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The Workplace Happiness Report - 2018

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An examination of happiness levels amongst UK workers in various industries, with focus on which types of businesses have the happiest working environments, how businesses can promote happiness amongst their employees and how to avoid a culture of 'forced fun'.

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The Workplace Happiness Report - 2018

  1. 1. The Workplace Happiness Survey One4all Rewards January 2018
  2. 2. Executive Summary • The average UK worker rates their current happiness levels at work as 6.81 out of 10 • Almost 1 in 4 (22%) described themselves as 8/10 in terms of their happiness at work • Just 13% of respondents said they would score their current happiness at work as below 5/10 • Micro businesses (those with 1 – 4 employees) have the happiest staff, rating themselves as 7.41 out of 10. Almost 1 in 3 (31%) of workers at these types of companies scored 10 out of 10 • 39% say that if they are happy in the role or place of work, they will work harder • Despite there being a clear commercial benefit in monitoring employee morale, just 21% of workers believe that their boss or manager cares about how happy they are in their jobs – with employees in manufacturing being least likely to believe this is the case (11%) • Workers reported that being thanked by their bosses more often when they have done a good job was more likely to make them happier at work (21%) than if they received a promotion (20%)
  3. 3. Foreword Positive employee morale is an essential cornerstone of a successful business – an unhappy workforce is not only disengaged but unproductive and unprofitable. As such, it is vital that employers regularly take stock of the human side of their business as much as they do the health of the financial side of their business. This can be done in a number of ways – from one to ones and suggestion boxes to regular employee surveys. Here at One4all, rewarding hard-working employees and maintaining positive morale is our business. We decided to run a happiness health check on the UK workforce, to ascertain where the nation’s morale is currently at – and give employers a helping hand by identifying those pockets of workers (if any) whose moods are not quite where they should be, breaking down current job satisfaction levels by age, gender, industry and salary. This research is based on a survey of 1,024 workers in full time employment across the UK. We hope you find the findings insightful. Alan Smith, UK Managing Director, One4all Rewards
  4. 4. Why you should care about employee morale 39% of UK workers say that if they are happy in their role or place of work, they will work harder. Almost the same number (38%) say that their happiness impacts on their performance at work, including their productivity and the results that they get. Almost 1 in 3 (30%) say they are more willing to put in longer hours if they are happy in their job. Despite there being a clear commercial benefit in monitoring employee morale, just 21% of workers believe that their boss or manager cares about how happy they are in their jobs – with employees in manufacturing being least likely to believe this is the case (11%). And even fewer say their boss actually asks them if they are happy in their job in performance reviews and one-to-ones. Almost 1 in 3 (30%) say that they will consider leaving a business if they are unhappy. The top five industries whose workers are least likely to believe their boss cares about how happy they are at work: 1. Utilities – 11% 2. Manufacturing – 12% 3. Sales and customer service – 14% 4. Hospitality and leisure – 16% 5. Administrative and support services / retail (joint) – both 18%
  5. 5. The happiness question Overall, the UK workforce’s morale is currently scoring a positive but not exactly ecstatic 6.81 out of 10 – and so businesses clearly have some work to do in order for the UK to establish a truly harmonious and engaged body of workers. But the true picture is not as bad as it seems, as almost 1 in 4 (22%) rated their current work happiness levels as 8 out of 10, and just a small minority of workers (13%) scored less than 5 out of 10. Surprisingly, older workers – those aged 55+ specifically – scored highest, with an average rating of 6.91 out of 10 on average. Employees in the north are generally happier, with workers in the North East (7.09), North West (6.95) and Scotland (7.06) all rating above average. Northern Ireland has the best average rating, with workers rating their happiness in work at an average of 7.16. 6.8/10Average employee morale
  6. 6. Industry benchmarks Naturally, levels of job satisfaction and contentedness vary according to industry. Those working in the marketing, communications and advertising industries are currently by far the happiest workers in the UK, rating their current happiness levels a glowing 8.13 out of 10. These were closely followed by those in the professional services sector (7.52), trades such as construction and plumbing (7.41) and tourism or travel (7.32). Workers in education (7.12) and manufacturing (6.90) completed the top five. Interestingly, workers employed by the very smallest of companies – micro businesses with a maximum of four members of staff – are happier than employees of companies of any other size, scoring 7.41 out of 10 on average. In fact, almost 1 in 3 (31%) of these workers scored a glowing 10 out of 10 – suggesting the job satisfaction that comes with having such a direct impact on a business can speak volumes.
