20 Ways To Keep Employees Happy

People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, and all life for happiness.

Too many companies are overly focused on the profit and what they do but overlook the force behind results. Employees are the backbone of organizations, their feelings, and emotions at work can directly affect business success.

Not long ago, being happy at work was not a big deal; few cared about employees' happiness. Working was about employees showing up on time and doing their jobs, like it or not. Finding happiness was an outside job.

We live in different times, the tide is changing, and companies recognize the value of human capital.

Employee happiness is now more crucial than ever for running a successful, profitable organization, but it can be hard to figure out how to keep employees happy.

Studies show that company profits are higher and turnover rates lower when employees are happy, loyal, and engaged.

On the other hand, when employees feel unhappy and unmotivated, productivity goes down, the attrition rate goes up, and the company suffers. Replacing an employee can cost up to 33% of their annual salary, while unhappy employees cost U.S. companies $550 billion annually.

Table of contents:

  • What is happiness at work?
  • Benefits of keeping employees happy
  • 10 ideas for employees to keep and increase employees happiness
  • 10 ideas for employees to be happy at work

What is happiness at work?

Happiness at work is having a sense of fulfillment or purpose in your career. It means that you are engaged in meaningful work and feel satisfied with your accomplishments. It is often related to job satisfaction, positive relationships with coworkers and feeling appreciated for your effort and hard work.

Happiness and satisfaction are subjective concepts – individual factors like personality traits, level of perception, underlying psychological stressors, and emotional intelligence influence the degree to which we feel comfortable in a professional situation.

Employee happiness is not just feeling happy all the time. It is about feeling positive about work; it is about being willing to fix problems rather than complaining, accepting constructive criticism, and constantly improving oneself while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky in The How Of Happiness: 50% of happiness is genetically predetermined, while 10% is due to circumstances in life (family, health, etc.), and 40% is the result of personal perspective.

As an employer, you cannot do anything about the first two, but the last 40% of happiness is something you can help your employees with. Analyzing what makes employees happy is quite challenging, but it is more difficult to change the structure of your daily work pattern and prioritize employee happiness.

Benefits of keeping employees happy

The key to a business's success revolves especially around your workforce.

Employee happiness has become a crucial and growing business concern over the past few years, as more companies recognize the benefits of having not just engaged but also employees who are happy and in good moods.

Happy employees feel pride and accomplishment in their work. The sense of meaning has a positive boomerang effect. It reduces stress, which can, in turn, positively affect productivity.

Health, safety, productivity, customer service, profitability - there is not a business metric that is not impacted by how happy your people are.

1. Happy employees make better decisions at work

Employee morale can make a big difference in your workforce and the decision-making process. Stressed-out workers might be more distracted and take more risks, while happy employees might make educated and calculated decisions. As a manager, you need to instill respect, admiration, and confidence in your team, so they feel inspired and happy to do their job to the best of their abilities.

2. Happy employees are more productive

Employee happiness is inversely proportional to absenteeism, stress, and burnout. When employees are happy, they focus more on work instead of thinking about unnecessary things. And they become enthusiastic about taking on challenges. A recent Oxford University study also highlights that happy employees are 13 percent more productive.

3. Happy employees are less likely to quit

Unhappy workers are far more likely to leave your company for a new position - often with your competitor. If you have an unhealthy workspace, it will affect employee retention and puts stress on your business.

4. Happy employees provide better customer service

Employees with a better mindset and attitude will be more attentive when delivering customer service. Likewise, clients will prefer dealing with employees who have a positive attitude. When your clients enjoy interacting with your staff, customer satisfaction and retention grows.

5. Happy employees are better leaders

They turn into charismatic persons and are less risk-averse. Happy employees rally quickly from the failures.

6. Happy employees are more creative

According to a study by Adobe, happy employees are less concerned about day-to-day work, think out of the box, innovate, and put their creative thinking to use.

7. Happy employees make others happy too

Happiness is infectious. It will spread throughout your organization, and it will affect the energy of your entire team. The more they feel good, help others, and happiness will elevate the team energy!

How to keep and increase employees happiness?

Life gets busy, and demands at work continue to mount. We all get stuck in habits, routines, and relationships that don't serve us well and affect our happiness. All too often, we are unaware that this is happening.

Even when we are clear about what makes us happy, we don't know what and how to change.

While more money can put a smile on your employees' faces, it is not the only way to keep them cheerful. Handing out a raise or promotion is just one short-lived way to keep employees happy, satisfied, and content at their jobs. There are many cost-effective ways to keep your employees feeling their best at work.

10 ideas for employers

1. Put the work-life balance on top of your priorities

Work-life balance allows people a healthier balance and flexibility between their work commitments and their family and personal commitments.

