Happy Employees is Just Better Business: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself

As an HR Manager, you want your recruits to be happy. That is your job, after all.

Plus, happier employees make for a more productive workplace. In fact, happiness amongst employees is a key factor in a company’s success — it’s proven to improve business results up to 30 percent.

But keeping everyone happy is easier said than done. To start, you have to know whether employees are happy or not. Someone might seem perfectly content, but at the end of the work day, they go home and vent all their office-related frustrations to friends or family. Not to mention, every aspect of “happiness” is subjective; it means something a little different to everyone, and the things that make us happy vary from person to person.

To determine what factors truly matter when it comes to satisfaction at work, we took a look at the research and came up with the six metrics that matter most. So, here are the questions to ask when assessing the happiness of employees.

  1. Does she like her direct manager? Even if she absolutely loves the office culture, her coworkers, and the company itself, it’ll be hard for her to be happy if she doesn’t care for the person she reports to. Nobody wants to be seen a mindless piece of equipment that serves solely to support the team in a highly designated capacity — it’s important that all employees are treated as individuals, with their own skills, interests, and aspirations.
  2. Are expectations clear? It’s hard to hit a goal if you don’t know where to aim. An employee should know exactly how he’s being assessed and what his manager expects of him, so he understands exactly what qualifies as progress. This allows him to plan for the future of his career, helping him stay focused, motivated, and work smart.
  3. Do your employees like the work environment? If you’ve ever had a work space that you can’t stand, you know how it affects you: low concentration, low energy, low productivity. Affecting factors can include everything from the in-office social life, to pet friendliness, and beyond. So whether the decor is drab, the temperature is cold, or the room is noisy, it’s important to recognize that even seemingly minor things can influence the way employees feel about the workplace.
  4. Does your company provide a platform for initiatives? Everyone wants the opportunity to be themselves and shape the office culture, even in small ways. Making sure that employees have a say when it comes to day-to-day office life, whether it’s bringing a pet to work or planning an out-of-office meetup can help them feel valued.
  5. Is the work meaningful? Now, this may sound like it only applies at nonprofits or other mission organizations — however, meaning can come from anywhere. While meaning certainly could come from making the world a better place, it could also come from career growth, personal growth, or skill growth.
  6. Are employees fairly compensated? Your employees know what they should be earning — they talk to their friends, search the Internet, and network with peers in the field. Unfair compensation can create resentment, so even if they love what they do, they won’t love who they’re doing it for.
  7. Is your workplace stable? Instability in the workplace can understandably cause a certain anxiety. If your company is regularly restructuring, undergoing rounds of layoffs, or frequently changing company policies, it’s likely impacting your employees’ mental health. When employees are uncertain of their future, it’s tough to focus on their jobs.

Knowing what to ask is the first step to making your workplace everyone’s happy place.

Do you think we missed something? What do you think affects workplace happiness? We want to hear from you 🙂

Mind the Marketing: How Thinking Like a Marketer Can Make You Better at HR

Marketing operates at a company’s core, working hand-in-hand with each and every other department. Its responsibilities are spread across the board — from branding, to customer acquisition, to measurements and future spending projections, to creative content, to communicating with existing customers, and beyond. But when it comes down to it, marketing is all about getting people to keep coming back. It’s not just about drawing in new customers, but about creating lasting relationships.

Similarly, HR starts with getting new recruits in the door, then keeping longtime employees happy. Your people are the backbone of your company — nay, they are your company. They’re what makes it run, what gives it personality, and what gets stuff done. No matter how amazing your product idea maybe, if you can’t keep employees, you can’t make it big.

So, how do you keep your employees happy then? And how do you maximize your recruiting efforts?

In marketing, success is measured by key performance indicators or KPIs. Important KPIs include customer acquisition, as well as customer retention. As it turns out, it’s not so hard to translate these concepts to HR, where we must acquire recruits and retain employees.

And so, there’s a lot that you can learn from marketing about people management. Here’s how you can think like a marketer to recruit the right people and to keep your employees coming into the office excited and engaged.

Data comes first. In marketing, the numbers inform the moves. As a people manager, you can’t get a sense of employee sentiment without looking at the numbers. Consider hard metrics (like job title, seniority, and compensation) along soft measurements (like social interactions, tools and technology, time management, and personal growth goals) to get a well-rounded understanding of an employee’s satisfaction. Then, when you have metrics for your entire company, comb it for trends and patterns.  

Segment your staff. In marketing, segments help sort out the data. Your company is diverse, and everyone is a little bit different. That means that everyone’s motivations are a little bit different. It’s important to get to know your staff and understand what makes each one of them tick. That way, you can tailor motivation methods to any single employee’s job, character, and goals.

Define your DNA. Marketers define their target audience to determine who is most likely to purchase the product. Their audience varies from product to product, and their messaging shifts along with it. In your case, that target audience is the talent pool. When recruiting new employees, first spell out what your company stands for. Ask yourself: Who are we? What is our mission? What are we selling to the employee? By doing this, we’re able to narrow down our talent search and tailor our efforts to target the people who actually want to hear from us.

Measure the ROI of HR-related activities. Much as marketers treat clients to expensive dinners, VIP clubs, gifts, etc., we invest in talent nurturing activities for our employees, like courses, mentoring programs, team building events, and other development-boosting activities. In both cases, we’re aiming to increase engagement — the ROI of HR. But with our employees, we often forget to measure this. Do they increase employee efficiency? Bolster engagement? Improve retention rates? Run the numbers on these types of activities, so you can maximize their impact.

What other marketing lessons would you apply to people management?