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Enhancing employee happiness: 14 tips for a positive workplace

Last updated

8 April 2024


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Warren Jonas ACC

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Whatever your industry or sector, your employees keep everything running. And happy employees go the extra mile, resulting in satisfied customers and a thriving business.

However, it can be challenging to figure out exactly how to keep employees happy. Many factors contribute to employee happiness and building a positive workplace. 

Building a truly employee-first business can take years, but it's well worth the investment. 

Keep reading for 14 tips to give you a head start with enhancing employee happiness and transforming your business.

What is employee happiness?

Employee happiness is a state of contentment that an employee feels toward their job, work environment, and employer. They enjoy their job and eagerly get stuck in. 

It goes beyond job satisfaction and ensures employees thrive and enjoy their work. 

Employee happiness is one of the building blocks of employee engagement and retention. 

Why is employee happiness important?

Every business should prioritize employee happiness. Happy employees build a better culture and provide several tangible benefits for your organization. 

Here are a few reasons why employee happiness matters:

Happy employees are smarter workers

Employees who are happy with their leadership and company structure are more likely to devise out-of-the-box solutions. They tend to be more productive and creative, saving your business time and money in the long run.

Happy employees encourage innovation

Happy employees are more engaged at work. This helps them see big-picture strategies for projects, providing suggestions and ideas that can help your company become more innovative. 

They’re also less likely to give up when things get tough. Instead, they take ownership of an issue and pursue a satisfactory resolution.

Happy employees provide better customer service

Customers are the bottom line in nearly every business. Invest in your employees’ happiness and you'll see more customer satisfaction.

Employee happiness will shine through in every interaction, showing customers your organization is worth doing business with.

Happy workers get more accomplished

Ultimately, happy employees are more productive. People who are happy with their work and environment are likely to take fewer breaks and be more engaged with their tasks. More productive employees translate to greater revenue growth for your business.

You could experience lower turnover rates and low absenteeism, which help build a thriving company culture that can withstand marketplace fluctuations.

The relationship between employee happiness and productivity

Enhanced employee productivity is the goal of any business since productivity leads to revenue growth and more completed projects. 

However, forcing workers to be productive is rarely successful. It can breed resentment and lead to "quiet quitting," as employees become less engaged with their jobs. 

Employees who are dissatisfied and unhappy will always be looking out for other opportunities. However, simply being happy at work can transform an employee's work ethic and approach to daily duties.

According to Forbes, happiness dramatically improves performance and success. Additionally, happiness is the most important factor in whether we take, stay at, or quit a job.

How to measure employee happiness

While happiness isn't quantifiable, there are a few ways to measure employee happiness in your workplace. 

One popular way is to conduct an anonymous employee happiness survey. Gathering employee insights can help you understand what your organization is doing well and where you could improve. 

Surveys with plenty of space for employee responses can help you see things from their perspective and understand which departments and areas are lagging.

Specific metrics, like turnover and absenteeism, might also offer a clue into employee happiness at your workplace. But there’s another interesting place to look—customer feedback.

Since happier employees tend to lead to happier customers, regularly check what your customers are saying about the service they are receiving.

14 tips to enhance employee happiness

Wondering how to improve employee happiness? It's common knowledge that offering raises and bonuses is a tried-and-true way to keep employees happy. 

Let’s go beyond that. These tips are excellent ways to show your employees that you care about their happiness and well-being while boosting morale:

1. Allow employees to voice opinions

If employees think you don’t value their thoughts and opinions, they could become disengaged and dissatisfied. 

Encouraging employees to voice their opinions solidifies their belonging within your organization. 

Regularly solicit feedback, ask for opinions in group settings and one-on-ones, and always listen when an employee comes to you with a question or concern.

2. Reward good work

If you want to show employees their contributions matter, thank them when they do something well. If appropriate, show your appreciation for their hard work in a public forum.

Consider rewarding employees with monetary or tangible items. This appreciation is vital for keeping employees motivated to continue performing at a high level.

3. Provide opportunities for growth

A company is more likely to retain employees when it invests in professional growth and training opportunities. 

Encouraging professional development shows workers that you can visualize their path forward in the organization. 

It also benefits you. Highly trained employees are generally better at their jobs, boosting the company’s bottom line and service standards. 

4. Communicate frequently

Clear, regular communication is one of the most critical success factors in any business. Incorrect or delayed information causes frustration and mistakes.

