Imagine the sound of excited voices mixed with the tapping of keyboards on a Monday morning. Employees greet each other with smiles and get to work full of energy. There is an open culture where engaging in conversation is key and everyone dares to be themselves. This scenario may seem like utopia to some, but it is the result of increasing employee happiness – an essential factor that can transform workplace atmosphere and performance.

Why is increasing employee happiness important?

Employee happiness has long since ceased to be a vague conceptual term. It is key to a healthy company culture and has a profound impact on employee satisfaction and performance. When employees feel happy at work, they experience less stress, are more engaged and motivated, and are even healthier. And that’s what you want if you want to captivate and engage your employees.

The benefits of employee happiness

Happy employees are not only valuable on an individual level, but they also contribute to overall business performance. Higher levels of employee happiness translate to higher productivity, improved team collaboration and lower employee turnover. In addition, a positive work environment encourages creativity and innovation, allowing companies to better compete in a dynamic marketplace.

Employee happiness long remained an elusive thing: the “soft side of HR. But nowadays countless studies have been devoted to it. Research by Utrecht University resulted in the Employee Happiness Model: 15 drivers that determine employee happiness. But how do you get started with these drivers? You can read about that in the step-by-step plan.

Roadmap: here’s how to increase employee happiness

To increase employee happiness, you need to know what you’re doing. That’s why we share a handy step-by-step plan below that will help you create happy employees fast.

1. Evaluate the current situation

To know what your goals are, you must first know where you are when you start. What does the organization look like now? How satisfied are employees? This is also called a baseline measurement – essential to ultimately being able to make your progress measurable.

2DAYSMOOD’s tool helps you do this in an easy and quick way. Employees receive an online survey in which they are asked about the 15 drivers of employee happiness: not only how satisfied they are with this, but also how important they find it for their job satisfaction. Are they not satisfied with work-life balance, for example, but consider it very important? Then you know that there is a gap there that needs to be closed. You can see these gaps clearly in a real-time dashboard, so you know where to start in order to make an impact quickly.

2. Define your goals and interventions

After the baseline measurement, you know how the organization is doing. And with the real-time dashboard, you know where to start. But before you get started, it is important to properly define what your goals are and in what timeframe you want to achieve them. This will help you take the right steps at the right time and ultimately measure whether the steps have been successful. Define the goals SMART and do not make them too big. Eventually you are working on a process and you may have to adjust them in the meantime. An example of a SMART goal:

“Employees now give a 3/5 score on the work-life balance component. By [date], I want satisfaction on work-life balance to be rated 4.”

Well, that goal already stands. Now it remains to determine what you will do to achieve it. To create more insight into the 15 drives, 2DAYSMOOD has created in-depth modules: every week (or the frequency that suits your organization) employees receive a survey with only two questions: how they are doing, and one in-depth question from the module. This will tell you which parts of the work-life balance are not yet in order, and what you can do about it quickly. Need more ideas? Then read on.

3. Keep measuring continuously

Employee happiness cannot be increased in three days. It is not solved overnight. Therefore, it is important that you monitor the effect of the actions you deploy. A good method for this is continuous, short-cycle measurements. Don’t just keep asking how employees are doing and what they think about something, but also show that you take this seriously and do something with it. Then employees will also take the responsibility of giving feedback seriously.

4. Evaluate and integrate!

After a while, you look back at the goals you set and the results you achieved. What did you accomplish? Did your interventions have the desired effect? Were you able to increase employee happiness? Where can you fine-tune, or do goals need to be adjusted? It is useful to do a new baseline measurement and compare the results with those of a while ago. That way you can compare it well side by side.

In addition, it is important to integrate employee happiness into your systems and processes, throughout the organization. Include it in the interview cycle and train your team leaders on recognizing work stress and promoting employee happiness. Make sure it keeps coming back and that it becomes part of the culture. After a while, employees won’t know any better than that their employee happiness is paramount in your organization.

Ideas for increasing employee happiness

A roadmap is, of course, a great start. But at some point you need to start putting actions in place to increase employee happiness. Below is a list of ideas and which factor of the Employee Happiness Model it is linked to:

  1. Provide continuous 360-degree feedback (appreciation)
  2. Create career development and growth paths (learning & development)
  3. Allowing employees to set their own work hours (work-life balance)
  4. Send out a weekly newsletter (internal communication)
  5. A company fitness subscription (vitality)
  6. Team outings! (relationship with colleagues)
  7. Get input for the organization’s annual plan (strategy & goals)
  8. Reverse mentoring (relationship with manager)
  9. Training executives on inclusive leadership (diversity & inclusion)

Increasing employee happiness: here’s how you do it

Employee happiness is not just a buzzword; it is an essential ingredient for a healthy and thriving organization. By investing in employee well-being, you can not only increase employee happiness, but also create an environment where people thrive and excel. Increasing employee happiness is not an easy task, but it is an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Want to learn more about how to increase employee happiness within your organization? The Employee Happiness Experts at 2DAYSMOOD are happy to help you with your challenges!