What Responsibility Do Companies Have Towards Employee Happiness?


When you’re a business on the rise, it can sometimes be easy to get so wrapped up in profits and sales figures that you unintentionally lose focus on those who made it possible: your employees.

Talent retention is a hot topic for businesses of any size, whether you’re Google or an independent coffee shop. High staff turnover is expensive, time-consuming, and makes for a bad atmosphere all round.

What are the main reasons for an employee leaving a company in the first place?

  • Below standard wages and benefits
  • Bad work environment
  • No flexibility in working times and no option for remote work
  • No room for growth
  • Frustration with management

It’s easy to think that a pay rise is the simplest way to assuage dissatisfied employees, and while this can work in many cases, a recent study by Fidelity Investments found that money was not the be-all-end-all factor for keeping people happy. It was discovered that 49 percent of Millennials (those born between the early 80s and mid 90s) were “either actively looking, or open to a new opportunity” and that if they did receive things like improved career development, purposeful work, better work/life balance and company culture, then they would be “willing to take a $7,600 pay cut” on average. 58 percent said that when evaluating a new offer, they would choose an enhanced quality of work life rather than financial benefits.

On the whole, experts agree that a ‘career pathway’ is hugely important for employees to feel like their current work has some meaning and there’s an exciting future available. Maria Kraimer, business professor at the University of Iowa, said: “It’s critical for businesses to have regular career planning discussions with their employees. As part of training and development, make sure employees are aware of the different types of career paths or job opportunities throughout the company.”

Pulling this off satisfactorily is easier said than done, especially with a large number of employees. However, using dedicated HR software – Talentsoft is a good example – can help businesses streamline the process of managing talent. Among other functions, these programs allow you to centrally manage employee performance targets, new goals, and training plans, as well as provide the means to share expertise among other colleagues.

Good HR software is a positive start, but it also comes down to companies really returning to a base level and recognizing and rewarding employees for their work. Acknowledgement is one of the highest motivators for employees, so says Jakki Liberman, president of Bumkins, who says: “Happy employees make for a happy company. Within the office, we’ll publicly acknowledge accomplishments, provide a group lunch, reserve a prime parking space, or change a title. We’ll also help employees to grow and develop, whether by taking on new desired responsibilities or challenges, taking courses to learn new skills, or furthering knowledge of the company by traveling on company business trips.”

Thinking outside of work hours is not to be underestimated either. A company that regularly hosts staff events – such as monthly drinks, fun runs, language exchanges, charity work opportunities – is much more likely to have a better reputation among its employees. Many of these incentives are under the umbrella of being a good boss, because adjustments always have to start at the top and work themselves down. Change has to start somewhere, and it can start today.

About the Author Staff Writer

Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.

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