Happy Employees: How to Create Them

It’s expensive to train employees but it’s even more so to lose one. Figures don’t lie. Although employee turnover in the US is at a low 1.4 percent, the fact remains that the cost of losing an employee may cost a company 25 to 250 percent of his annual income.

Managers always face the challenge of ensuring that their employees remain productive and happy with their jobs. But how can one tell happy employees from unhappy ones?


4 Signs Employees Need Your Attention

1. An employee usually comes in late or often calls in sick

A happy employee comes to work on time and doesn’t call in sick often. If an employee is satisfied with his job, he doesn’t have any reason for chronic tardiness and absenteeism. But if this pattern suddenly changed in your employee, consider this a warning sign.

Check if your employee has a valid reason like a death in the family or some personal problems. If your staff is regularly giving you flimsy excuses like “I got stuck in traffic” or “I had an errand to do,” he or she might be seeking greener pastures elsewhere. They may be attending job interviews or networking with friends who have job leads.

An unhappy employee may also literally get sick with the mere idea of going to work. Common sicknesses include stress headaches or stomach problems.

2. Your employee takes longer breaks

There’s nothing wrong with occasional lunch-outs and coffee breaks. It’s an effective way for an employee to bond with his office friends and provides a fun respite from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.

But if your employee is spending more time with his coffee and lunch breaks than working, then it’s time to call their attention and see if there’s anything wrong.

3. Your employee is no longer productive or his level of productivity declines

Unhappy employees are notorious clock-watchers. They come in late and they can’t wait to get out of the office. When a staff’s performance starts to decline, a manager must realize that the employee may be unsatisfied with his work. Set a one-on-one meeting with your staff and see where the dissatisfaction is coming from.

If he’s dissatisfied with work, give him the opportunity to work on other projects that he may be interested in. A manager must be able understand the sentiments of his employee so that he can give the proper motivation.

4. Your employee withdraws from others

Happy employees tend to socialize more with their work colleagues. They have a sunny disposition and work well with others. If an employee’s enthusiasm changes, his immediate superior should be concerned. Withdrawal from others can be a signal that an employee is having emotional and/or social problems.

Unhappy employees also have the tendency to be more annoyed or irritated. When the smallest thing annoys your employee, he may resort to raising his voice or pick a fight.

4 Tips for Having Happy Employees


Organizational climate surveys are regularly conducted by large companies to assess the overall satisfaction of their employees.

As a supervisor or a manager, you can also do things to ensure that your staff’s morale is up. Contrary to misconception, monetary rewards are not the solution to happy employees. Sure, these are always appreciated but the most important thing for an employee is to have a sense of pride in his work.

1. Provide Clear Career Path

Employees want to know if they have a future with the company. An employee must be involved in projects that both challenge and excite him. Training and development should also be provided to allow him to learn new things and expand his knowledge.

2. Recognize the Importance of Work Life Balance

A manager must realize that employees are also fathers, mothers, daughters, friends, etc. No employee wants to stay in the office beyond working hours when he can spend that time socializing with his friends or spending time with his family. A manager must be sensitive to time and allow his staff to focus on other things.

3. Appreciate & Recognize

It is man’s nature to seek appreciation and recognition. When your employee does a great job, commend him for a job well done. When he suggests a brilliant idea, make sure he is credited for it. Rewards are also a great boost for employee morale. It can be an additional bonus or something a little simpler like a pizza party.

4. Listen & Give Constructive Criticism

Employees are most happy when they know that their boss listens to them. It gives them self-importance and encourages them to think of more creative and helpful ideas. And when an employee makes a mistake, his manager must not embarrass or criticize him in public.

Satisfied employees make for a productive and effective company. A sympathetic ear, the right motivation and sincerity can do wonders for an employee’s morale.

How do you create happy employees? Got tips that you can share?

Photo by Daniël Silveira

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Rochelle is a Corporate Communication Officer for a major pharmaceutical company in Southeast Asia. She has more than 10 years of experience in Journalism and Corporate Communication work. She loves reading, writing, travelling and blogging.


  1. Real World Group on the 18th May

    It’s great to see further awareness being raised on just how much of a role employers have in regards to effecting their employees’ happyness levels and improving engagement.

    There, are in fact, proven leadership behaviours that can improve not only individual staff members’ positivity and commitment, but an entire oganisation’s culture and climate!

    We’re incredibly passionate about helping others develop these leadership skills, many of which start with such simple and practical advice as that which you’ve provided in this article.

    Our latest Blog article is about getting the best out of ‘Engagement Surveys’ :http://www.realworld-group.com/beyond-engagement-surveys/ We’d be keen to hear readers thoughts!

  2. Dani Kelley on the 18th May

    Agreed with most points, except that happy employees have a sunny disposition and interact a lot with others.

    Even when I’m at my happiest at my job, I’m still an introvert. I like working with people, and I’m good at it – but left to myself, I’ll stay in my cube all day and crank out work, communicating with people via email or phone instead of getting up to walk over to them. Does that mean I’m withdrawn and unhappy? No – quite the contrary. I’m in my element. For me, they key is when my work starts to suffer. I take pride in my work (both design and copywriting) – when I start reusing ideas/concepts that are “safe ideas” and stop coming up with new concepts, then you can bet that I’m unhappy and unfulfilled.

    I think in those sorts of situations, it really helps to actually know your employees. If someone who is usually outgoing and sunny starts keeping to themselves, then yes something’s wrong. Or, more broadly, if someone’s personality seems to change, it’s worth investigating what’s wrong – with an open mind, not by telling the person that they’re being too sensitive or that they need to suck it up and do what’s best for the company.

    • BlaineSch on the 18th May

      Good Point Dani,

      It’s not a one size fits all, but these are common signs. It’s probably easiest when you are on a more familiar relationship with your employees which makes it much easier to tell when something is wrong. A boss who you never talk to and are usually getting in trouble when you see, will probably never know when something is wrong, or you are looking for other work.

  3. S.K. on the 19th May

    Another good article, thanks!

    For startups, collaborative businesses and small companies, it’s especially important to take care and nurture a unique “culture” among your employees. I remember reading an interview with Zappo’s founder on how creating company-unique-culture is the real reason Zappo became what it is today.

  4. Rochelle del Callar on the 20th May

    Thanks, everyone, for your insightful feedbacks. 🙂

    Hi, Dani. I agree with what you said. I have to clarify though that being withdrawn doesn’t necessarily mean being an introvert. The way we communicate tells a lot if an employee is happy or not. An employee who’s used to communicating via email or phone would sound a little crankier or would reply curtly if he’s no longer happy with his job. You’ll hear from his voice or observe in the the way he types words if he’s no longer happy. 🙂

    Hi, Blaine. I agree that a boss who nevers talks to his staff will never know if his staff is happy or not. Or the boss is also unhappy with his own job. 🙂

  5. Steve Prothero on the 30th May

    A good way to build up trust and get to understand what is motivating your team is the weekly one on one meeting. If you are looking for a good coverage on how to do this you can check out Manager Tools. Here is the link http://www.manager-tools.com/2005/07/the-single-most-effective-management-tool-part-1

    I have used this process for a number of years and have seen the results – staff on time, motivated and able to communicate clearly issues that they are experiencing.

  6. rinna on the 31st October

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Rochelle keep it up.

  7. Patricia on the 5th July

    My boss use offdays.eu solution to manage our absence and holidays. he enjoy it and we enjoy it. So, sometimes technology make hapiness and trust.

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