3 ways you can improve your team happiness at work

[email protected]
Managing Director
iOpener Institute for People and Performance
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People who are happy at work are more creative, resilient and productive than their unhappy at work colleagues. Data[1] shows that the happiest employees report feeling energised circa 75% of their work time. This compares with about 15% for our least happy colleagues. And we all know it’s tough to get stuff done if your energy is low. Whilst this is interesting, the question we all want answered is, what can I do about it?  Here’s what:

1. Build Trust

Trust is at the heart of every great team. Without trust, there is no team. Gen Y-ers who have the most trust in the vision of their organisation’s leaders have 57% less intention to quit than those who have the least trust[2]. Establishing a culture of trust has been shown to increase a number of positive work outcomes (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002). This includes a clear increase in performance (Bartam & Casimir, 2006; Rich, 1997) and citizenship (Podsakoff et al, 1990).

There are many ways you can build trust; from formal exercises to simple, everyday steps. The everyday stuff is remarkably effective.

You’ll have heard this before but get even better at listening. Really listening to someone builds trust by showing that you care. Take more time to listen to your team, ask questions to explore the issues with them and paraphrase to show you have listened.

Talk straight and operate on the principle of ‘what you see is what you get’. Use simple, everyday language to avoid spin and misunderstanding and to build trust.

2. Offer Recognition more often than you normally do

Employees want to contribute, to have the means to contribute and be recognised for it. No-one comes to work to be a failure. Recognising people for what they do demonstrates that you care. It increases their feeling of self-worth, which in turn improves their productivity at work.

What can you do?

Show appreciation by offering recognition. Notice the small things as well as the big things. Say thank you, or well done. And keep it up. Appreciate effort, as well as results.

Give regular and consistent feedback, even when things haven’t quite gone to plan. Research shows that feedback which is fair, clear, accurate and actionable raises performance. Give credit freely and acknowledge the contributions of others.

3. Build Pride

When you feel pride, you feel greater social worth, and in turn higher self-esteem. In other words, pride helps you feel good. When you feel good, you are more productive at work. Pride is a catalyst for focusing on task, effort, and persistence. It spurs us on to help others which can evoke powerful and uplifting feelings. Raising the level of pride people have for the organization and their contribution to it is a win-win for everyone.

How can you help build Pride?

Share positive news. Get everyone to share one positive result when you start your regular team meeting. Focus on what has been achieved, rather than what hasn’t. Praise effort and its results – why it matters and what a positive difference it has made.

Reflect on company achievements, as well as individual and team ones. Consider out of work achievements which may increase personal pride, as well as what goes on inside the office.


Research shows that there is a strong correlation between happiness at work and outcome indicators such as the percentage of time people are focused on their tasks, their level of energy, sick leave days, or their intention to stay in the organization. Implementing these 3 practical steps to focus on pride, recognition and trust can deliver a happier, more productive team for you and your organisation. 


[1] Science of Happiness at Work™, iOpener Institute for People and Performance

[2] Science of Happiness at Work™, iOpener Institute for People and Performance

About [email protected]

Picture of Julia Lindsay, CEO of iOpener Institute

I have 25 years experience running and supporting businesses. 

I trained as an accountant and cut my teeth in the hospitality sector where I came to understand all that makes a business profitable (or not!)

With 15 years experience in the financial services industry, I led teams in financial management and control, operations, and change management. I know that a combination of a strong people and commercial focus delivers results.

The results and feedback I get both as a consultant and coach comes from my talent for developing practical and relevant approaches and solutions. 

Through this, I have enabled organizations to deliver their strategy and goals efficiently and effectively. And my professional training as an accountant means I have a strong commercial approach to everything I do.

As Managing Director and part owner of iOpener Ltd and iOpener Institute for People and Performance, I help our clients to raise productivity. We do this by putting our groundbreaking and unique research - the Science of Happiness - to work.

Specialties: Science of Happiness at Work, executive coaching, leadership development


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27th Nov 2017 15:42

Julia - great article. I'd love to get your thoughts/comments on a similar article: http://mycognitivejourney.com/psychology/8-reasons-why-it-pays-to-have-h...

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