You’ll Be Surprised What Really Makes Employees Happy at Work

If you hear the phrase “happy at work” and start zoning out immediately, consider these two words: discretionary effort.

Discretionary effort refers to the activities beneficial to the business but not part of one’s job — a real game-changer.

Even your workplace’s biggest Scrooge can get behind employee experience programs when they realize that happy employees drive more revenue by being more productive and creating a better customer experience.

You don't get discretionary effort when you motivate employees with the carrot and the stick Click To Tweet

You don’t get discretionary effort when you motivate employees with the carrot and the stick — those traditional methods of using compensation and performance incentives to get more work out of employees. These tools especially don’t work for employees who are categorized as knowledge workers.

Right now, knowledge work is a $12.1 trillion global economy. Meanwhile, employee engagement is at just 33 percent inside the U.S. and 16 percent across the globe.

Luckily, what does make employees happy at work is entirely within the control of your HR department.

Research presented by Teresa M. Amabile in Harvard Business Review shows that employees are happy at work when they make progress at their jobs. Receiving support that helps them overcome obstacles creates positive emotions and the drive to succeed, while times they encounter roadblocks and do not make meaningful accomplishments, their mood and motivation drops.

Research shows employees are happy at work when they make progress at their jobs.

The challenge to HR is not to introduce new perks, but create a workplace environment where employees are best equipped to do their jobs.

If the business goal is 95 percent customer satisfaction, the question you should ask is: Under what circumstances under which attaining 95 percent customer satisfaction is likely — a concept known as target conditions.

In our on-demand webinar featuring Forrester Research, guest principal analyst David Johnson shares more about the research behind tying employee experience to business outcomes, including examples from high-performing companies like Southwest, Starbucks, and more. Watch the webinar now.

Watch our webinar featuring Forrester, "Driving Business Value With Employee Experience"

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