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What Impacts Employee Happiness in 2021?

Businesses that prioritize employee happiness tend to thrive in their market and perform better than those that devalue employeeshappiness.

Photo Courtesy of Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

While many companies aim to increase employee satisfaction, its sometimes more common for companies to prioritize increasing their profit. However, some research suggests that employee satisfaction can lead to increased profits and business success. So should companies focus more on employee happiness?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been shifts in the workplace that cannot go unnoticed. Employee health and safety became a top priority for upper management as the deadly virus spread worldwide.

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However, something often overlooked is the general happiness and mental well-being of employees. Businesses must consider these factors when fostering good company culture. Here are some of the variables that are contributing to employee happiness in the workplace in 2021.

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1. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Its no secret that the global pandemic uprooted so many peoples lives and livelihoods and continues to impact employees across all industries.

Entering the workplace became unsafe for many employees, especially if they were at risk of contracting the virus or had underlying conditions. Much of the future remains uncertain, mainly due to the variants emerging. Its crucial to acknowledge the pandemics positive and negative effects on employee satisfaction. Gender, age, inequality and low income levels all play a role in employee happiness and will continue to do so.

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2. Health Coverage and Other Benefits

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), almost 28 percent of employees said they’d like access to onsite medical benefits, while only 22 percent of employers provide it. This is just one way employers can ensure employee satisfaction. Health remains a priority for employees—they want to feel secure knowing theyre covered in the event of a medical issue or even just routine checkups.

An employees benefits package can heavily impact their happiness. Suppose they have low-quality healthcare options and lack other valuable benefits. In that case, theyll likely feel more unhappy and less engaged in their position. Be sure to provide employees with high-quality healthcare plans to ensure theyre happy and their medical expenses are covered, whether you use self-insurance or traditional forms of insurance.

3. Work Location

The pandemic is still affecting employees and their happiness today. Research by McKinsey shows that remote workers are doing quite well—they have a strong sense of well-being and feel more engaged. In addition, employees who are parents also feel they have more flexibility with managing childcare and their daily work activities.

An employees work location can impact their work-life balance, which in turn affects employee happiness. If an employee spends extended amounts of time commuting to work, it can negatively affect their productivity in the workplace and lead to feelings of fatigue or stress.

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4. Feelings of Engagement

When an employee feels engaged in work, the benefits are plenty. One of the main benefits of being engaged is that employees feel more productive. Employees who feel engaged tend to perform better than those who feel unengaged and out of touch with their companys mission.

Employee engagement can vary depending on the industry and position an employee is in. Engagement can range from feelings of apathy to feelings of positive engagement. Prioritize positive employee engagement within the company by rewarding top achievers with tangible items, for example. Another example of how to prioritize employee engagement is to survey employees and give them the opportunity to voice their opinions.

5. Feelings of Recognition

Its vital for upper management and leadership within a company to recognize their employees for a job well done. When employees feel heard, seen and appreciated, they will likely be happier in their position.

Recognition can come in many forms, whether that’s a bonus, a perk or simply a pat on the back. Recognizing employees will prove beneficial for the whole company and help contribute to positive company culture, which also impacts general employee morale.

6. Company Culture and Opportunities for Advancement

Evidence suggests that 74 percent of employees in the U.S. and UK value company culture, and 58 percent of employees would take one job that has good company culture over another that does not.

To retain top talent and keep employees happy in their roles, its crucial to foster a culture of acceptance, diversity and inclusion. These are only a few characteristics that make up a solid company culture. Still, they can be standout features depending on the industry a company serves.

For employees to feel motivated, its also essential to offer them opportunities for advancement. When employees stay in one position for a long period, it can become monotonous and repetitive—be sure to encourage them to apply for new positions, whether that’s a promotion or a lateral position change. This can help them feel rejuvenated and ready to take on new responsibilities. They may be much happier in the new role as a result.

While these are only a handful of the factors that impact employee happiness, its important to consider them. Improving employee morale is something all business owners and executives should aim to do, regardless of industry.

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Keeping Employees Happy in 2021

When executives and business owners can identify what factors make employees happy, they can find innovative ways to ensure employees are receiving what they need to be satisfied and successful. As a result, businesses tend to thrive in their market and perform better than those that devalue employeeshappiness.

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