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How To Measure Employee Happiness & Identify Unhappiness

By Carly MacLennan
Illustration of Carl the yeti standing next to and pointing at a chart trending upwards.

Happiness...how in the world can you measure something that is so intangible?! Well, we think that happiness can and should be measured. At work , it’s fair to say that an employee is responsible for at least some degree of their own happiness — whether it’s adopting a positive attitude, or making sure that they’re not undermining the great days other people are having!

With that said, employers should do things to provide an environment where employees can thrive and happiness is a familiar feeling. Some of these are legal obligations — a safe working environment, for example — while others are inherently more case-by-case. An initiative that could boost employee morale in one workplace might be completely disastrous in another! So make sure whatever you do fits the needs of your company and your employees.

image with text - Happy employees make it a million times easier to attract the kind of talent you want!

But this illustrates why measuring employee happiness and identifying unhappy employees are key concerns for the modern HR professional. It’s part of a larger skill set for maintaining a positive workplace culture. Happy employees are more invested in their work, are more likely to stay, and are ambassadors for your business. And, in the long run, happy employees make it a million times easier to attract the kind of talent you want!

So...let’s take a look at how to measure employee happiness and some of the ways you can incorporate it into your workplace more effectively.

Measuring employee happiness in your organization

Before you start measuring happiness, it’s important to know what your metrics are, so that you can really zero in on the kind of culture you want to create! What employee happiness looks like really varies; you might find that industry, the number of employees you have, and other factors can really impact what that looks like for you. But, no matter where you work or what you do, here are a few standard questions you should ask yourself:

  • What is your employee turnover like?
  • Do employees feel comfortable sharing honest and open feedback with their superiors?
  • How is employee morale?
  • Does your team feel connected?
  • Do employees feel secure in their roles?
  • What are departing employees telling you during exit interviews?
  • What is the online sentiment surrounding your company? (e.g. Google Reviews/Glassdoor/social media)
  • Do you have trouble recruiting new employees?

None of these are necessarily life-or-death indicators for your business, of course — there can be mitigating circumstances around just about any of them. But if you have consistent problems across a number of these areas, it’s definitely worth reassessing your company’s approach to employee happiness.

This is where HR and employee engagement software can be a super effective tool! Word of mouth and employee/manager discussions can help you kind of get an idea about how happy your employees are — but it shouldn’t be your be-all-end-all for employee sentiment.

So, when you’re looking for software to help solve this problem, here are a few things you should consider!

1. Workflow integration

It’s best if your new tool can be integrated into everyday work, so that it’s not a chore to start using. Companies that rely on a million separate programs might see employee resentment and frustration, rather than meaningful feedback and engagement. So make sure you choose a tool that integrates well with your day-to-day workflow.

2. Anonymous feedback

image with text - Anonymous feedback is a really great way to give your employees an outlet.

If you really want to get a good idea about how happy your employees are, you have to get a lot of input! Anonymous feedback is a really great way to give your employees an outlet to talk about what they think needs improvement without feeling like they could get in trouble and gives your company a really great look into what your employees are actually thinking and feeling. It’s a win-win!

Provide an effective outlet

Even if you have a relatively happy, positive workplace, you probably still have employees who are managing their own mental health difficulties or are living through a tough situation. The data you’re gathering needs to go beyond simple yes/no binaries and look at qualitative data, too.

Whatever your chosen solution, the responses you gather are going to give you the data you need to have more informed conversations with your management team. You’ll be able to make the right decisions and prioritize employee happiness.

Keep in mind that there are long-term business consequences if you’re not concerned about employee sentiment. It can (and probably will) affect your retention rates, ability to hire in the future, and overall engagement. So investing in employee happiness now will pay out big time in the long run!

Discover how to better measure employee happiness with Motivosity

Looking to learn more about how you can measure employee happiness in your workplace? Why not start with our selection of wellbeing resources — and then, when you’re ready to have a chat, get in touch with the team here at Motivosity.

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