Why we Need to Stop Trying to Make Employees Happy
With multiple studies at the moment, on how to make employees happy, investigating the general morale at work in Western countries, and regularly discovering that the vast majority of employees feel disengaged, unhappy or somewhat lost – how to make employees happier has forced its way to the forefront of many managers and management media companies.
At first glance, since we spend a third of our day working each day – sometimes more, happiness seems like a good goal, but here’s the problem.
Happiness is vague and fleeting
Whilst there are many inspiring quotes which suggest that working in an industry, you’re passionate means you ‘won’t work a day in your life’, it’s often not true.
Happiness is a vague term to make the end result of a study, and often means something different to everyone.
Most people would agree that a job is a job, whether you love what you do, or you don’t. It can’t always make employees happy.
Pressure to succeed or complete deadlines or achieve the set goals is pressure nonetheless and applicable to all jobs.
Strive instead to deliver value and meaning
You’ll find thousands of articles online and in print about keeping employees happy and retaining staff.
They’ll all tell you the same thing: make sure employees recognise the value of their work.
That means highlighting the company’s values and ensuring staff can relate to them. That means acknowledging and then thanking employees for the work that they do and demonstrating how it is meaningful and contributes to the bigger picture.
How much of an impact can meaningful work have?
In a survey of 12,000 employees, it was discovered that those who found meaning and significance in their work rated job satisfaction nearly two times higher than those who don’t and were 1.4 times more engaged and productive and three times as likely to stay at their current company.
How to make work more meaningful for your employees
There are a few ways to increase meaning in the work that employees do, regardless of industry.
Find what motivates your employees and ensure they have what they want, and they need.
This might be a title that holds prestige for some, a pay rise to others, or more flexible working. Consider time-frame and priorities.
A recent study suggested that most employees would happily take a pay cut to work in a role which ‘mattered more’ or helped in some way.
Acknowledge your employees’ long-term goals rather than offering only immediate happiness.
When it comes to finding happiness through work, it seems that finding meaning and purpose has a knock-on effect and ultimately leads to happiness.
Every single one of us can lead a happier life by identifying and practicing the skills and areas that are meaningful to you.