An HR manager quoted in Forbes claims that “today employees don’t want a career, they want an experience.” Have the demands of the workforce changed or are these natural expectations and reasonable requests of highly talented employees?

And what makes employees happy?

The New York Times article “Why You Hate Work” discusses four core needs, which need to be met in order for the employees to feel satisfied and fulfilled at work: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. Obviously, employees who view their job, as an overwhelming, depleting, and dispiriting experience will be less excited to get to the office. On the other hand, when they feel happy, employees are more motivated to do their job and feel more passionate about their role and assignments. Meanwhile, the top talents are usually happy when they assume demanding, but meaningful, creative and more rewarding roles with open and bottom-up communication.

Why should companies care about their employees’ happiness?

Tony Hsieh, author of the book “Delivering happiness: A Path to Profit, Passion and Purpose” suggests that employee happiness and experience at work should be perceived as a business model. According to him, it is possible to make employees and clients happy and improve their lives, which on its side will create unprecedented company success and of course, higher profits.

Happiness on the job can have such positive effect, only if it is tied with the right corporate or organizational culture and if the employees are kept actively engaged in their jobs. A research conducted by University of Pennsylvania also concluded that businesses with high levels of employee satisfaction outperform those without, proving that indeed, the employee experience and happiness matter not only to the employees, but also to the businesses!

Therefore, companies need to replace the overwhelmed and stressed work environment with a more fulfilling one, which can significantly improve the levels of employee happiness and positive work experience. By minimizing the number of emails and calls, avoiding any redundant information and distractions, or by stressing on an effective and productive management environment and on a culture of inclusions, they are already steps ahead in establishing a more pleasant workplace. Companies who take care of their employees’ experience more easily gain the employees’ trust, loyalty and commitment.

To keep their employees happy, the businesses should establish an environment, which fosters learning and growing. They can offer regular time for creative and strategic thinking and allow employees to work on assignments that they enjoy. Companies should have clearly set values, goals, objectives and mission with which the employees can easily connect.

They should often recognize the work and contributions of their employees, so that the employees can have a feeling of meaning and significance.

Easier said, than done. Yet, it is not impossible. According to a study of Nettimesolutions 76.5% of surveyed employees reported that their employers are actively working to create a positive employee experience.

Nettimesolutions also recommends that to improve the employee experience the companies should focus on better technology and simpler HR processes. As a result they will be able to enjoy other benefits associated with the positive experience at work, namely higher levels of motivation and engagement of staff, greater individual and business success, higher levels of employee satisfaction and well-being.

In conclusion, what employees actually deliver at work depends on their experience and level of happiness. The employee experience at work is extremely important to their job satisfaction and performance and should be analyzed by professionals who are responsible for developing employee engagement and retention strategies.

Thanks to 드림포유 for the picture (Flickr).