Employee dissatisfaction is so prevalent that you can’t just ignore it. On social media, people are openly criticizing their managers, and making memes about ‘overly enthusiastic coworkers’. 

Employees everywhere are continually expressing their dissatisfaction with their jobs. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to measure employees’ happiness and practical ways to improve it if it’s low.

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What Is Employee Happiness?

There’s a common misconception that employee happiness means larger-than-life employees. That’s not entirely true; disgruntled employees are easy to notice, while genuinely happy employees are not. 

Your employees have different personalities, so not all of them are very friendly or have a carefree attitude. Although some people are pretty open about how they feel about their jobs, so you’ll be able to tell if they’re happy or not.

Most happy employees are not going around talking about how happy they are at their job but it shows in their work culture. People are different, so the way they display happiness is unique to them. 

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Employee happiness is when employees have little reluctance to do their job. For example, happy employees are eager to go above and beyond to do their jobs.

They take input from superiors seriously without feeling threatened or worried about the job. You can see how happy employees are by their eagerness to take on new tasks.

So, employee happiness is more about work culture rather than employee personality.

Know Your Staff With This: Employee Motivation Questionnaire Template

Factors That Contribute to Employee Happiness

Want to find out if your employees are happy and happy with a positive outlook to work? Here are some proven factors that determine employee happiness levels.

  • Competitive Salary and Perks

The income is what drives most people to take a job in the first place. If you’re paying significantly less than the average for a position, your employees’ happiness levels are unlikely to be as high as those at a company that pays more. Your employees may be working for you because they don’t have a choice rather than because they genuinely care about the work your company does and want to be a part of it."work-conditions"

Like it or not, most people judge their success primarily on their finances. So, having an attractive fixed salary for most employees means they are successful. Nobody wants to feel like a failure, and because a salary is such an important part of people’s notion of success, they’ll likely be unhappy if they’re underpaid. Giving your staff the right perks will increase their happiness. Bonuses, workplace SWAG, team bonding activities, and free access to growth programs are all examples of great perks.

Test This out: Free Employee Guarantor Form Template 

While perks are not necessary, it’s what makes your employees different from other employees. 

Most businesses have a bonus system in place, but you’ll need to figure out how to keep it balanced. Of course, providing incentives to your employees is a good method to boost productivity.

However, it may not be the most effective technique for increasing employee happiness. Yes, people work harder to get bonuses which means more productivity, but most employees do it mindlessly. You should also be cautious with these incentive programs because they can foster a hostile work atmosphere due to coworker competition.

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  • Rigid or Uninteresting Job Roles

While every position has a certain job description and employees need to perform well in those roles; most people crave variety.  For most employees, having undynamic roles leads to boredom and, as a result, unhappiness.

So work becomes an obligation; it’s like a chore they have to put up with but they don’t get any satisfaction doing it. Yes, work does not have to be a joyful activity for people to enjoy, but if employees find their jobs uninteresting, they are likely to be unhappy when they arrive at work.

Develop a vibrant work environment with exciting fun events for employees. You could also try cross-collaboration, for example, bringing together employees from other departments for brainstorming sessions.

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  • Micromanagement

Most people don’t respond well to micromanagement. It’s either they feel like they’re being watched all the time and get anxious just thinking about work, or they begin to push back because they feel disrespected. You hired them amongst other candidates for a specific job role because they are the most qualified for it- act like it. "micro-management"

The border between good communication and micromanagement is razor-thin. Managers frequently step over it because they are committed to their role as a leader, and it almost always backfires. While some people thrive under continuous supervision, the majority of people do not, and those who do are often uneasy. Abandon the helicopter approach to employee management and embrace organizational autonomy, supervising without hovering.

Focus on assigning work and providing constructive feedback rather than reminding staff of their responsibilities all the time. They know what they need to do and how they’ll do it, so trust them to handle it.

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Of course, this does not negate the importance of checking in with staff and keeping track of task progress. It simply means that you should supervise but not hover.

  • Healthy, Safe, and Inclusive Work Environment

Nobody wants to wake up dreading their day, but for employees who work in an unsafe or toxic environment, that’s the norm. People spend the majority of their days at work; imagine spending more than half of your day in constant dread because your workplace is toxic.

Workplaces can be deemed unsafe or unhealthy for a variety of reasons, including workplace culture and physical security.

Physical Security: If a company is located in an area with a high crime rate, most people will feel unsafe going in or coming out of work. 

Make it company policy for employees to check in and check out at safer hours. If they have to return to work late, having a lodge on-site where they may arrive sooner is a terrific idea.

Use This: Employee Background Check Form Template

Work Culture: You may not be able to influence the crime rate in your area, but you can influence the culture of your workplace. Actively take steps to make your workplace transparent and employee-friendly.

Harassment, hostility, violence, or any other sort of inappropriate behavior should not be tolerated in your workplace. A good way to start is by conducting a culture fit when hiring employees and doing a background check.

Make sure you have a company policy in place that takes cases of inappropriate behavior seriously.

For Your Use: Employee Exit Survey Template

  • Overwhelming Workload

Another key cause of increased employee unhappiness is an excessive workload. The mere thought of how much work they have is enough to make most people’s days miserable.

Stacking tasks on tasks for employees mostly leads to employees feeling overwhelmed. You’re draining them by making them think about work rather than doing it. Regulate and assign tasks to your employees within reason, and get feedback from them. Find out if they find the tasks too much and how much time they need to complete each task.

Instead of assigning work all at once, establish a task management system that assigns priorities to tasks. Determine how many tasks your employees can complete within a period and assign tasks based on that.