  7. 7. The recipe for a happy workforce Britain’s workers are under no illusion about their primary driver for working. Indeed, when asked which aspects of their jobs played the most important role in their happiness, the remuneration received for the work they do was by far the most popular answer, with 38% acknowledging this was the case. 1 in 5 (20%) said it was their annual leave allocation and 13% said it was the financial bonuses they received. However, there were other, softer factors which also scored highly. Indeed, the relationships they have with their colleagues scored almost as highly as salary, with 37% citing this as a key aspect of their morale in the workplace. And 1 in 4 (25%) said it was their relationships with management and bosses which made the key difference. These findings suggest that the social aspects of work can make a huge difference to how happy a worker is – and certainly make the case for companies investing in team building and at the very least carefully considering the social dynamics of their workforce.
  8. 8. Job satisfaction: One size doesn’t fit all Naturally, the key drivers of happiness at work vary according to the individuals in question – but there were some consistent trends in the data. For example, social factors were more important for women than men in the workplace. Indeed, women were 10% more likely to have their morale at work impacted by their relationships with colleagues. Meanwhile women were 4% more likely than men to consider the actual work that they do a key contributing factor to their day to day job satisfaction. Interestingly, this sense of purpose also has a bigger impact on the morale of those who are at later stages in life. For example, those aged 45 – 54 (47%) and 55+ (41%) felt this was the single biggest factor for them, scoring it higher than even the salary and/or pay they receive for their work. Those in the smallest businesses felt most rewarded by this element, with 1 in 3 (34%) citing it as a key happiness driver for them.
  9. 9. Job satisfaction: One size doesn’t fit all Employers looking to maintain a healthy level of morale amongst employees who value their work should place greater emphasis on regular one-to-ones and performance reviews than remuneration. For small to medium sized businesses with between 5 – 500 employees, team building is also important. 40% of workers at these types of enterprises placed highest importance on the relationships they had with colleagues. Meanwhile, financial rewards such as salary were the most significant factor for those in the largest of businesses (500+ staff). The biggest contributing factors to employee happiness (by company size): Micro businesses (1 – 4 employees) The nature of the work I do – 34% Small businesses (5 – 50 employees) Relationships with colleagues – 40% Medium businesses (51 – 500 employees) Relationships with colleagues – 35% Large businesses (500+ employees) Salary / pay – 48%
  10. 10. A happiness injection for every kind of worker As part of the research, we also surveyed UK workers about what – if indeed anything – they felt their employers could do to make them happier. While awarding pay rises of either 25% or 10% would improve the satisfaction of the greatest numbers of workers (44% and 33% respectively), the findings did indicate that boosting morale does not necessarily have to mean costly outlays. Interestingly, feeling valued and receiving thanks from their bosses for good work (21%) was actually more likely to improve employees’ morale than receiving a promotion (20%) – and in fact, the same number (20%) said that simply receiving increased recognition for the work they do and the contribution they make to the company would have this effect.
