Learning and Development professionals have understood for some time now that happiness and wellbeing are important to increasing employee productivity and loyalty as well as reducing absenteeism. However, defining happiness at work is not straightforward. After all, what brings joy and fulfilment varies widely from person to person.

While a salary increase can boost happiness, and for many is extremely important, particularly during this cost of living crisis, it is not the only measure of happiness at work. Long-term workplace contentment is often rooted in other essential factors: purpose, belonging, recognition for a job well done, and, of course, a harmonious work-life balance.

Employees flourish when they perceive their work as valuable and recognised as such by their organisation. Tangible appreciation of our contributions instils a profound sense of purpose in us all. Equally, aligning an individual’s work with the company’s mission fosters a deeper connection, a powerful sense of loyalty and a feeling of being part of something worthwhile.

Work-life balance is another cornerstone of happiness at work, yet its interpretation varies among individuals. Some employees may relish the opportunity to immerse themselves in work and socialise with colleagues during their limited free time. In contrast, others may cherish a clearly defined work scope that they can leave behind at the end of the day. Learning and development professionals are becoming more aware of these diverse perspectives and providing support programs that cater to both ends of the spectrum.

The classic narrative often champions employees who embrace continuous learning and development. However, what about those who adore their work, excel at it, and relish their current methods? Isn’t that OK? Should they be compelled to embark on new learning journeys? Perhaps the answer lies in understanding that contentment in one’s role can be equally valuable, meaning organisations could benefit from respecting this aspect, offering opportunities for growth but not imposing change on those who have already found their niche.

Innovative businesses embrace and cater to this diversity, fostering an environment where employees can find their own path to workplace happiness, whether through autonomy, purpose, or contentment in their chosen role.

International Week of Happiness at Work