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Why Making Employees “Happy” Isn’t Enough

Why Making Employees “Happy” Isn’t Enough

A recent Gallup study revealed that, “Measuring workers’ contentment or happiness levels, as well as catering to their wants, often fails to achieve the underlying goal of employee engagement: improved business outcomes.”

It would appear that employees want something more than just “happiness”, and employers must find that something more in order to keep workplace interest, inspiration, morale, and productivity high. In our 30 years of helping corporations both large and small find the right incentives that keep employees motivated and engaged, we’ve found that every employee deserves more than just an annual performance survey to keep them going. It is important now more than ever that you find out what matters most to your employees and create the workplace culture and incentives that will speak directly to them as individuals.

Some Incentives to Consider

Interesting incentives to get that extra edge from workers can consist of the following: paid vacation for groups, retirements savings plans, remote work arrangements, support for college tuition, wellness programs, and financial education programs. Let’s take a look at each of these.

Group Travel

As we discussed in What You Need to Know About Travel Incentive Programs, 91% of employees agree that an incentive to travel is highly motivating. We’ve found over and over again that when you create a goal or reward oriented around the promise of traveling to somewhere amazing (Aruba, Argentina, Europe…you name it!), you’ll ignite something special in your employees. They’ll not only be more productive, but they’ll have something to look forward to at work.

Financial Education

Money (or the lack of it) is a source of stress for many people. Helping your employees to become more secure in their financial status can help eliminate the root causes of this stress. One incentive would be to offer a retirement savings program wherein you match $0.50 to an employee’s dollar. You can also help your employees educate themselves on proper money management, especially debt management, by offering an in-house financial education program.

Remote Work Arrangement

In this digital age, much work can be done from home via computers and Wi-Fi connections, teleconferencing, and the like. With this kind of flexibility, your employees will feel freer and less confined to the drudgery of a 9-to-5 day spent sitting at a desk. They’ll appreciate the freedom to be able to pick up their kids from school, to be there for someone in the event of an emergency, and to even get more done from the comfort of their own homes.

College Tuition Support

Some workers may not have had the luxury of higher education. They may want to pursue higher studies so you can probably match part of their tuition. They can also take short-term online courses or night courses.

Wellness Programs

Want your employees to be truly happy? Create an environment of healthy living at the workplace. Employees who are healthier (this includes lower stress levels, healthier body weights, etc.) are overwhelmingly happier—and it’s something that goes beyond a FitBit challenge. Offer to pay part of their gym or fitness program fees. Bring in a massage therapist for an afternoon of chair massage. Invite nutritional and fitness counselors at the workplace to coach them. Offer a wellness retreat in a cool location. And be attuned to their stress and mental health states. It can all make a big difference.


Stop trying to gauge employee satisfaction solely with arbitrary surveys and yearly performance reviews. While these two tools can be helpful, they’re not enough to tell you if your employees are happy in the truest sense of the word.

MTI Events can help create a proper and practical incentive program for you and your employees to increase participation and engagement in the workplace. Contact us today to learn more!

 

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