8 Tips on Boosting Employee Happiness Culture

This post was written by Serena Dorf

Employers often mistake employee happiness for employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is a rather simple concept. It’s the extent to which the workers are content with their jobs. It’s based on precise factors, such as proper workload and compensation, flexibility, potential for growth, teamwork, perceptions of management, and more. The employers work on these factors, so they can keep their workers satisfied and productive.

But happiness is something you cannot measure. It’s mainly dependent on the workplace culture. It’s that factor that makes people glad to work for this particular organization. It’s not because they are getting proper compensation and a reasonable workload. It’s that extra oomph that keeps them joyful.

8 Tips: How to Boost Employee Happiness

1. Have A Person Responsible for Happiness

Google got it right. This company is known for the commitment to make its employees happy. Appointing Chade-Meng Tan, an engineer, as the head of personal growth was a practical step towards promoting happiness culture. Meng, as he’s informally known, was Google’s Jolly Good Fellow.

When you listen to his TED talk, Everyday compassion at Google, you’ll realize how this organization took employee satisfaction to the next level.

2. Accept Initiatives from the Bottom

“Google is a company born of idealism. It’s a company that thrives on idealism. And maybe because of that, compassion is organic and widespread company-wide,” - said Chade-Meng Tan in his TED talk. “In Google, expressions of corporate compassion almost always follow the same pattern. It’s sort of a funny pattern. It starts with a small group of Googlers taking the initiative to do something. And they don’t usually ask for permission; they just go ahead and do it, and then other Googlers join in, and it just gets bigger and bigger. And sometimes it gets big enough to become official. So in other words, it almost always starts from the bottom up.”

That’s what employee happiness culture is all about – accepting ideas and initiatives from the bottom and implementing them in the company’s culture.

3. Lead by Example

Would you be happy with the kind of responsibilities your workers are dealing with? A leader doesn’t just show up in the office to give instructions. They take their huge share of responsibility and work.

As an example, the team leaders at EssayOnTime, a writing service, continue working for clients just as their team members do. They don’t just take orders and delegate. They take part of that workload and contribute just like everyone else does. In addition, they are there to help with the projects of their team members, plan the timelines, and observe the processes to ensure client satisfaction. The leader is doing more work than the average team member, but they still maintain optimistic attitude towards it.

When the workers see a devoted leader or employer, they can see the opportunities in every task they get.  

4. Celebrate Culture

Remember Google’s lesson about taking initiatives from the bottom and making them official? These can be really small initiatives. For example, let’s say few of your employees always go together at lunch, and others start joining in. You can make this habit part of the company’s culture.

5. Enable Autonomy

Of course your workers will get instructions. Still, it’s important for them to have enough independence and autonomy, so they can get creative. If, for example, you want the marketing team to come up with a social media campaign, you won’t tell them exactly what to do.

You’ll encourage a sense of autonomy by allowing each team member to lead their own part of the campaign. When you allow your employees to work individually, they will still strive towards the harmony imposed by the project.

6. Create Fun Moments

If your employees are buried in emails, numbers, projects, and other tasks every single day, you can’t expect them to be happy. The job should encompass more than just menial tasks.

With the right perks, those menial tasks can be tolerated. Expedia knows what makes its employees happy: traveling. That’s why it provides a whooping $8,000 – $14,000 travel allowance.

If your company is not as powerful and as resourceful as Expedia, no worries! You can find a simpler alternative to fun. How about a relaxed coffee break? A jukebox in the rest area? A disco night? A weekend away for everyone’s family on the company’s account? You can surely think of something!

7. Show You’re Grateful

When someone hands out a report, a “thank you” is mandatory. When you go through that report and it’s good, you need to show your gratitude again. Just write a simple email, saying that everything was fine or you’re looking for minor improvements. Thank the worker for their effort and praise them for a job well done.

When you express your gratitude, the employees will start doing the same. Through your example, you’re encouraging them to find things they are grateful for. Gratitude will lead to higher levels of happiness.

A study from 2014 proved that athletes with higher levels of gratitude towards their coaches also had higher self-esteem. In this situation, you’re the coach. Encourage your employees to find and share what they are grateful for.  

8. Run Employee Happiness Surveys

How do you know if your employees are happy? Just ask them! Run quarterly employee happiness surveys to ask how happy your workers are and what they would like you to change, so they could be happier.

This is a simple technique that guides you to practical steps that boost everyone’s happiness.

Did you get inspired to think about happiness? It’s important not just in our private lives, but in our jobs as well. We spend a huge chunk of our day at the job. If it doesn’t make us happy, what’s the point?  


Serena Dorf is an enthusiastic content writer in Los Angeles. She is thirsty for knowledge and is always on the lookout for amazing writing tips to share with her readers.  In her free time, she is reading classic American literature and learning Swedish. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.