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The Nexus of Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

A happy worker is a productive worker. This should seem like common sense! Employee satisfaction and productivity go hand-in-hand, which is why employers should always keep an eye on their workers’...

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A happy worker is a productive worker. This should seem like common sense! Employee satisfaction and productivity go hand-in-hand, which is why employers should always keep an eye on their workers’ satisfaction.

Not to mention, happiness is contagious. Customers have an easier time dealing with cheerful customer service reps. Managers find downloading instructions to subordinates more effortless. Workers accomplish tasks easier when paired with agreeable mates.

The evidence is undeniable—multiple studies consistently confirm that employee satisfaction translates into off-the-charts productivity. For example, the Social Market Foundation found that happy workers outperform their unhappy counterparts by 20%. Even investors benefit from businesses having cheerful employees. According to Fortune magazine, the stock prices of companies in their “100 Best Companies To Work For” rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005. Meanwhile, the average increase for companies outside the list was 6%.

Happy Workers Are Productive Workers

Employees who feel secure and empowered in their jobs can better concentrate on the task at hand. With better focus comes improved insights on how to further improve efficiency and productivity. In contrast, workers unhappy with their job push themselves just to get to the end of the workday. This can lead to a loss of productivity—sometimes as much as $450–$550 billion a year.

Happy Workers Are Loyal Workers

This may sound hard to believe but according to a Randstad US survey, one in four American employees would rather have a better boss than a $5,000 raise. This not only tells how much employees value a healthy work environment but also confirms that money isn’t always the prime motivator for many workers.

People tend to stay in places where they feel good most of the time. When happy workers find something positive in their environment, they find it harder to leave, even when presented with new perks.

Happy Workers Are Healthy Workers

Jessica Pryce-Jones, CEO of iOpener and author of Happiness at Work, says that happy workers are better prepared for the rigors of their everyday jobs. In fact, she points out that the happiest workers in an office take 66% fewer sick leaves than unhappy workers. It’s all part of increased greater energy shown at the office.

If these arguments about happy workers still fail to impress employers, consider costs. Employee turnover can mean additional company expenses. Everybody is familiar with the adage that retaining a customer is less expensive than attracting new ones. It turns out that it’s the same with employees. A sudden turnover can cost up to 33% of an employee’s annual salary to pay for recruitment, training, and covering the dues paid to the exiting worker.

Why Are Satisfied and Happy Employees More Productive?

While it’s undisputed that happy workers make productive ones, the question is why? What makes happy workers more effective in their assigned tasks? Why do they seem to deliver more compared to the average worker? It turns out that being happy at work allows employees to tune out negative thoughts, which can distract from the task at hand.

Happy employees, free from the drama of corporate infighting or misaligned objectives, are more invested in the company. They feel an incentive to go the extra mile and finish tasks ahead of schedule. When workers feel that their success is tied to the company’s, they do their part to ensure the company meets its goals.

The presence of happy employees often means happy managers and vice versa. A manager’s enthusiasm for a task can often inspire his subordinates to follow his lead. Workers find it hard to not feel inspired when they see their manager cheering them on.

Happy workers are also more willing to communicate. No office is conflict-free, but working in a less stressful environment opens the door for coworkers to engage in productive discussions. This means workers are emboldened to ask for help when they need it. Meanwhile, managers find employees more willing to take criticism, as they know it’s not personal. Open communication can dramatically increase team collaboration.

Happy employees are confident workers. Their comfort level with the company allows them to take calculated risks and propose unconventional solutions. In contrast, many employees would rather not say anything during meetings or hold back on their ideas. They’d rather play it safe and not be burdened by additional questions or responsibilities. In addition, happy employees acknowledge their limitations and take losses as learning opportunities.

How Do You Measure Employee Satisfaction?


We’ve established that high employee satisfaction results in higher productivity levels. But how can employers assess satisfaction? What is the threshold for considering whether an employee is happy or not? Fortunately for employers, there are ways to gauge employee satisfaction more closely.

Engage With Employees

Sometimes, the most obvious approach is the best: ask people. Happy workers appreciate open communication policies and a positive work environment. Employers should have no problem getting more information from these individuals. Apart from providing a direct assessment of their satisfaction levels, this can also offer fair criticism of areas that need improvement.

In contrast, unhappy or disengaged workers will likely say one thing but feel another. They will often just dodge saying anything substantial, so as to end the discussion sooner. Savvy managers should read between the lines when employees are reluctant to talk about the workplace.

