It’s easy to spot satisfied employees: They don’t dread going to work, they communicate well with their managers, perhaps plays on the company’s sports team, and like seeing their co-workers outside of the office.
Essentially, a happy employee is engaged.
What you may not know is that people who are happy at their jobs are also much more likely to be promoted — and consequently make more money.
In one study, companies with 60%-70% employee engagement boasted an average shareholder’s return of 24.2%. When employee engagement dropped to between 49%-60%, shareholder return fell to only 9.1%. When less than a quarter of employees were considered engaged in their job, companies actually suffered a negative shareholder return.
This makes sense if you think about it: Satisfied employees tend to promote their place of employment, which increases customer loyalty and brings in more business. In fact, 78% of engaged employees said they would recommend their respective place of employment when asked in a 2013 Gallup report. This number drops to only 13% when employees are not engaged.
Your employer’s money is your money
When employees are happy at their jobs, they make their businesses more money, and some employers are starting to realize it works the other way, too.
QuikTrip is one example: the company gives its employees money in order to make money. The concept is simple — employees who make higher wages are happier and, because they’re being treated with care and respect, are likely to pass that treatment onto their customers.
And it works. QuikTrip’s sales per square foot of store beat the industry average by 50%, and its gas sales are twice as high. QuikTrip employees are more likely to stay in their jobs, too, which reduces store costs.
Still, it’s important for companies to remember not to blindly throw money at employees and expect them to be immediately happier. At TaskUs, we’ve studied the effects of great facilities, amazing benefits, and authentic connections to leadership to increase job enjoyment. Every company is different, and each company has to find what makes its employees uniquely happy.
So if you don’t love your job, but you’d like to be on the receiving end of this “happiness equals money” equation, here are two ways you can make that happen:
Though it may seem obvious, the fact remains that managers won’t know until you tell them. You must tell them how much you love your work, what you love about it, and how you want to be given more responsibility. Your enthusiasm for those things you do like about your job will draw positive attention and improve your relationships at work.
At the same time, it’s important your manager also knows what you don’t necessarily love about your job. Be tactful in how you approach this subject, and don’t complain without offering solutions (or about things your manager doesn’t have control over).
At our company, we’ve found that employees involved in activities and clubs outside of daily work are 24% more likely to promote our company. We encourage and support all sorts of company groups and clubs — everything from chess clubs to dance groups — and encourage employees to connect with each other outside of their daily jobs.
Connecting to your manager is vital as well. Let him or her know you’re invested in your work and eager to learn and take on more responsibility.
Consider Steve, an employee who’s been with us for a little more than two years. In his time at TaskUs, he moved his way up from associate controller to controller. That said, he also almost left the company six months into his tenure. Steve had a hard time connecting to the larger strategic direction — we admittedly didn’t do a solid job cultivating that, and he didn’t actively seek it out — but he stuck with us, thanks to guidance and understanding on his new manager’s part.
By building a stronger connection with his direct manager, Steve became much more engaged and happier in his position — and he’s been promoted twice since then. Connecting to leadership is one of the most valuable and important things an employee can do to increase his or her satisfaction level.
The 2013 Gallup report found that disengaged employees cost companies between $450-$550 billion per year — and that’s just in the United States. The top 1% of productive workers can make a company about $5,000 extra per year, but a worker who is unhappy enough to become toxic can cost a company more than $12,000 in a single year. Unhappy workers are always on the lookout for a new job, and employee turnover is extremely expensive for a company.
Employees: Your employers need to keep you happy to continue to increase their profit. Be sure they know it. Be eager to work, be clear about what does (and does not) make you happy in your job, and help your managers and supervisors know what they can do to make your job satisfaction even higher. When they really understand how important it is — and when you do a good job of teaching them how to keep you happy — you’ll begin to see the magic happen.