The Latest UK Employee Happiness Survey & How A Company’s Bottom Line Is Affected

As part of our February #loveyourjob campaign we are taking a look at the latest UK employee happiness survey. A recent report has been published that surveyed UK employees to find out why they were unhappy in their current jobs and what would improve their happiness.

Employee Happiness Survey

The Latest UK Employee Happiness Survey – Reasons For Unhappiness

According to the UK employee happiness survey by Investors In People, ‘Job Exodus Trends: 2016 Employee Sentiment Poll’, nearly a third of employees say they are unhappy in their jobs because of a combination of poor management (43%) and not feeling valued (39%). The third highest factor for employee unhappiness is unsatisfactory pay (38%), so pay is important but not the most important factor in employee happiness.

The survey respondents were asked to choose between two scenarios – a 3% pay rise, in line with recent UK increases, or a different non-remuneration benefit:

  • a third (34%) said they would prefer a more flexible approach to working hours
  • nearly a third (28%) said they would rather have a clear career progression route
  • a quarter (24%) would rather their employer invested in their training and development more


Other factors that affected employee unhappiness in the employee happiness survey were: 34% said they were not enjoying the work itself, 29% complained of no career progression, 23% due to the hours they work, 22% lack of training, 15% not getting on with their colleagues or management and 15% complained of lack of benefit.


Why Companies Should Take Note Of Employee Unhappiness

Employee happiness affects  an organisation’s bottom line but still it is not being taken seriously enough by companies.

The Happiness Institute is an Australian-based organisation that provides services such as executive coaching and corporate consulting. Timothy Sharp, the founder says, “Happy workers are better workers. Positive workplaces have higher levels of engagement which goes directly to performance and productivity, innovation and creativity, team work and collaboration. Positive organizations attract and keep better employees far more effectively. Ultimately, all of this adds up to greater profitability.”

Disengaged employees have “checked out” and going through the motions rather than engaging with the company and their co-workers. Disengagement leads to poorer customer service, less productivity, more absenteeism and employee turnover

For example, Gallup estimates active employee disengagement costs the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year.

“Business units with highly engaged workers (in the top quartile of all business units) achieve 22 percent higher profit in comparison to those with fewer engaged workers (in the bottom quartile),” According to Jim Harter, chief scientist of workplace management and well-being for Gallup.

employee happiness survey

What Would Improve Employee Happiness

According to the employee happiness survey by the Investors In People, there were factors that improve the employees unhappiness. When asked what one thing their employer could do to increase their happiness, the respondents said just wanted to be told ‘thank you’ more (13%), more flexible working hours (9%) and more clarity on their career progression options (6%).

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People: “Improved salaries over recent months means that pay is less of a gripe for UK workers. But longstanding issues around poor management and how valued people feel in their work continue to make UK workers miserable.  We know that bad leadership alone costs the UK £39 billion a year*. If employers addressed these factors, they would have a more committed workforce and far fewer resources tied up in constant recruitment drives. As the economy improves, many employers run the risk of losing their valuable, skilled staff.”

Paul continued: “Small things can make a big difference. Feeling valued, understanding their role in the organisation and how they can grow with an organisation are all big concerns for UK workers.  Saying thank you, involving employees in decisions and giving them responsibility over their work are basic ways to make staff happier, and more likely to stay.  Employers also win, with a more committed workforce, higher retention and a clearer view of the future.”

20th March is the United Nations official ‘International Day Of Happiness’ which is a perfect day for companies to start thinking more about how they affect their employees happiness and what they can do to improve it.