Top 5 ways of measuring employee happiness

Henry Ford said “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: make the best quality goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.’ He recognized early on that happy employees far outperform unhappy ones.

This should come as no surprise to most people but yet, in a world where everything is measured by the bottom line, it can be easily forgotten.

Luckily, over the past few decades corporations large and small have been realizing the positive benefits of employee well being on their bottom line. This has caused an increase in interest in how exactly an employer can measure the happiness and wellbeing of their employees. In this article, we will take a brief look at the top 5 indicators or metrics used to determine just that.

Hold An Open Discussion: People feel much better when they are able to voice their opinions and concerns. They are even more likely to feel positive if those concerns are addressed.

Many businesses have taken to conducting informal discussions about project timelines, estimations, issues, etc. This is usually conducted once a week for about 45 minutes to an hour. During this time employees are free to voice concerns or opinions in a casual, non-threatening, environment. This is in stark contrast to the formal, “all-business” type meetings that have traditionally dominated the corporate sphere for many years.

The casual nature of these discussions helps people be themselves, feel less stressed, and ultimately leaves them in better spirits than the more formalized style meetings.

Look at Performance Numbers: Happy employees outperform unhappy employees. Analyzing performance or production numbers can give an employer an inside look into how satisfied their workers are with their job environment. This is also a good time for an employer to ask their employees if there is anything that can be done to improve their overall satisfaction with their workplace. An employee who sees their employer take interest in their wellbeing will undoubtedly have more positive feelings towards their work than those who think their employer simply does not care.

Work Closely With HR: This is especially true in large companies. Although there may be some confidentiality agreements that cannot be broken Human resources can provide excellent feedback and information in regards to employees concerns or complaints.

A good way to use HR is to get them involved in developing a benefits package that would please their workers. While benefit packages alone do not make happy employees, ones tailored to employees needs often do.

HR is also a good source for determining who needs some time off. Studies have shown that employees who have not gone on vacation over long periods of time often suffer from stress, burn out, and unhappiness. Bill Wexner, an HR manager at Boomessays and Viawriting says “If I notice an employee who hasn’t taken his vacation time in over two years I push hard for that individual to take his time off. Burnt out employees are more likely to be unhappy and, in turn, negatively affect the workplace environment and culture”

Conduct Surveys And Interviews: A classic survey is an excellent tool for getting a general idea of where one’s workforce is at mentally and emotionally. Surveys work especially well if they are anonymous. Anonymity ensures that employees will speak their mind truthfully. If the surveys come back and a large number of individuals have voiced the same concerns it is likely that these concerns are contributing negatively to employee happiness.

One thing employers have noted is even small changes to one’s work environment can have a major positive impact on an employee’s mental state. David Allen, a recruiter at Writing Populist and Bestbritishessays recalls how “…back in my management days I was able to get some funding to redo the kitchen and eating room of the office. The small amount of remodeling paid off big time! The employees were happier, more engaged, and performed better all-around”. This little anecdote does a good job of showing how minor changes to one’s workplace can have major effects on overall performance and engagement.

It is also useful to conduct one on one talks with people who one may think is unhappy. It can be hard to tell why an employee might be unhappy or disgruntled unless they are spoken to directly. Not only does this present the opportunity to rectify any issues which may be bothering an employee it also shows them that management cares about their well being.

Observe Engagement Levels: How engaged an employee is at work is directly tied to their level of happiness and job satisfaction. Sometimes low engagement can be seen visibly. Other times it presents itself in performance data. Regardless of how it is detected, it should be dealt with ASAP. The longer an employee is allowed to maintain a negative attitude at work the more difficult it will be to change their attitude later on.

This is particularly true in large companies where management sometimes doesn’t take the extra moment to look at their employees and access their engagement level. Disengaged employees can also have a negative effect on the workplace culture as well as others who are working around/with them.

Employee happiness and wellbeing is essential to a well-functioning workplace. It is often said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the work environment, the weakest link is usually an unhappy employee. Negativity does not affect just a single employee, but all employees. It hampers production, lowers efficiency, and ultimately results in smaller profits. 

Hopefully, this article has given those interested the necessary tools to examine and measure the mental state of their employees as well as some ideas about how to improve them. Remember, a business is only as good as it’s workforce.

Molly Crockett is a successful marketing writer for Write my Australia and Ukwritings, where she shares her unique lifestyle tips and personal development advice with her audience. In her spare time, Molly enjoys teaching writing skills to young people at Top Canadian Writers.

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