Three professionals at work.

Why Achieving Employee Happiness Should be Your Top Priority

Sophie works in a Fortune 500 company, and recently got promoted. She’s ready for the new challenge, but acknowledges that there are areas where advice from a more experienced colleague would be really helpful.

Darren just joined a remote team. He’s excited about his new job, but has begun to wish that there were other ways to connect with colleagues who are spread across time zones—to get to know them, and to get up to speed faster.

Jasmine has served in an executive role for three years. She feels that she’s been successful in her department, but is eager to make a broader impact in her organization.

These three professionals have one thing in common: they crave connection.

What does this have to do with employee happiness?

It turns out that becoming one of the most sought-after workplaces has little to do with ping pong tables, casual Fridays or complimentary snacks. It’s not about the swag, the fresh office design or the gym membership, either.

Trust is the enabler of personal growth and global business, and it's an element employees are actively seeking in their work environments. Click To Tweet

What are the benefits to cultivating trust and, ultimately, employee happiness?

  • Those who prioritize these areas can expect significant cost savings on costs tied to employee turnover like recruiting, onboarding and knowledge management. According to Gallup database findings, employees who trust leadership are twice as likely to say they’ll remain with their company a year from now. 
  • Perhaps even more interesting is the value of the network on culture. Each of us is limited in the number of people who we can influence, but if we build strong relationships with a group, and they build strong relationships with others—think of a central hub that reaches out farther and farther—we can make an exponential impact on our organizations. 
  • Employees themselves have said they want stronger relationships with their colleagues. Building mechanisms to enable that, either in person or digitally, should be a priority for HR teams and company leaders.

That said, it’s increasingly harder to cultivate. For larger organizations—including those with distributed teams—creating a culture that values and demonstrates trust requires deliberate effort. In large organizations, this is easier said than done. Technology helps, but today’s most popular communication tools lack the ability to allow employees to find others in their organizations who could be valuable resources for them.

What if those connections could easily be found and established?

Sophie, Darren and Jasmine would all be having much more positive and productive experiences at work.

Why? We know that people grow through learning, and growth and employee happiness correlate.

Enabling employees to tap into existing knowledge networks by connecting with peers and supervisors through informal mentor-mentee relationships would naturally be ideal. (Of course, knowing whom to seek advice from matters, though this could be difficult in large organizations.)

While mentoring relationships don’t guarantee employee happiness, they can mitigate some of the biggest roadblocks along the way.

What if leaders could also have a better idea about what matters to employees? (That is, beyond their kids and their cats and their Crossfit habit.) Those with that level of awareness have the ability (and truly, the obligation) to create more meaningful supports for employees in areas where they’d otherwise likely have blindspots.

A system that provides the above could have a broad positive impact across an organization. Such a system could empower employees to find in-house mentors, using advanced technology like machine learning to continually make smart, relevant suggested connections—as a means of building trust with others both within and outside of immediate teams.

One such platform is Emerj, which also helps employers understand the kinds of (anonymized) questions colleagues are asking on a day-to-day basis. It’s a peripheral part of the technology, but an inherently powerful one.

What can follow is the kind of company culture that outlasts gimmicky perks.

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