charitable work, and company social events can also positively impact on job satisfaction. 

Whilst salary and other compensation supports an employee’s livelihood and measures the value of the work they do, it is the other elements of their working life that will help them feel valued, fulfilled, and happy about their work.

An effective employee value proposition (EVP), can help develop workplace happiness and motivate employees in the work environment.  If you’d like to take a closer look at what will attract the best talent, motivate them to give their best at work, and choose to stay with a company, get in touch.


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