Ensuring your employees have an excellent work-life balance is crucial for a healthy work environment and keeping employees happy. Among the benefits of keeping an environment where the work-life balance is aspects are respected we would like to highlight the following:

  • It prevents burnout
  • It increases engagement
  • It creates a healthy workforce
  • It prevents stress leave & absenteeism
  • It improves the employee branding
  • Results in employee happiness.

2. Offer flexible working opportunities

A flexible working environment is the future of work. Allow your employees to work remotely whenever it is possible. Flexibility at work brings comfort that leads to greater happiness and productivity.

Flexible working hours help each employee maintain their best personal schedule while still putting in the time to manage and complete work projects. When employees feel free to work on their schedule, they feel refreshed and happier overall.

Tip: We have some flexible working arrangements sample letters that you might use.

3. Listen to your employees' voice

Most employees feel dissatisfied with their jobs when their opinions are not valued. This behavior leads to employees' underperformance at the workplace, eventually leading to disengagement. When building a happy workforce, listening and asking for employee feedback is essential. Managers and their behavior can make a big difference in how employees perceive their work. Involve your employees in the decision-making process early on, particularly if the decision impacts them. Hearing employees' voices needs to be part of a big push for diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace.

4. Create a career pathway

Career growth and upward mobility are important stepping stones for employees. It allows them the emotional freedom to take risks, pitch new ideas, ask for support and mentorship, work on their skills, and grow as employees and people.

Create and cultivate a transparent culture at your office that empowers employees to ask for growth opportunities. When it comes to employee happiness, offering career growth opportunities is one of the best ways to keep people happy and motivated.

Image source: G2

5. Build a positive work environment

Happy employees make a happy company. Positive work environments constantly come up as one of the most desirable factors for workers; a Deloitte study found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a positive corporate culture is crucial to company success.

A transparent work environment is crucial to building the type of workplace where people feel they can discuss anything - and get their negative issues out in the open.

Here is a checklist that usually keeps both office and remote workers happy, healthy and productive:

  • An ergonomic chair
  • A good desk
  • A fast laptop
  • Water to hydrate
  • Snacks for a quick energy boost
  • Plants to boost mood
  • Fresh air
  • Natural light
  • A good internet connection.


  • An external monitor to get more done
  • A yoga mat to do some stretches
  • A whiteboard for brainstorming.

6. Always wear a smile at work

Smile more! Whenever you talk with anyone at the workplace, always talk with a smile. A smile is a sign of positivity, and it is one of the easiest ways to convey happiness and positive energy.

Leaders should always smile in front of their employees. It creates a good impact on them. Happiness is contagious, and your smile will spread and make others happier too. Your one smile can make their day.

7. Recognize and reward hard work

A pat on the back or a simple "great job" from management can go a long way toward making employees feel valued at work. But in some workplaces, those congratulatory and confidence-boosting moments can be few and far between.

"For employees to feel motivated, they need to know they're on the right track and that a higher-up is noticing even small details in progress or level of skills," says Haley Perlus, Ph.D., a performance coach based in Canada.

Tip: we do have additional tips and more than 10 examples of how to write professional thank you letters.

8. Offer benefits beyond the basics

There are many ways to supplement salary by assisting employees in other areas of their lives. Benefits are one of the most effective ways to keep employees happy. When employees feel their company takes care of them, they are far more likely to feel satisfied and productive.

When planning your benefits package, consider thinking about both big and small employee needs. Whether it is a birthday or work anniversary, or giving them extra maternity or paternity leave, it's critical to figure out what each employee needs - and how you can better help them. When employees feel like you are genuinely listening to them and fulfilling their needs, they will be much happier and work harder.

Tip: LeaveBoard allows you to know when the next birthday will take place, or what is the tenure of your employees at any time. In this way, you will never miss giving one extra day of PTO for loyalty within the business or send the invite for the next performance review.

9. Learn more about your employees

Who doesn't love taking some time off to do something fun? Games can be team-building activities, and you can play them even when working remotely. The better your team knows each other outside of work, the better they can collaborate when they are working. It is a win-win situation!

Building time into the workday with small celebrations is an easy way to make employees feel refreshed and centered. It also helps employees know you see them as more than just workers - you see them as people. Picking team-building games can be a great way to connect with your team better.

10. Create a transparent workplace

There is nothing more important than being transparent with expectations when it comes to workplace culture. Write a clear employee handbook and ensure transparency starts from the first day on the job. Ensure your onboarding is complete and includes all necessary training for team members. Ensuring all employees are on the same page will increase motivation and productivity.

