Skip to content Skip to footer
Group of colleagues chatting

6 ways to increase employee happiness

How important is job satisfaction?

According to a recent YouGov poll, only 17% of Brits love their job, and more than half of UK employees class themselves as ‘unhappy’ at work (according to Personal Group). Research also shows that happy employees will stay with their employers 7 times longer than unhappy employees, with dissatisfied workers wasting an average of £2,732 per person in recruitment costs.

Workload, finances, and office culture remain key factors contributing to increased workplace stress. Our own research in the Mental Health Report shows that 64% of employees attribute their mental health decline to work, an increase from 2020.

But what is the root cause of low employee morale and how can it be fixed? The answer isn’t necessarily to throw money at the problem. While a salary bump might temporarily boost moods, long-term cultural shifts and making your employees feel valued will bring about significant change. UK workers have said they’re willing to take a 10% pay cut for ‘above average’ happiness.  Here are some actionable steps you can take towards creating a happier workforce today.

How employers can increase job satisfaction

Here are some actionable steps you can take towards creating a happier workforce today.

1. Be prepared to listen and change

Workload pressure – including tight deadlines, too much responsibility and lack of managerial support – has been the cause for workplace stress, says 76% of employees. It’s quite possible that the management of these disgruntled employees aren’t even aware of the issues, particularly if there is a culture of silence surrounding the topic.

So how about actively encouraging employee feedback and, where appropriate, implementing meaningful change? You could set up a working group of different representatives from across the business, as a channel for employees to share their thoughts. If employees don’t currently have the confidence to speak up, you could start with an anonymous suggestion box. It's important to take the feedback on board, and really act on it - otherwise employees will lose faith in the exercise. Once the employees recognise their opinion matters – and start to see relevant change – they will feel more valued.

2. Prioritise work-life balance

With the rise of financial worries, there is more pressure to work harder than ever before and this has affected the mental health of 41% of employees and the work performance of 29% of them.

On the other hand, people who are happy at work tend to enjoy life more and have better health, stronger relationships and a greater sense of purpose – which has a huge positive impact on the organisations they work for. Research shows that happy workers are 13% more productive, could increase sales by up to 37% and take 10 times less sick leave than their unhappy counterparts.

So, if the nature of the business requires staff to be present for certain hours, make sure they're encouraged to leave on time or offer flexible working hours. A good work-life balance is top priority for many employees, with a third of them considering it crucial when looking for a job, and 41% of employees seek flexibility to be able to maintain it. Plus, research shows that work life balance tops the list when it comes to employee happiness.

3. Demonstrate career progression

A fifth of UK workers have been seen to leave their jobs due to lack of career progression. Nobody likes to feel stuck, under-stimulated and bored. Establishing a clear career pathway for each employee is one way to solve this problem. The employee is no longer disenfranchised and the company gets a more skilled workforce. Win-win.

Why not encourage all management to discuss with their team the options for growth and development within the business. Determine which avenues they’re interested in and devise a plan together. Traditional training can be expensive, but it’s not the only valuable form of upskilling. You could also discuss job shadowing, getting a mentor or perhaps moving laterally within the company to broaden their experience.

4. Encourage a culture of positivity

Our Mental Health Report revealed that 32% of employees attribute mental health deterioration to poor workplace culture. Psychologist Shawn Achor suggests implementing the following changes for 21 days - enough time to rewire your brain to a more optimistic setting:

  • List 3 things you’re grateful for every day

  • Write about 1 positive experience you’ve had in the last 24 hours

  • Daily bursts of exercise

  • Meditate on daily basis to focus your mind

  • Undertake random acts of kindness praising or thanking someone in your social network

5. Expressing gratitude and appreciation

When employees feel appreciated and valued for their contributions, it creates a positive work environment. It fosters a sense of belonging, boosts morale, and strengthens relationships among team members. It also enhances job satisfaction and increases motivation, leading to improved productivity and engagement.

A survey by Glassdoor revealed that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they would feel better about themselves and their efforts if their work was recognised. It’s a simple gesture, but it goes a long way!

6. Offer benefits beyond the basics

A quarter of employees said that they aren’t satisfied with the benefits that they receive from their employer.

There are a number of ways you can support your employees that’ll make them feel valued and cared for beyond just a salary increase. Insurance policies which protect themselves and their loved ones top the list for attractive benefits. Offering things like gym memberships or health & wellbeing benefits such as healthcare, make employees feel like you’re going that extra mile to take care of them and their families.


Our business healthcare

Benenden Healthcare for Business provides an affordable, high quality, private healthcare solution to support all your employees. With easy setup and no exclusions on pre-existing medical conditions, we want to help make healthcare a standard of employment for everyone, rather than just a perk for the few. See how we can help you develop a healthcare solution that works for your whole business.

Got a question and want to know more? Call us FREE on 0808 304 0940.