What Makes Employees Happy?

Company culture is a complex thing. It’s like an iceberg. Often the visible symbols – the funky furniture, the foosball table, the in-house café – get confused with what really matters. It’s the stuff below the waterline that actually matters most.

Human motivation is even more complex.

If you read any study about what makes people stay at a company, pay and benefits are seldom at the top of the list. Instead, you often see things like having great colleagues, doing meaningful and challenging work, having a voice, and working for a company that makes a difference.

People rarely join a company in a ‘disengaged’ state of mind. Poorly run companies do that to people over time.

One of the greatest ways to make people happy at work is simple: tell them the story about what the company stands for, what it is trying to achieve, how it is going to get there and what every individual’s contribution is; the role they play.

In simple, clear, easy to understand language. And make sure every system, process and communication lines up to that story – and certainly doesn’t contradict it.

Sounds simple enough, but few companies do it well. Show me a company where people are inspired by a purpose, an ambition, and the role they play, and I’ll show you a company with happy people.

Even if they don’t have funky furniture and foosball tables.