Gather Feedback

Conducting surveys, especially the anonymous kind, can help more reluctant workers to open up about the reality of their situation. However, the quality of answers gathered will depend on how the survey frames the questions. Asking yes or no questions will provide answers, sure, but won’t guarantee additional explanations.

In addition, the number of respondents can also indicate whether there’s an underlying problem at work. Enthusiastic and detailed replies (even if feedback is negative) signal an openness at the workplace and a willingness to communicate. Meanwhile, a lag in replies or terse responses might indicate that the office is not as open as the boss thinks.

Heed The Signs

Managers, especially those who started from the bottom, can show some empathy for subordinates. This in turn can encourage them to open up and discuss their satisfaction (or lack of). Staying attuned to the workplace mood can help you pick up signals when problems are simmering. A quiet workplace even after a major sale can signal a splintered organization. Employees bolting for the exit at the first strike of 5 o’clock can flag a toxic workplace, which means it may be time to do some retooling of the workday. If this is the case, it’s time for the managers to shake things up.

How Can Companies Nurture Employee Satisfaction and Productivity?

Maintaining open communication channels with employees lets them know they have avenues to voice their opinions. It’s imperative to keep these lines open in order to retain a positive work environment. Maintaining a fun office isn’t always easy, considering that company goals and objectives still require a good deal of hard work to achieve. Still, letting workers know they have managerial support can go a long way. There are plenty of ways to ensure a work environment bolsters employee satisfaction and productivity.

Connect Inside and Outside the Workplace

Being there for workers even beyond the workplace acknowledges the fact that employers see staff as human beings, with lives outside the office. It doesn’t have to be anything overly complicated, like sharing the same passions and hobbies. However, showing general support and interest—even something as simple as allowing early time off for an employee to attend an event—can help strengthen bonds. Or, you can be as extensive as sponsoring social hours after work.

Maintaining a positive atmosphere at work even with pressure-filled activities shows that the company values a stress-free atmosphere. This can help avoid workplace toxicity, which contributes to stress and poor health among workers.

Relate More To Workers

Managers often make employees aware of what makes the boss happy. When workers find out that their employer is approachable and has realistic expectations, it makes them more willing to interact. In contrast, new employees getting advice from veterans on how not to end up on the wrong side of the boss often creates anxiety. Often, these employees go out of their way to not meet the CEO.

Having a boss who can relate to employees makes more employees willing to buy into the company goals. Knowing that the boss has their back makes them more willing to go all out in helping the company reach their target.

Stay Approachable

Top officials often make their way to the top thanks to years of experience. These experiences are the result of numerous trials and errors that helped them learn how to deal with company problems. A willingness to share these learning experiences with workers can go a long way towards establishing trust with the rank-and-file.

Workers with firsthand experience talking to or working with the boss often end up more committed to the cause. This encourages workers to become proactive as well. The boss’ willingness to relate to even the lowest level workers inspires trust. It becomes much easier to follow the company to the ends of the earth if you know the boss is bringing up the rear.

Keep Two-Way Communication Lines Open

No matter how big your company grows, leaders should still make the effort to maintain open lines of communication. Having a boss who is approachable can improve morale and build trust. Leaders who place emphasis on learning from the troops become an endearing presence instead of someone to avoid. This encourages workers to speak up when there are issues the bosses need to hear. At the same time, a boss with an open door policy should inspire lower-level supervisors and employees to become accessible to others as well.

Fostering a Positive Company Culture at Helpware

Positive work environments also extend to outsourcing partners. Helpware strives to change perceptions of outsourcing in the modern era. Outsourcing doesn’t have to imply faceless entities across the globe focused on low-cost, back-end services at the cost of human happiness.

Helpware provides outsourcing solutions for companies but doesn't just stop at off-loading the work. Helpware also offers additional strategic services, like process improvement consulting. Instead of just providing a static list of services to choose from, Helpware works with clients to determine core competencies. This way, businesses can better decide which processes could benefit from outsourcing and which tasks are better left in-house.

An outsourcing company’s best resource is its team of capable service employees. Helpware recognizes that talent has many diverse sources. Finding great minds all over the world is just the first step. One also has to foster a global work culture that’s at home anywhere, whether in a client’s home country or in the outsourcing locale.

Recognizing clients’ need for engaged and motivated partners, Helpware continues to maintain a work environment aimed at maintaining open communication and keeping employee satisfaction and productivity at high levels. Helpware doesn’t just train employees. We empower them with the tools and knowledge to claim ownership of tasks like the leaders they are.

Reach out today to learn more about how Helpware has changed the face of outsourcing. Together, we can make your business better.

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