By Mike Jones, Better Happy Founder
The happiness levels of employees are becoming increasingly important in all businesses.
Those that grasp this early and can track it will lead their industries, and those that stick their heads in the sand will struggle and disappear.
Businesses are busy places and there's always too much to be done. Just a few short decades ago employee happiness - though arguably still important - wasn't important enough to be on business leaders' agendas.
Why is this the case?
Because in our not-so-distant past the working/business landscape looked very different:
- Mass unemployment was a problem
- Quality of life was much lower than today
- Poverty was still widespread throughout the UK
- Most jobs were repetitive manual labour
Although many of us believed technology and the internet would lead to humans not having jobs, the opposite has been true. In 2022 the BBC reported that for the first time since records began there were more job vacancies available than unemployed people.
What does this have to do with the rising importance of employee happiness?
Employees are less likely to apply for or stay in jobs that don't make them happy when they aren't worried about poverty and have a wide range of job options available to them.
So there's a clear employee turnover/recruitment challenge associated with employee happiness - something most companies are battling within 2022.
But there's another equally if not a more important issue associated with employee happiness.
Businesses of the past changed slowly. Thanks to the internet businesses now change rapidly and compete in a global market. A business of today has to be rapidly agile, it needs to predict market trends and constantly innovate to stay relevant. A team of unhappy people can complete repetitive manual tasks no problem. A team of unhappy people cannot collaborate and innovate.
In summary, a business that can support employee happiness will attract and retain people that grow the business through innovation.
A business that can't support employee happiness will suffer high employee turnover, recruitment issues and low productivity.
A widely accepted piece of wisdom in the business world is to 'measure what matters'. So how can we measure happiness among our people?
At Better Happy, we have developed an organisation/team happiness report we advise companies to run 2-4 times per year.
This report has been designed to not only assess employee happiness but also provide an organisation with clear direction on how it can improve. Over time the report helps an organisation see how when they improve A (an area of support or training) there is an improvement in B (overall employee happiness). Businesses can then correlate this data along other metrics such as recruitment, retention, productivity, absence rates, productivity and profitability to make justifying their focus on employee happiness easy.
Below is a breakdown of the report:
This score is based on three overarching themes key to our methodology at Better Happy.
How healthy does a person feel overall?
How energised does a person feel by their work overall?
How satisfied is a person with their work-life balance?
We can of course debate back and forth for years on what is the perfect measurement for happiness making many valid points along the way. We might want to argue that there are key things that should be included in this measurement that aren't, such as personal relationships and financial health etc. But complexity is the enemy of execution.
If a person rates themselves high in their overall health (Including mental health), feeling energised by their work and work-life balance we think it's safe to assume they are pretty happy.
Ultimately a business cannot make an employee happy, only an employee can do that. But a business has a significant influence on the happiness levels of its employees. Therefore our happiness competence score is an assessment of how well the business is doing what is within its power, supporting its people to be happy.
For this, we assess a measurement of competence across the Better Happy Happiness H.E.L.P.S model.
The areas of the HELPS model are:
Health - are employees supported with health at work
Engagement - are employees supported to be motivated at work
Leadership - are leadership promoting health and happiness
Performance - are employees supported to do a great job without sacrificing work-life balance
Strategy - is the business supporting health and happiness by making it a strategic priority
Each one of these areas is scored from a combination of subquestions.
This section is important and unique. It's important because instead of just measuring happiness or engagement, it provides a business with an idea of how well it is doing its part to support happiness. After businesses have put effort in to support managers and employees in happiness, they can identify and celebrate that improvement through this section.
It's also good for employees to see because it demonstrates the effort the company is putting in to support them even when they might not be feeling happy due to circumstances outside of the business's control.
e-NPS and Intention To Stay Within 12 Months
These are what we might refer to as the more traditional methods of measuring employee engagement/motivation/happiness.
Of course, it makes sense to measure these because these are some of the key areas any business would like to improve. We want our people to stick around for longer and to speak positively about us.
The problem I find is that many businesses - big and small - use these one or two soul metrics as a form of measurement. That's akin to taking your car to a mechanic because it's broken down, then plugging it into the diagnostics machine and after 10 minutes it telling you - 'yes, it's not working'. We need to use metrics to develop insight into the root causes as opposed to just measuring the issues.
Again what we like to see here is that by improving happiness and happiness competence we improve these two numbers.
It doesn't matter how good bricks are or how well they are laid, they will crumble if they're not laid upon strong foundations.
There are some basic underlying principles a business must provide to enable healthy, happy employees that enable its growth.
Without these foundations in place effort in other areas will be wasted. Measuring employee satisfaction in the foundations is therefore any business starting point.
Some areas of the foundation scores can improve with support from outside agencies whereas others cannot.
For this reason at Better Happy, we study the foundation scores of a business and work with leadership teams before delivering any training or support to employees.
Happy Manager Score
This is the same as the happiness score but just representative of your managers.
If a manager is disengaged their teams are 3 x more likely to be disengaged.
If a manager is unhappy, chances are their teams are at least 3 x more likely to be unhappy.
In a more positive light, if a manager is generally happy the impacts of that throughout your organisation are going to be positively exponential.
Supporting managers/people leaders to be happy is one of the most important but overlooked areas in modern businesses.
Each component of the Better Happy Happiness HELPS model is made up of around 4 subcomponents.
Questioning your people on these subcomponents enables us to create accurate overall scores and also establish the most impactful areas of improvement for your business.
Happy Manager Ratings
Finally, we ask employees to rate their managers on 5 key areas a manager needs to support happy employees. It amazes me how many managers we have throughout our businesses yet how few are taught how to be managers...
I believe this is because, nationwide, we're still only just opening our eyes to the fact that the skills a manager needed 20 years ago are obsolete today. We've covered in detail how supporting happiness has become a top priority for businesses. The same is true for managers. Supporting their teams' happiness is now a top priority. How can they do that if they aren't taught how? How can they do that if they don't have any framework to measure against?
I believe these 5 questions do that exceptionally well.
It's natural for managers to feel apprehensive about this feature but it's a fantastic tool for personal and professional growth that will ultimately lead to both happier managers and employees.
Would you like a happiness report for your team or organisation?
Take just two minutes to take our free Better Happy Happiness HELPS quiz below then request a call with us to discuss further.
If you prefer you can jump to booking a call here or drop us an email enquiry here.
Mike Jones Better Happy Founder
Mike founded Better Happy in 2018.
He now works with a variety of businesses ranging from small accountancies up to large organisations such as Travelodge on improving employee happiness. Mike's vision and the vision of Better Happy is 'Every employee happy, every business thriving'
Want to find out how to make your employees happier?
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