4 Ways to Invest in Employee Happiness

This year's Workplace Index provided a great deal of insight into today's workplaces and what is driving employees—and keeping them happy.

The recent Workplace Index provided a great deal of insight into today's workplaces and what is driving employees. Some facts—like the persistence of longer work weeks and the prevalence of burnout—are consistent from last year's findings, and so not a surprise… but they are a concern for business leaders. With talent acquisition and retention a big priority for many businesses, employee happiness is a hot topic. So what can employers do to help make employees happier at work?

Not shockingly, the top result for how to make employees happier was increased salary, followed closely by "improve morale." But the list had some surprises on it, giving employers and business leaders a lot of opportunities to invest in their employees' happiness.

Recognize your employees' accomplishments. Nearly half of workers said that recognition of their accomplishments would improve their on-the-job happiness. And since employee recognition programs can range from the simple (a personalized card or thank-you note) to the celebratory (a reception or office party), this simple tactic can be tailored to fit nearly any business budget and goes a long way to making employees feel valued and effective.

Provide more flexibility. 35% of employees rate flexibility as a key factor to improving their happiness with their jobs. The boundaries between work and life are more blurred than ever, and employees are looking for ways to blend the two and get the most done. The proper policies for telecommuting and other kinds of work are a great place to start, but workers need the right tech to work flexibly, as well, with mobile technology and networking a must. Which leads us to…

Invest in tech. With 3 out of 4 employees saying their workplace doesn't have up-to-date technology required to do their work effectively, it's common sense that many of those same employees say that better tech in the office would improve their happiness. Time not spent kicking the obsolete printer or waiting for IT to fix the dinosaur laptop again is time spent getting more done.

Prioritize office design. Even with the rise in telework and workers spending more after-hours time working at home, the fact is that most employees are still spending more than 40 hours a week in the office, and if that space is uninspiring, unattractive and poorly designed, it can have an impact on the morale and productivity of your staff. Workers expressed better office design would make them happier—and with the majority describing their office as "standard, plain and dull," there's a lot of room for growth here.

More than anything, it's important to determine which of these investments best fits in your workplace culture—efforts done without careful thought and planning can go to waste. For more insight about the Workplace Index and how its findings can help you benchmark your own company, visit our Workplace Index site.