Commit to regularly updating your team, but avoid time-consuming daily check-ins or meetings. Find a happy medium that works for everyone.

5. Recognize and celebrate achievements

You should always celebrate employee achievements, no matter how large or small. 

If your employees are comfortable with it, you can celebrate personal and professional milestones and successes, like work anniversaries or college graduations. 

This shows your employees that you value them as people and professionals, contributing to their job satisfaction and happiness.

6. Offer flexible work schedules

Whenever possible, offer flexible work schedules, including hybrid options and adaptable deadlines. More employers are allowing remote work, so those who don’t keep up with this trend will lose valuable talent. 

Embracing autonomy in the workplace demonstrates that you honor employees’ time and recognize great work can happen in and out of a traditional office environment. 

If you are unsure what flexible work options your employees prefer, consider holding an open forum to discuss them or sending out a survey if that makes more sense for your organization.

7. Promote work-life balance

Benefits like health insurance are no longer enough to keep employees happy. Nowadays, most workers want a rich life with a rewarding career. 

Poor work-life balance can have negative repercussions. According to McKinsey, work-life imbalance may: 

  • Undermine professional confidence over time

  • Reduce trust in employers

  • Worsen fears about judgment over caregiving

This is why it’s vital to actively promote a healthy work-life balance within your organization. 

Provide sufficient paid vacation and holidays to demonstrate that you value their time away from the office. Never pressure employees to work after hours or outside their usual schedule. Always respect your workers' time.

8. Foster a positive work environment

To create happy employees, focus on building a positive company culture, whether your team works in an office full-time or remotely. You can do this by:

  • Rewarding successes

  • Providing clear expectations

  • Foster collaboration

  • Focus on clear communication

  • Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition

  • Not micromanaging

  • Building team trust

A positive culture is a joy that will inspire your employees at every level of the organization.

9. Provide competitive compensation

You can offer every perk in the book, but if you don’t compensate your employees fairly, they will likely leave your company. 

Competitive compensation lets workers know you value their professional skills and education and want to invest in keeping them with your company.

Regularly provide bonuses and monetary gifts whenever possible. Be transparent about the raises you can offer every year.

10. Provide regular training and resources

Invest in your employees by offering regular training and resources to further their professional knowledge and education. Training can help them feel more confident, empowered, and generally happier at work. 

11. Don't shift priorities

Shifting priorities and focus creates a culture of distrust and confusion. Always be clear about project deadlines, goals, and expectations. Encourage employees to share their thoughts on feasibility to ensure you’re not pushing them toward burnout. 

If the project direction changes or a new priority emerges, be upfront with workers and share information as soon as you receive it. This will keep your employees on the same page and show them you care about setting clear expectations.

12. Implement employee wellness programs

Every great employee benefits package should include options that focus on health and wellness. Employee wellness programs can foster loyalty and enhance happiness, even beyond inclusion in standard benefits packages. 

From gym memberships to extra levels of insurance, wellness programs are a great way to demonstrate your commitment to health and wellness. 

After all, healthy employees are less likely to call out sick and are likely to perform at a higher level than those with health concerns.

13. Encourage open communication

Open communication is a sign of respect and loyalty. Be transparent with your employees whenever possible. If they come to you with a problem or a question, listen carefully and address their concerns. 

Acknowledgment and action are a powerful combination that can enhance employee loyalty and trust.

14. Reward employee loyalty

Rewarding your loyal employees crafts a reputation as a respectable company that cares about its employees. 

A loyal employee hasn’t necessarily been with your organization for decades. Rather, employee loyalty manifests in commitment through adversity, willingness to go the extra mile, and a job well done.

There are many ways to reward employee loyalty, from free meals to years-of-service awards and mentions in a company newsletter. 

Ask your employees how they’d like you to recognize their hard work and incorporate their suggestions whenever possible.


What are the four factors of job satisfaction?

While experts disagree on how many specific factors make up a happy employee, at least four factors are involved in job satisfaction: 

  • Work-life balance

  • Salary

  • Working conditions, including the office and team atmosphere

  • Developmental opportunities

If a company can master these factors, it will be well on its way to creating happier employees.

What is the difference between employee satisfaction and happiness?

Employee satisfaction refers to a worker's overall contentment with their organization and role. 

Employee happiness includes various factors, including job satisfaction. Happiness at work is a deep feeling of satisfaction that can lead to enhanced productivity and creativity.

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