  11. 11. What would be most likely to increase how happy you are in your current role and company? 1. 25% increase in salary – 45% 2. 10% increase in salary – 33% 3. Being thanked more often by my boss when I do good work – 21% 4. A promotion – 20% 5. Increased recognition from my boss for the work I do and the contribution I make – 20% 6. Receiving benefits linked to my work (e.g. discounts, subsidised and/or free gym membership) – 18% 7. Receiving more opportunities for training and development and regular treats (e.g. small rewards linked to my work) – both 18% 8. Better facilities in the workplace (e.g. air conditioning) – 15% 9. Having less work to do, having a nicer office / workspace / working environment and receiving better company communications and updates (e.g. on business growth, performance, etc.) – all 12% 10. Having better friendships with colleagues – 11%
  12. 12. The try-hard trap While the data shows that workers do respond to being rewarded and incentivised, simply throwing budget at employee morale is not necessarily the answer – improving the workforce’s happiness requires careful consideration, as many workers report having experienced instances of bosses trying too hard. In fact, almost half (46%) of workers report having been made to participate in elements of ‘forced fun’ – i.e. events which were designed to be enjoyable, but were actually awkward. Team building events were the most likely to be considered ‘forced fun’, with more than half of workers (52%) feeling this way. Surprisingly, 40% of workers consider Christmas parties to be examples of ‘forced fun’ and say they would typically avoid them. And 1 in 4 (24%) even believe that after work drinks are a little too much like organised fun. Away days and weekends away with work were the work events least likely to prompt this kind of cynicism, with just 19% considering these to be ‘forced fun’. What kinds of activities organised or suggested by management do you consider to be typical examples of forced fun that you’d rather avoid? 1. Team building events – 52% 2. Christmas parties – 40% 3. Work nights out – 28% 4. Work lunches and after work drinks (join) – both 25% 5. Away days – 19%
  13. 13. The key to avoiding forced fun The evidence suggests that those employers who want to avoid employee events being perceived as ‘forced fun’ should avoid making attendance compulsory, as this was the number one aspect that made workers disliked (45%). Indeed, allowing organic attendance and social integration at work events was also a good way to ensure these types of occasions are received in the spirit in which they are intended, as being forced to mix or socialise with certain people – such as via fixed seating plans or groups – was an issue for 35%. Meanwhile, inviting employees to get involved with activity planning – or even simply encouraging suggestions as to venues, activities and tasks – was another good strategy, as those organised by management without any consultation with (30%) or consideration for attendees’ interests (29%) were commonly met with cynicism. It is also important for workers that management arrange these types of initiatives to take place on company time as having to give up free time such as annual leave (31%) and lunch breaks (30%) was also a no-no for respondents.
  14. 14. How forced is the fun in British businesses? 1 in 4 (25%) have been forced to sit and/or mingle with designated people, as specified by management. 23% have had work and/or training based activities or discussions during what was billed as a fun social event. 31% have been made to pay either a partial or full amount of the cost of their attendance. 55% have had to attend an event or activity in their free time – such as at the weekend, during their lunch break or in the evening outside of working hours. Almost 1 in 10 (9%) have had to use their annual leave in order to attend a work event. Financial services businesses (88%) are the most controlling when it comes to events and activities within the workplace. Administrative and support services businesses were the least likely (41%) to impose compulsory activities on staff, closely followed by sales and customer service (39%) and companies within the manufacturing and trades (both 37%) industries.
  15. 15. Conclusion While the UK workforce is – on the whole – averaging out with a healthy level of employee morale, there is some work to do to bring pockets of the workforce into a better space; not least because the data has clearly shown that job satisfaction is directly linked to productivity and the quality of results. What is clear to see, however, is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving morale in the workplace, and employers need to give careful consideration to what will boost the happiness of different types of workers. It is encouraging to see – in particular for businesses with smaller budgets - that this does not necessarily have to mean costly pay rises or employee initiatives. Indeed, the research shows that even the simple act of a manager or boss expressing their gratitude for a workers’ efforts, or making a concerted effort to acknowledge hard work or a job well done, can have a positive impact on staff morale. Of course, those who do choose to invest in events or activities in order to improve job satisfaction and employees’ enjoyment of work will also reap the benefits – but consideration needs to be given to how these are organised and implemented, in order to avoid being received sceptically or being seen to be peddling ‘forced fun.’ If you have any questions about the research or how to improve employee morale within your organisation, One4all Rewards are industry experts in benefits and rewards and are here to help. Working with over 6,000 businesses of all sizes nationwide, we help to transform customer and employee relationships through successful rewards and incentive schemes. For more information about how to increase employee morale or reward your staff, call 0207 608 2008 or email us at corpsales@one4allgiftcard.co.uk.

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