Does it seem people are unhappy at work?
It should. Not only is employee engagement down, things such as anger and stress are up.
And those are things you want to reduce because happy employees are critical to business success.
Proof: Happy employees achieve their goals nearly a third more often than their not-so-happy colleagues – and for good reason. The happy people are 36% more motivated than their colleagues, according to research from the iOpener Institute and The Wall Street Journal.
“For many people, their working life becomes a kind of nemesis, rather than a place where they feel happy and valued,” says Sharon Salzberg, in her book Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace. But “it is also a place where we can learn and grow and come to be much happier.”
Who’s unhappy at work?
Unhappiness isn’t the same for everyone at work, according to a Gallup trends report. For instance, 35% of Baby Boomers and Gen Z are engaged. Thirty-three percent of Millennials and 31% of Gen X are engaged. So the oldest and youngest in the workplace are a bit happier than those in the middle.
Regardless of the mix of generations you have in your workplace, you likely want to see everyone happier. The good news is you can help make it happen.
In this episode of HRMorning’s 3 Point, our experts share ideas on how to re-engage employees so you can bring happiness back into their work. Part of it comes through transparency. Some of it comes from finding meaning in work. And one expert says it’s all about empowerment.
Click, watch and listen for more details on building happiness in your workplace.
Transcript (edited for clarity):
Why is everyone so unhappy at work these days?
OK, OK, maybe not everyone all the time.
But still, this doesn’t make sense after we’ve seen increases in pay and flexibility. And we’ve seen decreases in micromanagement and toxic cultures.
Yet, Gallup’s latest workplace report shows the number of employees who are angry, stressed and disengaged is on the rise.
So what’s wrong now? Our three experts have insight.
Andreatta: “Engagement is really an after effect of finding meaning in your work — that they have purpose in their work. So we really want to focus in on that.”
Link: “Not being transparent or having enough authenticity in the way that you talk about your business and the requirements for success. But it’s usually geared toward what leaders say or don’t say. And we encourage leaders to really have an open mission, values, purpose. And if you start there and have that aligned, then it’s usually an anecdote for anything that might be happening negatively around the culture.”
Brundage: “According to the Dartmouth Tufts School of Business, not empowering your people is actually the number two issue that businesses face today. So this is why, with empowerment, people are really trying to figure out how we can do it and how we can connect with it.”
Now we know why employees are unhappy. The next step is to do more to reverse the trend. Based on our experts’ insight, you’ll want to:
- Connect the dots. Help employees identify what’s meaningful about their work and its impact on the business, customers and their community.
- Be transparent. People aren’t mushrooms. They can’t be left in the dark and fed BS. They’ll thrive knowing the truth.
- Loosen the reins. Empower employees to make decisions, mistakes and corrections so they can grow in your organization.
No one should be unhappy at work all the time. Take steps now to identify why employees aren’t happy – then dish up the remedies.