Also, as your organization grows, you need to invest into innovative tools that will boost the digital transformation within your business. Think about the fact that there are vacation calendars that not only help with business continuity, but also ensure that everyone is on the same line and knows who is off and when. Combine this with a multitude of repetitive processes that are eliminated trough automation, and your managers will have accurate reports any time they need them.

Happiness is an individual concept. At the end of the day, managers cannot magically make employees happy and fix all problems.

How to be happy at work?

10 ideas for employees

Happiness altogether is a highly subjective experience. A study conducted by Fowler and Christakis (2008) for Harvard University found that individuals are likely to feel happier when they have other happy people around.

Finding happiness at work is not always related to actions and cognitions related to the work itself. It is associated with the work environment, personality traits, interpersonal connections, stress management skills, etc.

Here are ten simple ways that can help us rediscover workplace happiness and sustain it for a long time

1. Declutter your workplace

The phrase "a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind" is correct. Getting creative with the workspace can enhance feelings of exhilaration and refresh the mind. It reinforces concentration and is a great way to feel good at work every day.

2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is not a buzzword, and neither is it an overrated concept. Meditation decreases the number of conflicts in the workplace. It leads to happier employees. When employees are stress-free, they are glad.

Practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and effective communication can ease the stress and help employees progress towards their goals.

3. Work it out

A 15-minute daily workout reduces stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins - your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters.

Any exercise – walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or anything else, brings more productivity at work, more energy to give it the best shot, and more fulfillment throughout the day.

4. Engage in feedback mechanisms

Decisive and immediate feedback are predictors of workplace happiness and job satisfaction.

Studies have shown that employers or supervisors who regularly offer feedback and acknowledge efforts are more successful in having a happy team.

5. Improve time management skills

When juggling various tasks simultaneously, it is almost impossible to devote an equal amount of attention to each detail, thereby resulting in distractions.

Multitasking 'wastes more time' and can be the reason for unhappiness among professionals at different levels. To avoid this, we can prioritize our to-do list and focus on first dealing with the more important tasks.

Image source: LiveAbout

6. Help a colleague

The level of happiness that we derive from helping others cannot be equated with anything else in the world. It gives a sense of empowerment, enhances wisdom, and makes us feel more connected to the organization.

Simple acts of kindness, expressions of gratitude, and offering support to colleagues in times of need can make us feel a lot better about ourselves and make us happier at work.

“If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team.” - Bud Wilkinson

7. Choose your responses wisely

Individuals can choose responses that can make them happy at work. Cloud HR Software like LeaveBoard can help in this way also. Just think about streamlining communication processes, and removing the need to send emails or write letters every time you need to get annual leave.

8. Value yourself

Work stress often makes us forget our true worth. A gentle reminder to self, a little throwback to the past achievements can work wonders in bringing back the happiness at the workplace.

Happiness is sustained when we can step back and take a moment to appreciate ourselves.

9. Start the day on a good note

Take some moments each morning to collect your thoughts and plan your day.

Take a walk, sip a hot coffee, and create your goals for the day. A day that starts well is more likely to bring in more productivity and yield more fruits.

10. Adjust your schedule

Effective communication is the key to happy work life. Happy professionals are always one step ahead in maintaining and following a flexible schedule.

Prolonged working hours without breaks can take a toll on the brain and bring us down, thereby making way for unproductivity and distress.

Tip: We have a selection of the best online calendars to help you with the planning of your daily activities


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So, how can you build a happy and productive workforce?

A hot topic for HR and Business chats lately, the difference between engagement and happiness has stirred up many opinions.

Separately, the two concepts are different; together, they form a happy and productive workforce.

A. Employee engagement depends on the employer

Organizational leaders are the most powerful influencers of the company culture. They set the tone for everyone – if the leaders prioritize engagement, the rest of the organization will follow.

HR puts the employee engagement strategy into action and ensures everything runs smoothly.

Managers are responsible for implementing the engagement initiatives determined by leadership and HR.

Employee engagement describes the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels toward their job. Engaged employees care about their work and the company's performance and perceive that their efforts make a difference.

B. Employee happiness depends on the employee

Employee happiness is an intrinsic state of being. Only you can make yourself happy or unhappy in response to different stimuli.

As Abraham Lincoln puts it, most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

It takes a high degree of self-awareness and self-control to control your reaction, but that is how your brain works. You will still experience strong negative or consuming emotions, but the experience outcome and how you deal with it decide your happiness.

Final Words about Employees' Happiness

There are many more ways through which companies can make their employees happy. The growth of any company depends upon the employees of that company. If the employees are happy, they become more creative and give maximum contribution toward their work. At last, the key to increasing productivity is the happiness of employees.

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