What’s your employee happiness quotient?

group of happy employees

We work in a KPI driven work environment. It’s justifiable if employee happiness be measured as a KPI. Most organizations measure employee satisfaction. I believe only a handful measure employee happiness. Yes, satisfaction is not the same as happiness. Do you measure employee happiness quotient?

I would place job satisfaction as a subset of happiness at work.

Job satisfaction is a subset of employee happiness
Job Satisfaction vs Happiness

You cannot be happy at work if you are not satisfied. The vice-versa is not true. You could be satisfied with your work and role but may be far from being happy.

Job satisfaction is a reflection of an employee’s self-motivation at work. Do employees feel valued at work? Is there job stability, career growth, transparency and a comfortable work-life balance?

Happiness is more vague. It is a state of mind. Being happy at work is beyond monetary rewards and growth options. It is a more comprehensive measure of an individual’s overall state of mind – energy level, positivity, job satisfaction, coworkers, commitment to the company’s vision and mission, recognition. Happiness is an emotion.

employee happiness comic strip
Source: Dilbert.com

I am going to ask a silly question, so please indulge me for a moment.

Why is employee happiness important?

Let me quote Andrew Carnegie –  “There is little success where there is little laughter.

Employee Happiness Statistics (Source: Snacknation):

  • Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%
  • Happy employees are 12% more productive
  • Happy sales people produce 37% greater sales
  • Employees who report being happy at work take 10X fewer sick days than unhappy employees

I am sure we do not need statistics to create happy workplaces. However these stats underline the benefits of a happy work environment – greater collaboration, more fun, more success.

Can we measure happiness at work? Can happiness be measured as a KPI?

The answer is not a straightforward “Yes”. But yes, we can create a happiness index or employee happiness quotient to assign numerical values to individual, team and overall company happiness.

Raymond D Zinn (Ray Zinn), author of Tough Things First and co-founder of semiconductor company Micrel suggests scoring “Employee recognition, supervisors, the work and the company” on a scale of one to ten. He says “If the sum of those scores doesn’t rise above 28, then you have an employee with just enough demotivation to not care about their work, or to find work elsewhere.”

Ray’s formula to measure employee happiness consists of the following 4 elements.

Formula for employee happiness quotient by Ray Zinn
Ray Zinn’s formula to measure Employee Happiness

Similar to Ray’s happiness index, every organization can devise a formula consisting of elements that make employees happy: recognition, appreciation, clarity on goals, clarity on job role, tools to excel at work, engagement, feedback, skill development, rewards, fun at work, flexibility, growth options to list a few.

Once you zero down on the elements, create a mechanism to score each employee. The scoring should be a mix of employee survey and feedback from supervisors, co-workers and HR.

Measuring Employee Happiness Quotient

employee happiness index
Elements contributing to happiness at work

Creating a happy work environment is about intent and consistency. Plan, implement and ensure the initiative does not lose steam in a few weeks or months.

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. — Benjamin Desraeli

By Nitesh Verma

Founder - Business Management Blog. I am an independent business strategy consultant, helping companies take data driven business decisions. My mission is to find and implement simple solutions for complex business problems.


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