In an ideal world, every worker wants to love what they do, or, at the very least, look forward to coming into work every day. While finding happiness at work is a personal goal that many people have, ensuring employee happiness is a goal that many companies should have as well. And not just out of the kindness of their hearts – the reality is that happy employees are also good for the bottom line.
The benefits of having an engaged and happy workforce speak for themselves. Companies with highly engaged employees can earn 2.5 times the revenue of competitors with low engagement, and these engaged workers are also 87% less likely to leave the company. The cost savings from the reduction in turnover alone are dramatic – estimates of the costs vary, from 30-50% of the annual salary to replace an entry-level employee, 150% for middle-level employees, and even up to 400% for high-level employees.
Happy and engaged employees are more likely to be productive and collaborative with their coworkers. They’re also likely to help your hiring efforts by spreading the word about your company culture, either on review sites like Glassdoor or by referring great candidates from their own networks. Keeping your employees happy helps them get more work done and also helps the company hire more great people to join the team.
But how can an organization actually facilitate and inspire employee happiness?
Look beyond the superficial perks like beanbag chairs and ping pong tables. The perks and benefits that really matter are those that genuinely enrich your staff’s ability to enjoy not just their time at work but their time outside of work as well. Things like ample vacation time, flexible work options, generous parental leave policies, and health and wellness benefits demonstrate to people that you see the value in their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. (Not to say that ping pong tables don’t have their place in creating joy.)
Another thing to remember: happiness does NOT equal money. According to the Muse, 89% of employers assume that workers leave to make more money, but in reality, just 12% leave for more money. While money plays a huge role in how valued an employee feels in their role, it is by no means the only factor for determining how happy someone is at work. Nor should money be used as a band-aid to cover up a less-than-happy work environment.
Some companies may look at many of these suggestions and think, “wow, that sounds expensive.” And ultimately a lot of the perks that make employees happy do have a price tag, but the cost is an investment against other more expensive consequences, like high turnover, low productivity, or an inability to recruit great talent. It’s up to individual organizations to weigh the pros and cons of investing in employee happiness.