Why prioritizing employee happiness will help your small business prosper

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By Noah Rue

As a small business owner, you need all the help you can get. A well-known statistic is that 20% of small businesses fail within the first year, so you need to be on your toes and plan things just right so you can succeed. No matter what type of business you have, the first step in this plan should be to have happy employees.

On top of creating a more pleasant work atmosphere, happy workers will also improve your bottom line as well as the public’s perception of your organization. The best part is, it is easy to make the right efforts to get these excited and energized people in your business. Let’s look at ways your small company can thrive and how to get there.

For the success of your business

You want people to be happy when they come to work because those who are miserable likely already have one foot out the door. Those who are excited about returning to work day after day will likely stick around and not only do their jobs but do them better than their unhappy counterparts. According to the Management Training Institute, companies that have happier employees are known to outperform their competitors by 20% and have employees that are 12% more productive.

Happy employees can do wonders to create a positive impression of your business with the general public. If you work in customer service, having workers that are happy to be on the phones will create happier clients. When people call to have their questions answered, they want to speak to someone who responds as if they are their one and only customer, instead of talking to someone who sounds like they are just waiting to punch out for the day.

Workers who have pride in their job and the company that they work for will go above and beyond to help the business thrive. It is all about the growth mindset. If management goes above and beyond to show their employees that they are all one big team looking out for the success of the company, then they will have a workforce that is more empowered and committed to coming to work each day and giving 100%.

Happy employees save you money

Having a happy workforce can also improve your bottom line. Think about the amount of time and money you spend posting job listings online, interviewing potential candidates, having them complete all necessary paperwork, and then go through comprehensive training. Now, imagine having happy employees who don’t want to leave your organization and think about the money you’ll save. On top of that, when you have dependable employees, you can ask them to refer their friends for future positions, and you can have confidence that they will be solid candidates.

Also, when people show up for work and don’t call out, that reduces the costs necessary to try and cover the shift, bring in temporary workers, and pay out unnecessary sick pay. Sometimes, an employee may need to go to a doctor’s appointment or assist with childcare. If you can have a flexible schedule and show that you trust the employee to be gone but still complete their work, you will make that person even happier.

Going back to those customers, you want to make them happy as well, because unhappy customers cost the businesses in the US over 500 billion dollars per year. Just think about the revenue you lose when a customer goes elsewhere. These numbers may get you jumping in your seat, but the good news is that creating an enjoyable work environment for your workers is easier than it sounds.

How to have happy employees

They say that actions speak louder than words, so find new, exciting ways to show your employees that you care. Provide incentives for a job well done, like a gift card after a completed project or an extra vacation day as a reward for a long duration without calling out sick. If you have money in the budget, bring them out for a company retreat to a park or bowling alley.

Sometimes, all it takes to have a happy workforce is to show them that you care by providing a safe work environment. Not only does that mean finding a workplace free of dangerous substances, but it means being proactive by posting signage in stairways and above spills, having easily understandable emergency procedures in place and hosting safety meetings on a regular basis. That also means being there for struggling employees while working with HR to help them with their issues.

Then, of course, having good corporate benefits like comprehensive health insurance and a solid retirement plan will also keep them around and supplement their pay. Some companies are even looking at bigger benefits, like unlimited vacation or the opportunity to work from home. Consider your budget and offer what you can.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but happy employees are key for a successful small business. Make the effort now, and you will have dedicated employees for life.


Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.

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