The Government has spent nearly £600,000 since during the pandemic to measure workplace happiness. This substantial investment was used for employee engagement surveys in order to discover the expectations and desires of civil servants. The Government claim this research will enable them to “maximise the number of people working in the office”.
Below, we discuss the Government’s actions in more detail and explore why it’s crucial for employers to address workplace happiness. Also, we look at similar measures companies can take to understand what their employees want.
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The Government’s Workplace Happiness Initiative
The initiative to measure workplace happiness began during the pandemic and was run by the Government Property Agency (GPA). The GPA are an executive body of the Cabinet Office that improves work practices and workplaces for civil servants.
Leesman, a third-party consultancy firm, has received around £590,000 from the GPA to conduct research and provide “actionable insight”. On one occasion in 2020, Leesman received nearly £90,000 to investigate how lockdown restrictions had affected civil servants.
Within this research, questions were put before civil servants to understand their feelings concerning the workplace community and work-life balance. Yet, following the pandemic, the Government claim the focus of the workplace happiness surveys has shifted. They’ve stated the questions no longer focus on working from home; instead, they consider steps to entice employees back to the office. As such, they hope to maximise the effectiveness of office spaces to deliver “true value to taxpayers”.
Why Measuring Workplace Happiness is Important
The employee engagement surveys conducted for the Government to understand workplace happiness were pricey, but they don’t have to be. What’s more, the cost shouldn’t put employers off, as when utilised correctly, they can prove to be an essential tool.
This is because such research can help companies understand what their employees need and want. They can uncover the strengths within a workplace and areas that require enhancement to improve the office culture.
Furthermore, by questioning employees and listening to their feedback, businesses can make their employees feel valued and appreciated. As a result, an employee’s productivity, motivation and retention rate could increase. This not only bodes well for an employee to progress in their career, but it helps to propel company success.
Measuring Employee Engagement in the Real World
Understanding workplace happiness through employee engagement surveys can positively impact a company in several ways. However, before conducting such surveys, many elements must be considered to ensure the research is effective.
For starters, these surveys should follow some form of continuous cycle to allow ongoing improvements to be made. This could be monthly, annually, or some other period of time deemed appropriate. Moreover, the data collected should be of a manageable volume and analysis-friendly to enable actionable improvements to be made quickly.
With regard to the surveys themselves, it’s advisable to keep the questions short and specific. Also, it’s wise to allow for responses on a sliding scale (such as strongly disagree, disagree and so on) to keep things simple. This will help ensure the analysis of the data is swift once collected.
However, keep in mind that allowing for some open-ended feedback during the survey can be helpful. This is because it enables employees to speak their minds, which could make them feel valued and may address issues previously overlooked.
Analysing Workplace Happiness
Once employee engagement surveys have been conducted, employers can assess workplace happiness in various ways. Among other things, analysis of the collected data could help employers understand:
- Opinions that trend amongst particular demographics
- The general consensus about leadership and management within the workplace
- How satisfied employees are with their jobs
- The mental health of employees and how effective current support is
- How employees want to develop in their careers and if the training currently available is effective
Once this information has been gathered, employers will have actionable insight to improve workplace happiness wherever required. As mentioned earlier, this could improve employee productivity, retention and many other things.
If comfortable and confident, employers could conduct employee engagement surveys themselves. Among other things, this would help reduce costs. However, if an employer would prefer support in carrying out the research, they could turn to a specialist third party as the Government did.
In conclusion, despite the Government spending a considerable amount to learn about workplace happiness, such research can be vitally important to an organisation’s success. If carried out correctly, it can help uncover the desires of employees to boost productivity and improve retention rates. So, if an employer doesn’t currently carry out employee engagement surveys, now might be the time to start.
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