Remember the old (and slightly misogynistic) phrase Happy Wife, Happy Life! ? Well, it turns out there is a workplace equivalent: Happy workers, productive business! (and no – we couldn’t make it rhyme).

There’s a strong correlation between happy employees and high employee productivity. In fact, according to Yves Morieux, director for the Boston Consulting Group’s Institute for Organization, happy employees actually create high-performing businesses.

He’s not alone in this thinking. A study by economists at the University of Warwick found the happiness factor at work equates to a 12% lift in productivity. Whereas, unhappy workers are 10% less productive and are more likely to make errors.


Happiness is key to employee productivity

With happy employees such an important part of a thriving, productive workplace, it’s crucial that you root out any major sources of unhappiness. While people leave organisations for any number of reasons, the most common sources of unhappiness at work, are:  

  • Bad bosses
  • Lack of interesting work
  • No opportunities for career development
  • Zero recognition
  • No workplace flexibility

To help you tackle these problem areas, here are 6 simple ways you can support a culture of engagement, and, in doing so, increase employee productivity.

Extra tip: if you’re going to give these a crack, why not do a before and after employee happiness survey to gain a measure of employee happiness and track improvements along the way?

1. Good people management

Most people don’t like being micromanaged. That’s why good managers coach, provide meaningful feedback, and give their people autonomy, all of which makes a big difference to employee happiness and wellbeing. Employees who are given some control over their work, such as managing their own time and making decisions on what they do when tend to have greater job satisfaction.

2. Interesting work

Employees want to enjoy their job. After all, they probably spend close to half of every work day either working, getting ready for work, or travelling to and from work, so they want it to be interesting and diverse.

Of course, the nature of some jobs may not lend themselves to a great deal of variation or diversity, though you can always look for ways to increase challenges for workers. For example, by providing a range of responsibilities you can vary their daily routines.

3. Career development

For most employees, career development is the key to happiness, which makes perfect sense. Keep things interesting for strong employees, and they’re bound to remain engaged. Make sure you and your managers spend some time thinking consciously about how each employee should progress in their careers, and make plans to help them develop new capabilities.

It is also a good idea to educate employees on different types of career paths or job opportunities that are available to them.  A little training and mentoring can easily steer ambitious, talented employees to the next level.

4. Recognition

In one recent study, 7 out of 10 employees who received appreciation for their good work said they’re happy with their jobs. Compare this to those employees who hadn’t received recognition, where only 39% (or less than 4 in 10) said they were satisfied.

Recognising the contributions employees make is hardly rocket science. But don’t forget, this is not just about a fair day’s pay.  Praise and recognition are essential to creating a vibrant culture with happy, productive people.  

5. Flexibility

Offering flexible working arrangements and allowing employees to work from home is on the rise. As a management tool, flexibility delivers a big win/win.


A win for your employees

Working remotely for many people makes for a happier, more enjoyable working life. Giving people more control of their working routines helps them achieve a better work-life balance, which makes them happier.


A win for your business

With happier workers, you’ll have lower absenteeism, lower turnover, and higher levels of employee productivity.

Of course, flexibility also has an important role to play in attraction. In fact, as CPA Australia found in its 2016 study of the work environment, businesses need to offer more than just competitive salaries if they are to attract the best talent. The survey of 680 respondents from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and New Zealand, found that more respondents nominated flexible work arrangements as the most important factor influencing why they would take one job over another.

6. Look at the big picture

As you focus more on employee engagement, it’s important to assess other productivity gaps you may have in your business. For example, if you’re still using paper-based systems and operating your business using manual processes, a shift to cloud technology will also deliver serious employee productivity improvements (think, for example, just about reporting time-saving, not to mention the fact that employee work can be done from anywhere with an Internet connection).

In the case of HR, think about the manual labour required for manual data entry tasks and reconciling timesheets with payroll? Why pay for staff to update spreadsheets for the fortnightly roster when all this work could have been done automatically?

Investing in HR software can save your company – and your employees – countless hours of unproductive time. By embracing cloud technology – including in HR, you’ll improve employee productivity, reduce duplication, and help your business grow.


Free white paper

Remember, as salaries stagnate, introducing alternative ways to reward employees are sure to be a big hit with employees – without it being a big hit to your bottom line. For more ideas, download our free white paper on how to retain and engage your millennial workforce!

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Employment Hero is Australia’s first all-in-one cloud HRIS offering a comprehensive HR software, payroll system, and employee benefits platform in one easy solution. Trusted by Australian businesses, Employment Hero is about making rostering, onboarding, performance management, time tracking, payroll, and award interpretation a snap. Employment Hero’s HRIS also integrates with Xero, MYOB, KeyPay, and Accountright Live. Stop wasting time with spreadsheets, and request a demo today.