Article: Are You ‘Paying’ Attention to Your Employees’ Happiness Quotient?

Author: Asif Upadhyae, 
              Director, 
              Never Grow Up

Asif Upadhyae, Director, Never Grow Up
Lets be candid here for a moment. When people having recently quit their jobs attempt to explain their reasons for leaving – “God, the hours were terrible, the work culture just wasnt my cup of teaor I didnt really see a future with the company” – isnt there a voice in the back of most peoples head listening and thinking I bet it was actually the bad pay?

This is without a doubt one of the industrys, nay, mankinds most commonly made assumptions (an employee must be unhappy because they feel that they arent getting paid enough) and unfortunately one of the greatest hindrances towards getting to the root of a companys attrition problem. When money is viewed as the source and the end-all of an employees sense of dissatisfaction with their company, it makes introspection or delving deeper into a companys core elements, seem like an unnecessary course of action.

But let us put some statistics on the table. A 2010 meta-analysis study revealed that the association between an employees salary and job satisfaction was, in fact, very weak; the overlap between the measured pay and job satisfaction levels was as low as 2%! Another US-based research revealed that nearly 40% of the respondents were willing to give up as much as $5000 (Rs. 3.2 lakhs) a year in salary to be happier at work.



So, I suppose the point Im trying to drive home here is that perhaps it is time for professionals, employers and organizations everywhere to dethrone moneyfrom its position of Supreme Prime Motivator and shift their focus to something less tangible, more personal and far more intrinsically essential to their workforce happiness.

Happiness, of course, is variable, elusive and most certainly more difficult to understand than a bank statement. But all it takes is an initiative, a perceptive mind and a sensitive ear to know what exactly makes people tick you see, people actually want their problems to be heard, provided they feel like someones listening. To anyone paying the slightest attention, the problems that employees communicate are the gateway to realising and resolving all the issues that the company needs to work upon.

So, lets revisit the complaints we had heard earlier that would otherwise be brushed off under the its the bad payassumption. This time, however, lets lend a perceptive ear to them and try to truly understand what that means for the employee and the company.



When an employee says God, the hours were terrible, they most likely mean that their organization clearly did place priority on the work-life balance of their employees and the employee did not feel like their time was being valued.

The work culture just wasnt my cup of teapossibly means that their company was clearly lacking a comfortable, friendly or supportive element in their work environment or that the work culture was not conducive for the employee to be able to create any positive interpersonal relationships at work resulting in stress or a feeling of isolation.


In the same vein, an employee who didnt really see a future with the companyprobably came to the realisation that their personal goals were clearly not aligned with those of the companys and that they did not feel inclined to take ownership of the work handed to them.


Hence, when we move past the elementary judgments and make an attempt to truly, unconditionally listen to the concerns of our employees, we end up with ample data to be able to determine what makes our workforce happy. (Hint: its definitely not just the money). Since bad pays do not lie at the root of employee dissatisfaction, regular happiness-oriented feedback tools are truly the need of the hour to uncover and analyse all the elements that determine employee happiness. Its time to move over the general money-oriented assumptions, and move towards true workplace happiness. As the old saying goes, money cant buy happiness!”

There are things that your employees might not feel comfortable talking about while it does speak about a shortcoming in your work culture that you must overcome it needs to be dealt most efficiently with the aid of regular, anonymous surveys, questionnaires or feedback forms.

No matter how genial an employer you might be, there will always be factors that your employees just do not feel comfortable sharing with you as a direct, negative feedback

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