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Why Employee Happiness Is Important 

by Joanne Zhang, WFM content contributor on Nov 11

Dynamic, refreshing, happiness-encouraging work environments are the place to be. Happy employees come with a plethora of fantastic benefits. The great news is that this can be achieved with love, care, and a well thought out strategy. One group of employees with great potential for high employee happiness are the shift-based workers. As facing the grunt of dissatisfied customers and working with irregular shifts characterise shift work, it almost seems like a lower employee happiness is unavoidable. We believe, however, that doesn’t have to be the case and that the benefits of it show why employee happiness should be a top priority.


Firstly, what is employee happiness? Employee happiness, simply put, is a measure of your workers’ contentedness with their job. It’s the idea that the people who serve as the face of your company get a feeling of satisfaction from their time on shift. 


There are many ways for you to support this too. From feedback schemes to team reward programmes, there’s a whole world of employee-happiness-boosting action out there. Not surprisingly, we think the most important and fundamental one is … rostering. 


The Benefits of Employee Happiness for Everyone

Why is employee happiness important, anyway? Well, happy employees are critical for organisational success. A satisfied employee produces many benefits for both the company and, obviously, for the happy person themselves. Here are some of the greatest benefits we’ve found:


Increasing Productivity and Profit: Research carried out by economists at the University of Warwick successfully demonstrated that happiness makes workers 12% more productive. People want to be engaged with what they do, and a good mood can really boost that. Productivity then directly relates to profit. As little as 100 unhappy employees in your business can cost your organisation $390 000 per year due to lost productivity. It’s certainly an area worth investigating.


Higher Creativity: Customer service means interacting with customers in real-time, and creative responses can be a huge asset. There are generally no scripts, and while there may be protocols for most interactions, sometimes a creative solution or response can really stick in a customer’s mind. Happy employees are more creative because happiness increases mental flexibility


Lower Turnover: When employees are unhappy, they leave. Turnover is expensive. Hiring and training are costly while watching colleagues go is demotivating for employees who stay. Turnover analyses reveal that overall dissatisfaction is the reason for many people choosing to quit. Retaining workers helps to create a better overall working environment. Investing in keeping people happy means avoiding having to hire and train new workers.


Increased Customer Satisfaction: As Ashira Prossack writes for Forbes, putting the employees first is important because “employees are the driving factor behind customer satisfaction. Employee interactions set the tone for a positive or negative customer experience.” Facing customers on a daily basis can be tiring. However, a happy, satisfied worker is able to keep their energy high and do this to a high standard, consistently. Whether they’re being served in a restaurant or from behind the till, customers are sure to notice a happy employee.


Increased Safety: Happy, engaged employees are on-task and diligent. In certain shift-based sectors, such as the restaurant industry, there are many vital health and safety protocols which must be adhered to. A 2016 meta-study by Gallup examined 1.8 million employees in 230 organizations, across 49 industries for safety incidents. They found that those who scored highest in employee engagement data had 70% fewer safety incidents at work than those who scored lowest in employee engagement. This is because a happy, engaged employee is aware of their surroundings, and bought-in to the safety tasks they must adhere to. 


How Can Rostering Contribute to Employee Happiness?

There are many ways for employers to ensure that employee happiness is high. Rostering is one of them. Studies indicate that for shift-workers, happiness increases when they have “worker-friendly” schedule arrangements. This leads to increased satisfaction, less stress, lower insecurity and less mental pressure. 


Having “worker-friendly” shifts usually means taking into account the employee’s work time preferences and training. It also means releasing the schedule in good time while avoiding last-minute changes. Atypical shift schedules, unpaid overtime and unexpected shifts have been shown to reduce employee levels of working time happiness. Overall, the link between rostering and happiness is great because it’s something that you have a lot of control over. 



Working hard or hardly working? Well, that all depends on your employee happiness and your rosters! With some time and effort, any business can be calibrated to get the best engagement, productivity and happiness from their employees. 


Rostering is a fundamental element of this – if someone is simply unhappy, overtired and overworked, they won’t be able to perform to their best. Rostering doesn’t have to be difficult to get right, in fact: it is an empowering tool for ensuring that employees are happy and satisfied during shift work. It’s something which, for better or worse, has to be confirmed anyway, and getting it right can have a huge positive impact on the happiness of your employees.