The Power of Employee Happiness In Retail

The Power of Employee Happiness in Retail

“If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people look forward to coming to work in the morning.” –John Mackey, Whole Foods Market

The brilliant people behind TinyPulse recently published an interesting article about what job satisfaction looks statistically speaking. You can view the infographic here. But…here are the amazing findings:

• Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%;
• Happy employee are 12% more productive than their miserable peers [who are 10% less productive]
• 67% of full-time employees with access to free food at work are “extremely” or “very” happy [this was a big benefit for our company as well, you can read more about it here;
• Happy sales people produce 37% greater sales;
• 36% of employees would give up $5000 a year in salary to be happier at work;
• Close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%;
• People with a best friend at work are 7X more likely to engage fully in their work;
• The Top 3 Factors that contribute to job satisfaction are:
– Job Security
– Opportunties to use skills and abilities
– Organization’s financial stability
• Employees who report being happy at work report taking 10X fewer sick days than their unhappy counterparts;
• Only 42% of employees are happy with the rewards or recognition their companies offer.


From Growth Everywhere, “In fact, low-level engagement within companies results in a 33% decrease in operating income and an 11% decrease in earnings growth, whereas companies with high-level engagement have a 19% increase in operating income and a 28% increase in earnings growth.”

There are four basic needs that need to be met to achieve employee happiness. These core needs are:

-Physical well-being
-Emotional well-being
-Mental well-being
-Spiritual well-being

This means getting adequate rest, exercise and nutrition, feeling seen and valued at work, having the space and time to focus and think creatively, and experiencing a deeper sensation of being part of something worthwhile.

“Engagement is a renewable daily decision that is voluntarily given when the company has proven worthy of it.” –Jason Lauritsen, Talent Anarchy

The percentage of employees satisfied with their jobs is lowest in the under 25 age group with only 35.7% satisfied. Among employees in the age group 25-34, 47.2% are satisfied; employees in the age group 35-44 scored 43.4% in job satisfaction. Employees in the 45-54 age range scored 46.8%; employees 55-64 scored 45.6% in employee satisfaction and, of those employees age 65 and over, 43.4% are satisfied. [Source: About (dot) com]. Clearly we need to rethink our onboarding, development, and engagement strategies for all generations of employees but especially for the employees entering the workforce, we need to see them as viable future leaders for our retail organizations and treat them like that.


From CNBC:

-According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2012, today’s average worker stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.6 years, a .2 increase from the median tenure two years earlier.

-According to the Future Workplace Multiple Generations @ Work survey, a whopping 91% of Millennials — those born between 1977 and 1997 — anticipate to stay at a job for less than three years. As Future Workplace Partner Jeanne Meister put it, “That means they (Millennials) would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!”

Obviously food and friends are a big driver of employee happiness inside our retail industry – but there are other factors that are important to give to the team to keep them engaged, energized, and enthusiastic about our brands and their job. Here are some of those things:

-A workplace that supports their well-being
-An honest, transparent, and genuine communication culture
-Being heard and valued
-A respectful, civil, and fair workplace
-Opportunities for development, self-directed learning , and career path planning
-Great perks
-They want their curiosity fed, and opportunities to be inspired
-Recognition and Reward
-Providing the right tools and resources to get their jobs done
-A culture that is directly tied into the company vision and values

Here are some great examples of innovation that companies have introduced to drive Employee Happiness/Satisfaction:

-To make employees happier and more productive, a Canadian accounting company is setting up casual blind dates that are strictly professional. You can see the video by clicking here. [I  this idea!]

-At BucketFeet they feed their employees learning appetites for knowledge with a monthly learning series on topics relevant to their mission. [I  this idea, as well!]

-2U encourages employees to make their own fun instead of simply waiting for company-sponsored events. This resulted in popular sport events that were employee driven. ToughMudder, Basketball leagues, cooking classes etc.

-AnswerLab offers their employee a tech allowance of $400 to spend on whatever they want from devices to apps to motivate and drive creativity and innovation. They find it’s a small price to pay for learning, which they consider one of the “buckets” of employee happiness.

It’s strange when you research a topic like employee happiness you see almost as many articles on why it cannot be measured, shouldn’t be a priority, and isn’t important as there are that support why it is invaluable. At the end of the day the people we hire will choose to be happy or not but as employers we need to earn their desire to deliver more than just average results. After all – disgruntled employees disengage and cost the American economy up to $350 billion a year in lost productivity.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

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4 thoughts on “The Power of Employee Happiness In Retail

  1. #truth. Happy employees naturally create a community of genuine service which leads to selling and winning.

  2. If Happiness at work were a seed it would bare commitment, innovation, community, ownership, willingness to learn and increased performance.
    I volunteer on a Core Values Board at my place of work and this blog has been a great resource for fresh thinking.

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