Happiness and Engagement at the Workplace

There’s a healthy discussion between proponents of employee engagement and advocates of employee happiness. Companies are looking inward while trying to determine which of these should be prioritized. You might find the answer below.

We agree with most that both employee happiness and engagement are different. It’s a mistake to believe that they are one and the same. Do they affect productivity? Can one exist without the other? These are just a couple of the many questions organizations are taking seriously.

When we searched for the definition of employee engagement, the top result is this – the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization and put discretionary effort into their work.

We searched for employee happiness but didn’t find one definition we were comfortable with. So, we had to ask ourselves how we would define a happy employee. We settled on one meaning with help from Oxford’s English Dictionary’s definition of “happy.”

For us, employee happiness is the state of pleasure or contentment felt by individuals at the workplace. In other words, we feel happy at work if we feel good about our jobs. The question is whether we are satisfied, happy or elated?

Productivity and Employee Engagement

According to a Gallup Organization study, companies that promote engagement experience a 22% increase in productivity. These organizations suffer less absenteeism and turnover. Highly engaged employees have a better understanding of their role and how their work affects the overall picture. Also, they care more for their organization and colleagues.

Communication is the key to improving employee engagement which, by the way, isn’t achieved with memos, e-mails, and newsletters alone. Although these can help, leaders and supervisors need to talk to their subordinates more often.

Verbal communication is more effective in sharing goals, concerns, and decisions. Feedback is instant and employees are more inclined to participate in a discussion. It doesn’t have to be in a formal setting. Leaders have been known to discuss ideas with employees at more relaxed venues like bars and restaurants.

Happiness at Work

Winning the lottery will make you exultant despite having to report to a boss you can’t stand. This doesn’t exactly make you happy at work. It’s the workplace conditions, including benefits and compensation, which will determine the degree of employee happiness. Our personal lives have no real bearing on our satisfaction at work. On the other hand, unhappiness at the workplace can drive us to look for jobs elsewhere.

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