It's not HR's job to make employees happy

When it comes to creating an organization culture employees love and don’t want to leave, employee happiness is the metric that really matters.

Consider this research posted by the Wall Street Journal, Gallup and the iOpener Institute 

  • Happy employees are productive employees
  • Happy employees are the ones who make an organization culture great
  • Happy employees are more likely to go out of the way to help their colleagues
  • Happy and engaged employees are more likely to recommend their organization to a friend

Concentrating efforts on employee happiness is the most direct and powerful way to impact organization’s success. Ultimately happiness will be the most important competitive advantage!

 Happy Employees :)  > Happy Client :) > Great Revenues $ > Repeat business $

So what makes employees happy at work place? There are so many elements, the HR team of most organizations focus on Employee Engagement/Motivation/ Recognition/Communication intiatives to increase employee happiness level,

Employee engagement activities definitely create a positive and vibrant work culture. But, is that enough to make someone happy at work?

In one of my previous roles, I was the Chief Fun Officer of my organization. I was responsible for making employees happy at work through different org wide employee engagement initiatives. Believe it or not, my core job function was to plan parties, organize DJ nights, family days, fun on the floor events, reward programs, cultural and sports competitions, hobby clubs etc. I was in the serious business of fun. I had a great time but not all employees did! Here is why :

Only less than 20% of employees participated in Org wide employee engagement initiatives. Most of them find it challenging to take time out from their busy schedule, even if they are interested. The experience is for a very short period, after the event they are back to their old state. Happiness is a very subjective experience. It’s not what we do once in a while like an annual mega event or a celebrity rewards & recognition function that makes employee happy. It’s what we do everyday consistently that shapes the culture of an organization. HR team can come up with fancy employee engagement initiatives but the impact is only for few hours or days. When it comes to happiness, the quantity and quality really matters.

The most important person who can influence employee’s happiness level is his or her immediate manager.

To use a metaphor, it doesn’t matter how hard you party if your relationship with your spouse is messed up, your life is messed up!

As Gallup says “People join companies and leave their managers”. A company is only as a good as the manager you work for. People will join a company because of its reputation as a great employer, but once hired, you, as their manager have the biggest single impact on their daily work environment

So here is my list of things a people manager can do to make someone’s day at workplace.

  • Clarity – Let your team members know why they are doing what they are doing. Clarity of purpose is very important to bring the passion out of them. Share the big picture and let them know that their contribution really matters to the organization.
  • Communicate –  Communicate in the clearest, most effective way possible, Listen actively, and provide constructive feedback.
  • Connect – Connect with your employees every day, both on professional as well as personal front. Keep commitments and extend trust.
  • Compliment – Need for appreciation and acknowledgement is a deep human need, never miss an opportunity to compliment or appreciate someone
  • Challenge – Give them intellectually stimulating tasks every day.
  • Celebrate – Celebrate team’s small and big success. Celebrate life events of your team members.
  • Collaborate - We are social beings, we love to be around people. Assign group tasks and projects.
  • Coach – Mentor your team members; help them achieve their professional goals.
  • Contribute – Add value by sharing your perspective. Extend support when required.
  • Care – Be concerned about their professional growth and development.

 Follow this 10Cs and you will C them smile at work:)

We work more effectively, creatively, and collaboratively when we're happy at work. Let us do our part to make our organization an awesome place to work.


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