Fostering Happiness: What Makes Employees Thrive

We tend to underestimate the value of a happy employee. Happy employees spread positivity and encouragement, and (most importantly) they tend to stick around for a long time.

Turns out, happy employees are also more productive. Shawn Achor, happiness expert, GoodThink Co-Founder and CEO, and TED Talk speaker says, “The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain. The human brain at positive has an unfair advantage over that same brain at negative or neutral. When we are positive, we show 31% increase in productivity.”

Company culture is at the helm of building positive relationships and enforcing a healthy work environment, and it can be a key differentiator in the success of your organization. So, what kind of company culture brings the best out in people?

Wrike commissioned Atomik Research to survey full-time employees on what makes them happy at work, and how that happiness impacts their productivity and longevity. This survey included 1,000 respondents from each of the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

Here are some highlights from the first part of our survey, featuring data about how culture impacts happiness in the United States:

Diversity is a must

It should be no surprise that the more diverse an office is, the happier the employees. Happier workers are 55% more likely to report greater diversity in their office. A workforce with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and cultures creates a lot more opportunities for fresh perspectives and ideas. Plus, it establishes an environment of learning, growth, and acceptance. Inclusion and equality are huge testaments to a happy and healthy workplace culture.

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A common purpose fuels prosperity

A clear mission statement provides employees with a sense that they are contributing to something bigger and more substantial to the company. That feeling validates their hard work, and motivates them to push towards something they believe in. According to our survey, 85% of the happiest workers identify with their company’s mission.

If there’s no support behind the mission, it’s harder to find happiness at work. Roughly 25% of “Miserable” workers don’t even know their company’s mission, whereas 85% of “Elated” workers feel a strong connection to their mission. Without a common sense of purpose, it’s difficult for individuals to embrace teamwork and collaboration.

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Happiness at work impacts how you work with others

Happier employees have healthier relationships with their managers. Those who report poor relationships with their managers are also more likely to be unhappy. Zero percent of people who are “Elated” with their jobs have a “Very poor” relationship with their manager, which reminds us just how critical managers are in worker happiness.  

Happier workers are nearly 3x more likely than unhappy workers to have a leisurely lunch with coworkers. This goes back to how important it is to share that feeling of community and solidarity with your coworkers. If the relationships with your colleagues are built with a solid foundation of trust and encouragement, you’re more likely to experience happiness at work.

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Collaborative work management sheds light on value

The goal of a collaborative work management solution is to bring teams together and make collaboration easy and actionable. Collaborative work management (CWM) users are 91% more likely than non-users to say they have a “Very good” relationship with their manager. When manager and individual contributors have that additional visibility from CWM software, they’re more likely to see the value and impact of their efforts. It could also be that managers who invest in CWM are innovative in other aspects of leadership.

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Additionally, CWM software users are about 80% more likely to say that their company’s mission and vision resonates with them than non-users. Again, having visibility into the day-to-day tasks and how those tasks tie back to the greater initiative help teams grow confident — knowing they bring sufficient value to their organization.  

Helping employees work happier

Although our report suggests that people are mostly happy with their jobs, we see there’s definitely room for some improvement.

Good old-fashioned values like relationships, collaboration, purpose, and diversity may have more of an impact on employee happiness than companies realize. Helping teams work better together and supporting those relationships can truly influence productivity both inside and outside the workplace.


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