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5 Elements of Employee Happiness

21st Apr 2016
Freelance SEO Digital Marketer Freelance Consultant
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Maintaining employee satisfaction is important for many reasons: employee morale, workplace productivity, reducing turnover, and more. Additionally, happy employees are likely to treat customers a whole lot better. The question then becomes: how can we keep our employees happy? What are the affordable and simple methods which will keep employees happy and motivated?

Having worked in quite a few offices, I've come to appreciate that it is the little things which truly boost workplace satisfaction. Sure, a raise or bonus can be an effective motivator. But it comes at a cost that not all companies can afford. Here are five core ideas and tactics to keep employees happy and satisfied in the workplace:

Transparency is Key

The great thing about transparency is that it doesn't cost any money, and is quite easy to do. All it requires is honesty and forthcomingness. A 2014 American Psychological Association survey found that 25% of employees don't trust their employers, and 50% don't feel that their employers are open and upfront with them. The value in increasing employee transparency is that employees will likely exert more effort if they feel there is enough transparency via open communication. A 2013 Harvard Business Review survey found that 70% are most engaged when senior management provides ongoing company updates as well as company strategy.

Simple Recognition

Offering recognition or praise for an employee's production can go a long way in terms of re-affirming one's motivation for going the extra mile. This can include a pat on the back, an announcement, or even a gift or monetary bonus. For small businesses that don't have a proper process for this, I'd recommend using software for this, to automate employee recongition, so that management can easily keep track. 

Work-Life Balance & Needs

There is obviously a fine line in regard to work and life balance, especially from within a company or its HR department. It goes without saying that a company which is sensitive to it's employees' personal needs will garner more trust from employees. However, I'd like to add a layer to this: a company should go beyond basic needs and show that they care. What am I referring to? Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs lists physiological and safety as the most basic needs that each person requires. The two higher, following needs in the pyramid chart are social needs and self-esteem. 

A company that can tap into a person's social desires and boost their self-esteem is way ahead of the game. This primarily focuses on love and belongingness, by way of friendship, intimacy, and affection. Obviously a workplace environment cannot provide these things as well as family or interpersonal and romantic relationships can, but there are still a few easy things that any office can do to strengthen the core ideas within this realm. Here are a few examples: 

  1. If an employee has a baby, why not throw them an office baby shower? This will go a long way in terms of building satisfation.
  2. When an employee has a birthday - send them a birthday card from the office, and have everyone digitally sign it (because invariably there is an employee or two out sick or on vacation). This will also serve as a nice team building exercise. 
  3. Holiday celebrations: bringing in the holiday spirit is quite easy, and can help employees stay motivated during holiday season. A Secret Santa party or just a casual cocktail hour will help strengthen work-life balance among employees. 


There is a direct link between employee involvement and satisfaction. Getting employees involved can be a big boost toward their morale and productivity. The level of involvement obviously depends on upper management's comfortability, but this can easily be accomplished on either a micro or macro level.

For company direction and strategy, upper management can ask employees for input. The underrated aspect of this is that it not only boosts employees' morale with a sense of involvement, but it can also garner actual good ideas and recommendations that upper management can utilize and implement. This applies to micro-level planning and involvement as well. 

Career Path

Offering employees a broad career spectrum within their companies can go a long way in terms of overall satisfaction and drive. If any employee has what to look forward to on a long term level, he or she will maintain the drive to work hard - for the betterment of themselves and the company. 

This can be accomplished in two ways: making employees aware of long term career and position options, as well as discussing and offering promotions or title changes. 

Effects of Happy Employees 

The effects of happy employees can be linked to two aspects, each of which are contingent on one another: employee satisfaction, followed by customer satisfaction. If employees are happy, engaged, and ultimately satisfied, then there is a clear path toward improved customer satisfaction. 

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