Last updated May 15, 2024

Improving employee job satisfaction and employee happiness to have a more engaged workforce is essential if you want to avoid having to rehire and retrain employees.

How to improve employee job satisfaction and happiness

The cost of finding and constantly replacing employees can be a significant and unnecessary expense. Indeed, as a poll by Gallup found, trillions are lost annually on lost productivity through a lack of employee engagement.

Likewise, a survey by Oxford University showed that productivity can increase 13% if workers are happy. A similar poll by Gallup found a 14% improvement in productivity through better employee engagement and satisfaction.

Furthermore, a satisfied workforce is a more productive one and helps to create a more fun working environment. So with this in mind, here are 7 tips to improve employee job satisfaction and happiness.

What Is Employee Job Satisfaction

Employee job satisfaction is a measure of how happy employees are with their jobs.

There are many factors that contribute to employee job satisfaction, including the work itself, the company, pay and benefits, and work-life balance.

Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are more likely to be productive and stay with their company longer.

Likewise, from the employer’s point of view, having satisfied employees normally means lower turnover rates.

There are many ways to measure employee job satisfaction and some common methods include surveys, focus groups, and interviews.

Job satisfaction can also be assessed by looking at factors such as job satisfaction ratings, job engagement levels, and employee turnover rates.

How to Improve Employee Job Satisfaction

1. Understand What Employees Want from Their Jobs

Staff satisfaction survey

When it comes to their jobs, most employees want two things: to feel appreciated and to feel like they are making a difference.

Many employers though make the mistake of thinking that money is the only thing that employees care about.

However, research shows that money is not the top priority for most workers.

In fact, when asked what was the most important thing to them in their jobs in a major study, the majority of employees said that they wanted to feel appreciated and that they were making a difference.

So what can you do to understand what your employees want?

One of the best ways to achieve this is to elicit feedback from employees and this can be achieved such as through:

  • annual performance reviews
  • one-to-one monthly meetings
  • ensuring they have a career development plan (this can be part of the annual review) laid out

2. Make Employees Feel Appreciated Through Feedback

One way to show employees that you appreciate them is to give them feedback.

Feedback can be anything from a simple “thank you” for a job well done to a more detailed performance review.

Employees love to know that they are doing a good job and that their work is appreciated.

Another great option is also to give them feedback on how their work impacts the company.

This helps the employee to see how they personally make a difference and are valued and boosts employee happiness.

3. Offer Training and Development Opportunities

Another way to make employees feel appreciated and to improve job satisfaction is to give them opportunities to learn and grow.

Most employees want to feel like they are constantly improving and that they are valuable members of the team.

Offering training and development opportunities is a great way to show employees that you care about their growth and future with the company.

Furthermore, employees who receive training and development opportunities are also more likely to be productive employees.

Indeed, a survey by the Conference Board found that nearly two-thirds of employees who received training in the past year said that their training made them more productive on the job.

Another study, this one by the American Society for Training and Development, found that companies with highly trained employees generate nearly twice as much revenue per employee as those with poorly trained employees.

4. Promote Work-Life Balance

Employee work-life balance also tends to impact employee workplace satisfaction levels.

A healthy work-life balance helps employees feel happier and more fulfilled both at work and at home.

As a result, it can also lead to improved employee retention rates and decreased absenteeism.

There are a number of ways that as an employer or HR department, you can promote a strong work-life balance within their organization.

Some of the most effective ways to improve employee satisfaction are by:

  • offering flexible work arrangements
  • encouraging employees to be involved in company social and recreational activities
  • providing wellness and well-being workplace training, in addition to training in areas such as confidence building, and stress management.
  • and providing access to employee support and assistance programs.
  • Training managers in Inclusive leadership so that they properly include all team members in all aspects for the workplace, thus promoting a more inclusive workplace.
  • Ensuring that all staff are trained in the basics of equality and diversity in the workplace so that you are creating a fairer work environment for all staff.

Flexible work arrangements are a great way to promote work-life balance.

By allowing employees to choose their own hours or work from home, as an employer, you can give them the freedom to balance their work and personal commitments as they see fit.

Encouraging employee involvement in company social and recreational activities can also be quite effective.

Activities like team sports, social gatherings, or community service projects can help employees relax and recharge outside of work.

They can also foster a sense of camaraderie and team spirit among employees.

Providing access to employee support and assistance programs can involve help for the employee that provides confidential counselling and help for those struggling with personal or work-related issues.

