Every year, the last week of September is International Week of Happiness at Work: a week in which organizations across the globe reflect on happiness at work. Over the years, happiness at work has increasingly become more important – but the events in the past two years have made it clear that ongoing attention for employee happiness and health should certainly be on every organization’s priority list. We think the right internal communication strategy and a great employee communications platform can help increase employee happiness all year long.
As we stated before, employee happiness isn’t a one-week thing; it’s an ongoing effort that should be a priority to be reckoned with. It isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all effort, but these are some factors that can help increase overall employee happiness.
You might be sick of hearing this, but: measurement matters. As is the case with everything you’re trying to improve, you should know where you’re coming from and how you’re doing along the way. How will you know if your efforts to increase employee happiness have worked when you never bother to ask how your colleagues feel?
Tracking employee happiness should be done by measuring it at regular intervals. This means finding an alternative to the lengthy annual employee engagement survey, which represents merely a snapshot of overall employee well-being.
Pulse surveys, which are shorter and more regular, can provide a better overview of your colleagues’ overall happiness in the organization. If you ask the right questions, pulse surveys provide actionable insights into what’s already done well in your organization and what needs improvement.
These are some examples of pulse survey questions that can uncover employee (un)happiness:
Nobody wants to feel like just another number on the payroll. People want to know they matter and offer a valuable contribution to their team and organization. One way to show employees ‘We see you’ is personalized communications. Research by MetLife shows that especially younger generations such as Gen Z expect personalized communications.
An employee communications platform that offers various communications channels employees can choose from, such as digital signage, screensavers, or a mobile app, is a great start to personalizing your internal communication.
An employee communications platform like Netpresenter allows your employees to select topics and news channels of interest and display their chosen topics alongside organization-wide top-down communication. Organizing your employees into various audience groups will enable you to target only those messages that will be relevant to them. For example, create a separate channel for each department, such as sales, IT, or marketing, and show messages that are relevant only to those employees. This will make them feel like you know who they are, what they do, and what is relevant for them to do their job optimally, resulting in a personalized experience. This, in turn, can increase employee happiness.
Often, internal communication is a one-way, top-down street. Employees who have something valuable to say will not always get the chance to do so. This can impact employee happiness: employees might think their voice or opinion doesn’t matter when nobody ever asks them how they feel about certain topics.
Employee happiness may increase when employees are given the opportunity to express their opinions on various issues within the organization or when they’re given a chance to propose ideas or improvements spontaneously.
You can give employees a voice and make internal communication a two-way conversation by allowing them to comment and respond to your messages and by surveying them on certain topics or decisions. Additionally, you can start a conversation in Microsoft Teams or Workplace from Facebook and have everyone join the convo and speak their mind. Integrating Teams or Workplace with digital signage to show them on every screen in the organization will keep them top of mind and allow everyone to see the hot topic, including those without access to a PC.
Giving your employees a voice can result in improvements based on employee insights, which means you’re actually improving what employees want to see improved, adding to their happiness at work.
Since the start of the COVID-pandemic, employees have been reconsidering the purpose of life and the kind of work they do, according to a McKinsey survey. Seventy percent of surveyed employees said that their work defines their sense of purpose.
Having a sense of purpose has become more important to employees. Therefore, helping them find their purpose and helping them live it is a very important factor to increase employee happiness. Employees want to be part of a solution to today’s various issues. They want to feel like they are part of a greater good.
Communication professionals can strengthen employees’ sense of purpose by collaborating with leadership to define a mission statement. Communicating this across the organization with a multichannel employee communications platform will ensure that employees see your organization’s empowering mission statement. If it’s a statement with which they are in agreement (which it probably is, as they’re working for your organization), it will contribute to their sense of purpose and their happiness at work. After all, people find meaning when they see a clear connection between what they highly value and what they spend time doing.
The same can be done with the organization’s Corporate Social Responsibility milestones: communicate them through various channels across the organization to highlight how the organization helps make the world a better place.
Our customer Barenbrug forms a great example of how it’s done: “When we share achievements, I notice it gives our colleagues a sense of pride in their organization. They talk about the achievements we share. A great example is the ‘Helping with Hands’ foundation, founded by the Barenbrug family. With this foundation, every employee can choose one day a year to do volunteer work on a project of their choice. We always share these projects. It’s the ultimate illustration of the Barenbrug family feeling!”