We’ve all dealt with an employee who was miserable. What a drag. It’s a negative and awkward experience. But happy employees? That makes all the difference. It’s upbeat, positive, and rewarding. If your employees are happy it’s likely your customers will be too. So, how do you make them happy and what does it actually mean for your business?

For this article, I scoured the internet for days reading dozens of articles and research blogs. I also used my own experience in business development.

What Makes Happy Employees


A happy environment spawns happy employees. Are all members of management treating others well? Are employees treating each other well? Ensure there’s a quick stop made to bullying, negative personalities, and policies that prohibit employees. Instead, empower your people. Get them more involved in the company. Encourage them to learn and give them the tools and materials to do so.

My recommendation is to reduce management staff as much as possible. Give your team mentors instead of bosses. Have positions of leadership that inspires by setting examples instead of management that barks orders.

Consider the type of decor, colors of paint, the comfort of workstations. What can you leverage to promote the culture you want? How can you improve efficiency in your team? Exercise bike? Yoga room? Rock climbing wall? Art and decor? Reading area? Do you provide refreshments? Think about what kinds of activities and visuals will increase the traits you want your employees to have.

Exercise is one of the best physical activities to promote creativity and stress relief. Consider having a small workout room in your facility

Pay & Benefits

Offer competitive and fair wages. Consider having a transparency policy where employees can freely discuss their wages. If this concerns you, it could mean your wages are unintentionally unfair. Small business owners cannot always afford vacation time, retirement plans, insurance, etc. But certainly you can give them holidays off, or a fair amount. Their birthday off as a paid day. A type of bonus structure. Remember that parts of the environment you provide will be part of the benefits your employees receive.


Happy employees need to hear from you. From their leaders and mentors. Provide honest feedback and positive criticism. Offer ways to help them improve. Ask them to provide their input. Give them a chance to rate their leaders and co-workers. Allow them the freedom to rate you and the company policies. The best thing you can do is allow great ideas from your team to become part of the culture.

For a company I worked for, I interviewed each employee to rate their bosses. I then met with each owner and shared the feedback, giving them a performance review and places where they could improve. It increased the happiness of the team. They felt heard and knew they were important.

Have a casual meeting with your team members one-on-one. Listen to them and get to know them. Let them get to know you.

Reward Your Team

There’s a LOT you can do without spending a lot, or any, money.

  • Give Praise to both Efforts and Results. Both are important and both require a lot of work.
  • Consider offering refreshments when you can.
  • Have a company cookout or potluck dinner
  • Offer a bonus or type of reward system for special accomplishments.
  • Have pizza parties or get-togethers outside of work.
  • Do holiday-themed events to keep the culture fun.
  • Show recognition through programs that display appreciation for your team
  • Consider friendly competitions among your team


Your employees will be happier if they feel they are valuable. They’ll feel valuable if you show you trust them. Give them the power to make decisions. Encourage them to use their judgment. Give them the tools to service each customer like it’s their own business. Allow them to bring you their ideas and share their opinions on the business, policies, operations, etc.

Give each employee a boundary they can work in based on their experience and skills. Listen to them. Forgive mistakes by using them as learning opportunities. Create a growth plan for each team member that’s implemented with each mentor. Remember too that YOU need to prove your loyalty and trust to them just as they have to do to you.

Empower each team member. Enhance their work experience. Engage them often. Enable them to make decisions

Benefits of Happy Employees

  • More Employee Loyalty
  • More Customer Loyalty
  • Longer Employment Periods
  • Reduced Churn Rate
  • Better Customer Experience
  • More Honesty
  • Greater Productivity
  • Better Attendance
  • Increase in stock prices by an average of 12%
  • Better and Stronger Communication


So, what do you think about your own efforts to produce happy employees? What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear more about your experiences. Hopefully, this article helped you spark some ideas that are ideal for your team. Share your thoughts with me check out more on LinkedIn.

Thanks for reading!