For example, instead of giving employees a weekly task list, break it down into a daily task list. It’s always better to add tasks one after the other than just heaping it on employees all at once.

For Your Use: Employee Corrective Action Form Template

  • Growth Trajectory

Aside from being underpaid, having too much work, or feeling unsafe at work, the company’s growth trajectory is another factor that influences employee happiness. This could go both ways- your company’s growth trajectory for employees and the company’s growth trajectory for itself.

Employees who believe their job is a dead-end tend to be gloomy about their jobs and even their lives. Set up a clear growth framework inside your organization so that everyone knows how they can progress in their positions.

Also, give employees access to the resources they need to grow, seminars with professionals, mentorship opportunities, self-improvement classes, etc. Nobody wants to be stuck in a firm that isn’t progressing. Make sure your company is actively working to grow, and make sure your staff is aware of this by involving them in the process.

If people can’t advance in your organization or don’t believe it has a direction, they’ll jump ship, and those that stay are always questioning why they didn’t.

For Your Use: Employee Wellbeing Survey Questionnaire Template

  • Healthy Work-Life Balance

People are always talking about this, this implies, it’s some people find it relatable. Are your office hours healthy? Are you allowing your employees have a life outside of work? If you ask most people why they are self-employed rather than work for other people, it’s probably because of work schedules. Most people want a schedule that enables them to have a full life.

Yes, most people don’t find working alone fulfilling; they need time to focus on other things or people they care about, and if they can’t accomplish that with your company’s work schedule, they will be unhappy.

Although the majority of people work from 9 to 5, some employees may need a more flexible schedule to be more productive. Giving your staff flexible working hours doesn’t just make them happy, it makes them more productive.

For Your Use: Free Employee Compensation Survey Template

Why Does Employee Happiness Matter?

Happy employees are 12 percent more productive than those who are unhappy, according to research performed by the University of Warwick. Also, happy employees experience less fatigue at work than unhappy employees.

Employees that are not stressed are more productive and take fewer vacation days because they are not having a difficult time at work. The upside to this is that your revenue is more likely to increase if your staff are more productive.

According to Gallup, 63 percent of employees are ‘not engaged,’ while another 24 percent are actively disengaged at work. This essentially means that 87 percent of employees have no enthusiasm for their jobs, and are unmotivated to do their tasks.

Most people don’t work for fun, but they might be disengaged from work because they don’t enjoy their work due to several reasons (we’ve mentioned them earlier).

Sadly, the majority of organizations do not provide a nurturing environment for employee satisfaction. As an employer, you should strive to find out these reasons and remedy them because like it or not it affects your bottom line.

How to Measure Employee Happiness

1. Conduct Periodic Surveys

Conducting regular surveys is one of the most effective ways to learn how your employees feel about their work. Create survey questions that are based on real-life scenarios rather than workplace questionnaires.

When it comes to surveys, most employees will lie through their teeth if they believe it will alter how the employer perceives them.  Create dynamic surveys to gain a better understanding of your workers’ perspectives on their jobs.

2. Peer Appraisals

Managers primarily evaluate employee happiness based on performance, but peer appraisals are different. Employees review one another’s performance over a specific period. 

It helps you understand employees’ work culture, engagement, and style of collaboration.

3. Anonymous Opinion Pool

When people are not in the spotlight, it is easier for them to speak up. Create anonymous feedback and complaint forms for your staff to fill out.

It will help you understand what your employees want and prioritize them.

4. Check Your Employees’ Pro-Activity

Are your staff excited to take on new duties and come up with creative solutions to resolve issues or ways to improve the company’s product/service? If they are, it is most likely because they are happy with their job.

However, if your employees only do the barest minimum, it may be because they are they’re unhappy or overworked.

5. Evaluate Performance History

Measure the levels of productivity among your workforce. Is their output as high as it was when they first started, or is it progressively declining?

Most employees express their unhappiness with low productivity and disengagement.

6. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

Organize days where employees speak with their supervisors and provide input on how they feel about their jobs. Some employees may flat-out lie, especially if they don’t trust you, but if it becomes the norm, they will adjust.

Also, make sure you take the conversations seriously and act on what you’ve heard. It will encourage employees to be more open about their feelings once they see you’re responsive to their feedback.

How to Keep Employees Happy—and Productive

Flexible Working Hours- Employees place a high priority on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and it shows. Do your best to make a productive work schedule that’s flexible enough for employees to have a healthy work-life balance.

Create a Safe Space for Your Employees to Voice Their Opinions – Maintaining an open-door policy helps employees come forward with their workplace challenges. When your employees trust you enough to tell you how they really feel about their jobs, you’ve cracked employee happiness.

Develop a Positive Work Culture – Before recruiting employees, create a work culture that has zero-tolerance for inappropriate behavior at the workplace.

Appreciate Your Team- Celebrate All the Wins – When your employees create remarkable ideas or they hit an exciting milestone in their career, celebrate them.

Reasonable PTO – Encourage your team to take time off. Give enough days for your employees to relax and not be overwhelmed with work. 

Implications of Having a Happy Workforce

According to a Harvard Business Review report, companies with low employee engagement had a one-third lower operating income and an 11% annual growth decline. That’s a significant drop in revenue for a company, especially if it’s a startup.

One of the major reasons 75 percent of startups fail is due to bad work culture. So, if you’re just starting a business, take the time to create a positive company culture, hire people who fit in, and ensure that your employees are happy.


Happy employees are more productive than unhappy ones. The easiest way to boost your productivity is to ensure employee happiness.

Treat them like family- give them all the resources they need to grow, appreciate your employees and keep an open door policy. Ensure they are all treated fairly and watch your organization’s productivity go up.

  • busayo.longe
  • on 12 min read


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