Radical Ways HR Departments Can Improve Workplace Happiness


Almost all the articles out there on the internet about improving HR revolve around productivity.

They’re either concerned with ways to make HR departments themselves more productive. Or they’re interested in how HR can make employees more productive.

Rarely, however, do articles ask what HR departments can do to improve workplace happiness.

This pattern reflects the priorities of the HR world. Their priority is to find new ways of pushing paper faster. It’s not, primarily, to foster a sense of well-being throughout the company.

This is unfortunate. In many ways, workplace well-being is one of the biggest assets of a company.

When employees are healthy and in the right state of mind, businesses can go anywhere. Just look at what unicorn startups like Airbnb and Uber have achieved by fostering great working environments.

So what can HR departments do?


#1 Give Staff A Line Of Communication

The government recently collected some data on workplace illness and stress. Their study found that stress was responsible for 35 percent of all work-related cases of poor health.

It also found that 45 percent of all working days lost were as a result of stress. Depression and anxiety also took up a significant chunk of the total time spent off work.

It implies that these is a well-being crisis in the workplace. And yet, few companies are doing much about. The best way to deal with the problem, according to e-days HR consultants, is to open a line of communication.

Employees need a space in which they can come forward and talk about the issues they’re having with work. Sure, this takes a little extra tact on the part of HR departments.

But employees who feel that the business is on their side are less likely to take long absences, or not return at all.


#2 Give Employees A Sense That They Are Valued

HR departments are responsible for managing staff holiday time and tracking performance. But rarely do they come up with ways to make employees feel more valued.

Often, human resources are just focused on the process, rather than the person. This needs to change. HR departments need to start focusing more on the “human” element of their business, and less on the “resources” part.

For instance, the best HR departments don’t just track performance. They now actively reward excellence. Extra holiday time, glass awards and even career boosts can help make employees feel more valued.


#3 Foster Fairness

The Balance recently reported on what employees care about in their working environment. It turns out that by far the biggest issue was poor management.

Employees ranked having a bad manager as one of the most significant determinants of their well-being. In other words, bad managers can ruin employee’s lives.

Bad managers are bad for businesses too because they reduce employee retention rates.


Final Thoughts…

So what can HR departments do about this? Well, one answer is to go through a thorough vetting process before introducing a new manager to the team.

HR departments need to come up with interview practices and procedures to eliminate the bullies.  So what are your thoughts, comments, and ideas.  Feel free to share them below.

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