Spreading “Love” to Your Tech Team: Why Employee Happiness Matters

It’s not enough to avoid a non-toxic work culture if you want to retain top-notch technical talent. You have to show your employees that you care about them. The dearth of available talent and the swarm of open job opportunities has created a dynamic where employers need to take heed and do everything they can to attract, retain, and engage their technical employees. But where does employee happiness factor into this equation?

According to recent research led by the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, UK, workers are on average 13% more productive in weeks when they self-reported as being very happy, compared to weeks when people reported being very unhappy. If you want your IT department running smoothly and want your technical employees to be productive, you need to foster an environment that prioritizes their happiness.

Another compelling reason to invest in the happiness of your employees are the results of previous research by some of the same authors. They discovered that workers are happier when they’re paid better and are more secure. This may seem like a common sense element, but it further drives home the role that competitive compensation, transparency, and stability play in the happiness—and, therefore, the productivity—of any employees.

But understanding the importance of employee happiness is only half of the battle. How can you create a company culture and benefits package that actively increases your employees’ happiness? For technical professionals specifically, training and education benefits are vital because it saves your employees from having to invest their limited free time and money into keeping up with the latest technology and pays off ten-fold in the value they can add at their organization. For employees across the board, MetLife’s recent Employee Benefits Trends Study 2019—which surveyed thousands of full-time US workers about which emerging benefits would make them happiest—is a great place to look.

The top-ranking emerging benefit was, unsurprisingly, unlimited paid time off which a whopping 72% of respondents selected as one of the benefits they’d most want. Then rewards for healthy behavior, phased retirement, paid sabbaticals, and on-site free/subsidized services rounded out the top five list with over 60% of respondents listing each of these as emerging perks they’d value and see contributing to their happiness at work.

It’s easy to see why the refrain of the importance of competitive compensation, flexibility, work-life balance, education opportunities, and security is repeated so often. If your organization is looking to foster a happy technical team that sticks around for the long term, the research shows your investment in employee happiness will pay off in increased productivity and higher retention rates. Keep this research in mind and your company will be on the right track!