Employee retention | Happiness at work - who's happiest, and how can we make staff happier?

Happiness at work - who's happiest, and how can we make staff happier?

As International Week of Happiness at Work approaches, we’ve looked at which sectors are likely to be happiest, and why – and what the stats tell us about boosting happiness in the workplace.

How much does happiness at work matter?

Being happy at work matters. A lot. In our State of the Deskless Workforce report this year, ‘enjoying work’ was the top response from 10,000 frontline staff worldwide, when asked what they value most in a job.

Flexibility was up there too - particularly for transport and warehousing staff, and retail workers - but ‘enjoyment’ was the clear leader across the board, even scoring above higher wages.

The tricky thing is that ‘enjoyment’ is as individual and undefinable as ‘happiness’. It means many different things to different people. For some, it might feel like happiness is in short supply right now, with everything going on in the world. When it comes to happiness at work, it’s likely to be a culmination of numerous factors, which could all tip the balance away from happiness/enjoyment if something goes awry.

Feeling proud

We asked deskless staff if they feel pride in their work. Healthcare staff were much more likely than any other sector to say they feel proud of what they do – 87% compared to an average of 71%, with hospitality staff coming in second (75%).

Research shows that if staff feel proud, they’re twice as likely to want to stay with their company for the long-term. Feelings of pride can be nurtured in numerous ways. These might include: highlighting to an employee how they're positively impacting their colleagues during an appraisal, confirming they have an important position within the organisation by offering career progression and taking the time to continually check-in to acknowledge their vital contributions in the workplace.

The complete package?

As our data shows, pay isn’t always the be-all-and-end-all for deskless staff, but in today’s cost-of-living crisis it’s never been more important.

Despite the price increases facing workers across the nation, only 49% of those we polled said they’d received a pay rise in the last year. Hospitality and retail staff fared marginally better at 51%.

Although offering the most competitive pay packet within the industry might not be the most realistic option right now, employers can instead look at the entire package they’re providing existing and prospective staff, and make sure it’s appealing. Does it include flexibility, career progression, and a great team culture to help boost those all-important happiness levels?

Opportunities to progress

On the subject of career progression, we found that, again, healthcare workers were most likely, in the last 12 months, to have been offered training and education and/or to have discussed steps to promotion with their bosses (73%), than those other sectors.

Unfortunately, well over a third (37%) of workers overall had received no such opportunities in the last year – a stat which is likely to lead to a disgruntled workforce if not addressed. We also revealed that younger workers are less likely to be offered education and training at work than their older peers – leaving them unlikely to stick around.

Research suggests there’s a direct link between happiness at work and career advancement – but which came first, the happy employee or the fulfilling job?

The need for downtime

Before we lose ourselves in that last chicken-or-egg conundrum, let’s just say we know that managers can’t create ‘happy people’. Yet they CAN cultivate a happy and healthy workplace.

It’s vital for happiness and wellbeing that staff feel they can take time out when they need it - whether swapping a shift, taking a holiday or having five minutes away from the shop floor for a mental health break.

Our study revealed more than half (51%) of all workers had missed out on events and holidays due to work, with healthcare (60%) and hospitality (55%) employees most likely to lose out on fun.

Happy talk?

Interestingly though, while hospitality workers might be missing out, they’re also most likely to feel comfortable raising issues around scheduling with their bosses. And more healthcare workers said they could speak to their managers about work-related stress (possibly because they experience more of it?).

Still, overall, only around a third of frontline staff feel they can talk with management about how scheduling may be impacting their personal lives and causing stress.

One way of removing awkwardness around shift changes and leave requests is to use a scheduling app like ours, enabling staff to flag any required changes easily.

Building a happy, supportive environment - where employees feel able to talk and raise any issues without embarrassment - doesn’t happen overnight, but offering an open-door policy and giving staff ways to provide feedback (which can also be done through an app) is an excellent place to start.

We’re all different (and that’s great)

Ultimately, what happiness at work looks like is going to be different depending on who you ask. Sure, there are basics – pay, progression, recognition, culture – but finding what makes an employee tick can only be achieved by getting to know them and making them feel that they matter.

Any organisation is only as good as its (happy) employees, so yes, happiness at work definitely matters, every week of the year.

Find out more about how Quinyx’s digital tools can help your workplace become a happier one.

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Quinyx is a cloud-native, mobile-first workforce management solution that simplifies scheduling, time reporting, communication, task management, budgeting and forecasting, thanks to AI-driven scheduling automation. Through advanced and flexible features, Quinyx helps more than 850 companies around the world improve efficiency, engage employees, comply with regulations and reduce labour costs. Today, Quinyx helps some of the world’s biggest businesses save time and money, boost productivity and enjoy work.