Key ingredients driving employee happiness: pride, fairness & respect, and feeling appreciated

28 February 2017
  • On a scale of 0-100, employees ranked an average of 67 for happiness in their jobs
  • 79% see workplace happiness as joint responsibility between employee and employer
  • 60% take pride in working for their organisation, the top driver associated with employee happiness

London, 28 February 2017 – As organisations discover the effect a motivated and happy workforce has on productivity, Robert Half’s new report The secrets of the happiest companies and employees reveals the drivers behind employee happiness and how businesses can nurture a positive work culture. Research conducted among 2,000 UK employees has found that on a scale of 0-100, employees ranked an average of 67 when questioned about happiness in their jobs.

The importance of being happy at work is also universally recognised by 84% of employees. When asked about who is primarily responsible for their happiness, most respondents (79%) saw it as an equal balance between employee and employer. Robert Half's research reveals there are several factors that drive happiness. Respondents named pride (51%), fairness and respect (51%) and feeling appreciated (50%) as the ingredients they associate most with happiness.

The top five ingredients of employee happiness

Factors

Percentage of those who associate ingredients with happiness

Percentage who score well on each ingredient

Pride

51%

60%

Fairness and respect

51%

67%

Feeling appreciated

50%

50%

Accomplishment

49%

63%

Freedom

43%

66%

"The foundations for building a happy workforce are finding employees that have a genuine interest in the job, the right skills and temperament so they can develop satisfying and fulfilling careers in the long-term,” commented Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half UK. “With fulfilled employees, organisations can nurture a positive work culture. This has a tremendous impact on both staff morale and the business as a whole – boosting satisfaction levels, enabling companies to remain competitive and directly impacting the bottom line.”

Reflecting that workplace happiness isn't just defined through status and salary, education and training also emerged as two important pillars for workplace happiness. For the clear majority, work isn’t just about pay, with over a third (37%) willing to accept a lower salary to secure their ideal job. The research also shows that those in more skilled roles tend to be happier and more interested in work. For example, managers in the UK reported higher levels of happiness (71) and interest (77) than those in clerical, administrative or secretarial positions who ranked 61 and 63 respectively. There is also a general pattern where younger workers aged 18-34 feel they have more opportunities for learning (62%) and constructive feedback (53%), which makes them happier. While, senior staff in executive positions feel like they are using their strengths more (90%), that their skills are closely matched to their jobs (88%) and that they have greater influence (84%) and freedom (84%), which contributes to their happiness.

The top drivers effecting happiness for each age group

 

Rank #1

Rank #2

Rank #3

18-34

Feeling appreciated

Pride

Accomplishment

35-54

Pride

Fairness and respect

Accomplishment

55+

Fairness and respect

Feeling appreciated

Good team management

Nic Marks, CEO and founder of Happiness Works, noted that happiness isn’t about feeling cheerful every day or avoiding challenges. “Work can be difficult and demanding, but if employees are given the opportunity to progress, grow their skill sets and get the training they need, then they tend to be happy and do better work as a result.”

Many employees highlighted that the people they work and interact with daily contribute to how happy they are at work. Overall, four in five UK employees believe they have good relationships with people on their immediate team and over a third (38%) highlighted inter-team relationships as an important driver for happiness and interest at work. In addition, those who have regular meetings score higher on happiness (74) and interest (76). In comparison, those 10% who never meet their team have the lowest level of happiness and interest, highlighting that a basic level of inter-team relationships is important to keep employees engaged.

“Most business leaders acknowledge that workplace happiness has a tangible impact on productivity and profitability,” concludes Sheridan. “For businesses struggling to attract and retain workers with in-demand skills, our report provides a roadmap for forging deeper engagement and commitment levels among staff. By creating a positive culture that rewards employees then workforce satisfaction levels will rise and positively influence the business.”

– ENDS –

Download Robert Half’s report, The secrets of the happiest companies and employees

Notes to editors

This study was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on research with more than 2,000 randomly selected United Kingdom adults who are currently employed on a full or part-time basis with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location. 

About Robert Half

Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy with more than 325 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology and administrative professionals. We believe working happy is the only way to work, and we have made it our mission to help people find fulfilling jobs and help companies build happy, productive teams. Find out more at roberthalf.co.uk/its-time-we-all-work-happy

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