It’s been well-known for a long time that employee happiness and satisfaction is very important. Whether it’s manufacturing or retail sales, happy employees work harder and better than those who are miserable. Industrial and organizational psychologists have known this for decades, but managers sometimes forget.
This can be a big problem — especially in manufacturing. Why? Because skilled workers in manufacturing are harder and harder to come by, and if your employees aren’t happy, they may leave.
Losing Unhappy Employees
That may seem like an idle threat. In years past, there have been many situations where the industrial plant is the only game in town, and if you want to walk away, good luck finding something else.
Then the internet came along, as well as the idea of corporate culture. Suddenly people could search for hundreds of jobs from the comfort of their own homes. At the same time, internet companies like Google and Facebook started introducing unheard-of perks like free meals served by gourmet chefs and game rooms that employees could freely enjoy.
There aren’t a lot of manufacturing operations offering those kinds of perks, but the point is that people have choices in ways they never have before, so if you want to keep them, you want to keep them happy. And remember: even if your employees are not in danger of abandoning you, they will work harder and more efficiently if they are happy. Study after study shows this is the case.
But Why Track Employee Happiness Levels?
First of all, you may think you know what makes an employee happy, but there’s a good chance you don’t. Some employers may think giving a disgruntled employee a five percent pay bump will solve everything, but money turns out to rarely be the determining factor as to whether an employee is happy or not.
By actually tracking worker responses to different interventions that you try to make them happy, you can determine what actually makes them happy and get the results you want.
Another factor to consider is that workers don’t necessarily truthfully report their levels of happiness when asked. Even if they are thinking of leaving, they want to do it on their own terms, so they don’t necessarily want to report unhappiness and risk being on the boss’s bad side or getting fired. In fact, when an employee is secretly looking for another job might be when they appear on the surface to be the happiest.
How to Track Employee Happiness Levels
Fortunately, self-report is not the only way to determine employee happiness. In fact, some tech companies are now creating programs that are specifically designed to measure employee happiness. In the future, companies will be able to read the data these programs generate to determine how to produce the happiest workers.
Whatever method you choose, find some way to track your employees’ happiness. The happier they are, the happier you are likely to be with their work.