Reading Signals: How to Assess if Your Staff are Happy

Reading Signals: How to Assess if Your Staff are Happy

It’s no secret that happy staff are productive staff. Some of the most successful companies in the world have recognised this and now go out of their way to make sure their employees have a positive mindset and look forward to coming into work. When you realise that some of your workers are unhappy, there are a variety of ways you can remedy this (e.g. by investing in their education through a company such as HBA Learning, to give them some extra motivation and the sense that they are a valuable members of your team). However, the tricky part can sometimes be identifying which of your staff members are already happy, and which ones need that extra boost to reach their full potential.


One definite warning sign that staff may not be satisfied is a lack of questions being asked. Does this seem counterintuitive? It isn’t. An unhappy employee will go about their work, mindlessly following their instructions and protocols, never stopping to question the way things are done. Which could be fine… if your processes are perfect (but chances are they’re not). A happy worker, on the other hand, will be constantly on the lookout for ways to improve things for the company – and that’s the kind of critical thinking that makes an employee truly valuable. Be sure to make each of your team members aware that their thoughts and ideas are valued by you and the business, as this will encourage them to think outside the box and feel happier within their role.

Other signals to keep an eye out for in terms of communication include: a lack of polite communication between co-workers; negative communication (e.g. complaining about work) between co-workers; and excessive chatting in the workplace (this can often be a sign that staff are unhappy with the work they are doing and are therefore looking for ways to avoid it).

Arrival/Leaving Times

A great sign that your staff are happy is if they consistently come into work early and don’t kick up a fuss if they leave slightly late. However, the opposite is also true. If a staff member is often late and makes a big deal about leaving right on time (if not earlier) every day, this is sometimes a sign that they are not satisfied with their role. You can monitor arrival/leaving times as a method for assessing how happy your staff are, but – if you do so – also be wary of other external factors that might be contributing (e.g. sleeping problems causing lateness, and children and other commitments forcing an employee to be mindful of always leaving on time).

Productivity and Results

As mentioned in this article’s intro, a happy workplace produces the best results. If the standard of work or the speed at which it is done in your workplace is slipping, this could be a sign that your staff are unhappy. Be careful to consider alternative reasons for a drop in productivity (such as a new campaign being more difficult, or an increase in workloads), but also be mindful that keeping your staff happy is a sure way to keep productivity levels as high as possible.

Happiness is valuable in your workplace, so it makes sense to strive for it. Use the three main categories of signals above to analyse whether your workplace is a positive environment or a downer for employees.