Helping employees cope with stress, anxiety, and other conflicts is a great way to show the employee that you care as a company.

Likewise, a good work-to-lofe balance aids employee happiness and helps to improve employee retention

5. Give Added Incentives for Good Results

It can be difficult to know how to properly reward employees for a job well done but providing rewards for good work can be the type of incentive that some employees respond positively to.

While some may feel that financial compensation is the only way to show appreciation, there are other ways to show employees that their hard work is recognized and appreciated.

Publicly acknowledge their achievement – This can be done in a team meeting, via email, or even through a company-wide announcement.

Give them extra time off – This is especially appreciated if it’s something that they wouldn’t normally get, such as a half-day or even a full day.

Give them a gift card – This can be for a restaurant, store, or online gift card (such as an Amazon voucher).

Make a charitable donation in their name – This is a great way to show that you care about more than just their work performance, but also their causes and beliefs.

There are numerous ways to reward employees and sometimes even a verbal acknowledgment of the employees’ efforts can be enough to make the employee feel valued.

6. Create a Work Environment That is Positive and Encouraging

Creating a workplace where employees feel comfortable and safe is essential when considering employee job satisfaction.

In other words, it is about what is known as Psychological Safety and making sure that employees feel comfortable in the workplace to:

  • Ask questions
  • Give their opinions
  • Admit when they make mistakes
  • Give ideas on improvements

The employee needs to be able to do these things without any concerns of being mocked, criticized, or punished in any way.

In other words, you need to build a workplace where psychological safety is taken seriously.

Psychological saftey teaching
>> Psychological safety materials

7. Encouraging Employees to Take Ownership of Their Work

It is not always easy for employees to naturally want to take ownership of their workload.

After all, it’s easy for them to become complacent and just go through the motions day after day.

However, there are a few things you can do to help motivate your team and get them to take more pride in their work.

One way is to set high standards and expectations. Make it clear that you expect them to give their best effort and meet or exceed your expectations.

Another way to encourage employees to take ownership of their work is to give them more responsibility.

To increase job satisfaction, also, consider allowing them to have a say in how projects are run and give them the opportunity to lead teams or work on special assignments.

Finally, you can also provide feedback and recognition. Let them know when they’re doing a good job and be specific about what they did that made a difference.

When you take the time to encourage employees to take ownership of their work, you’ll likely find that they’re more motivated and productive. And that can benefit everyone in the long run.

How Training Employees and Managers Can Help Improve Employee Job Satisfaction

Training is an essential element in terms of how you can improve employee job satisfaction and this comes down to two areas:

  • For employees to be happy, you have to have managers who know how to manage well
  • Employees also can benefit from training in that being allowed to develop and build expertise helps improve employee job satisfaction, because employees feel that you are invested in their future. It makes them feel valued and also can improve employee retention.

For managers, they can benefit from training specifically in:

  • Problem-solving skills – helping to solve any issues not just that the company have, but also issues that affect employees directly. Look after the employees and productivity tends to be better, and you can help improve employee retention.
  • Delegation skills – allowing employees a level of autonomy in their work means that they feel trusted. For managers, learning how to delegate effectively is not easy and training in this area can be invaluable.
  • Influencing skills – the ability (or not) of the manager to inspire employees will often dictate how happy the people in the work team are. Great managers are skilled in influencing skills and can help improve employee happiness levels.
Classroom lesson plans


How can the job satisfaction of the employees be improved?

1. Provide clear goals so that achievements are clear.
2. Show gratitude so that the employee feels valued.
3. Ensure there are learning opportunities to aid the employee’s career path.
4. Create a positive and fun workplace such as by providing inclusive leadership training so that all staff feel included.
5. Provide constructive feedback regularly to help employee growth.

What are common reasons for low employee happiness?

Low employee happiness can result from:
1. Management not making an effort to ensure employees feel valued and included
2. Not setting realistic targets and goals
3. Failing to ensure managers are trained in communication skills, equality management, and conflict resolution.
4. Failing to give employees a sense of autonomy in their work

What role does employee engagement play in job satisfaction?

Employee engagement is vital in job satisfaction because it means employees will:
1. Feel more closely aligned to the company goals and values
2. Be happier in their working environment
3. Likely be more loyal to the company
4. Have better opportunities in terms of employee growth

Dr Valeria Lo Iacono