Why You Should Be Measuring Employee Happiness to Retain Top Talent

happy employee

Does it seem difficult to fill job positions with qualified candidates lately?

It’s not just in your head.

U.S. job openings hit a record high this past December, increasing by 169,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.3 million in December, the highest it has been since 2000. It’s a candidate-driven market, which also means that your employees have options — and lots of them.

How do you retain top talent when opportunities abound?

By keeping employees happy and engaged — at work and outside of it.

Organizations with high employee engagement report higher retention, greater productivity, fewer accidents, and 21 percent greater profitability than those with a less engaged workforce, according to Gallup.

Read on to find out why employee happiness is instrumental to engagement — and learn about a new way to actually measure it.

Why Happiness Matters

Together with SHINE (Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise at the  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), we co-presented a webinar hosted by The Society for Human Resource Management on the topic, “Are Your People Flourishing? Introducing a New Way to Measure Employee Well-being.”

During the presentation, we asked participants, “Which of the impacts below does your organization measure?” The vast majority (78.6 percent) said “engagement.” Not surprisingly, “health” came in second place (48.7 percent) and “happiness” was a distant third (19.7 percent).

Based on this data, most employers aren’t measuring employee happiness, which has been linked to greater productivity and profitability. In fact, one study found that happy employees are up to 20 percent more productive than unhappy employees. In sales positions, happiness has an even greater impact, boosting sales by 37 percent.

If employee happiness has such a big impact on organizational outcomes, why aren’t well-being professionals launching programs focused on improving it?

Historically, it’s always been difficult for organizations to define “happiness,” let alone track it.

Until now.

Human Flourishing: A New Way to Measure Employee Happiness & Retain Top Talent

The Flourishing Index unlocks insight into what employees need to work on most, based on six key domains of “human flourishing” (validated research from  by SHINE). Each domain represents an aspect of life that most people want to thrive in.

And guess what?

The very first domain is “Happiness and Life Satisfaction.”

We pulse questions to your employees based on these domains throughout the year, in order to help you identify areas where employees may need more support.

As an example, here are two of the questions we ask about employee happiness:

Domain 1: Happiness and Life Satisfaction

Unhappiness isn’t like a handbag or a coat that your employees can simply put down when their work day begins and pick back up when they head home. They’re going to carry those feelings all day long and it will impact their potential to thrive — in work and in life.

Traditional wellness assessments and engagements surveys don’t typically prompt questions about employee happiness. And how can you improve employee happiness if you’ve never tracked it? 

Interestingly enough, many people have never been asked these questions — by anyone at all. In fact, the most common feedback we hear about the flourishing questions is, “No one has ever asked me that — not even my family or friends.”

By posing these questions, we can help you identify areas where your employees may need more support, such as in “Happiness and Life Satisfaction.”

But — unlike engagement surveys — we don’t just identify a problem. We help you solve it.

How To Increase Employee Happiness & Engagement

Data can be powerful, but only if it’s properly mined. ADURO’s platform allows you to segment each population based on the six flourishing domains. At a glance, you can easily answer the question, “Who are my unhappy people?” Some employers don’t find this out until after their top talent has left.

Additionally, you can use this data to identify correlations between one low-scoring flourishing domain and another.

For example, let’s say you identify that a large subset of your employees scored low in the domain of “Happiness and Life Satisfaction.” Interestingly enough, you also notice low scores in the domain of “Character and Virtue.”

You might make the correlation that many of the people who are unhappy are also struggling to identify their core values. Having a clear value system is essential to finding happiness. Your values are the things that ignite a fire within you and collectively act as a guiding light when you make decisions. Without knowing your values, it’s easy to feel lost, unhappy, and disengaged.

By identifying these two low-scoring domains and concluding that there’s a relationship between them, you now have the ability to devise a well-being program that’s customized to your population’s unique needs.

You might launch an intrinsic coaching program, which pairs your employees with a coach. This coach can help your employees identify their core values, set goals, and work through the obstacles standing in the way of the life they want.

After the program launches, you can use the Flourishing Index to track your employees’ improvement in the six human flourishing domains. Over time, you might notice that your employees’ “Happiness and Life Satisfaction” numbers are going up, leading to increased engagement in their lives — and their work.

What greater result is there than that?

To learn more about the new ways we’re helping people and organizations thrive, request a demo.