According to recent research from US News and World Report, older Americans seem to be happier at work than their younger coworkers. Surprised? Well, a survey conducted by Charles Schwab found that 32 percent of 60-something-year-old workers didn’t want to retire and 76 percent said they were “sticking to their jobs because they wanted to.” It was also found that 50-somethings are more likely than 60-somethings to say they feel "stuck" in their jobs and report that they are still working for financial reasons, not personal satisfaction. So why are older workers staying at their jobs? Because they are satisfied and happy at work!
Companies like The Hilton, Fluor, Johnson & Johnson and Nordstrom know what happiness at work is all about – they made the top of CareerBliss’ 50 Happiest Companies for 2012. The list was made after thousands of employees rated their companies based on how happy they were with the culture, the work they do and the people they work with.
Happiness is hard to define, but we all know what it feels like. A recent article from The Atlantic presents the latest research of “What We Know Now About How to Be Happy.” According to the article, there are two types of happiness: instant and long-term. For example, let’s use a luxury car. There is the instant happiness we get from buying the car, but there is also the happiness we get from having a satisfying job that pays for the car. Both types of happiness are needed in the workplace. Employees need to enjoy coming to work every day as well as enjoy the long-term benefits and feeling of fulfillment.
How to have instant happiness at work
The goal of instant happiness at work is having employees enjoy coming to work every day. They need to be stimulated by their projects and rewarded for their achievements. Recognition and praise in the workplace is important for employee happiness; it releases feel-good hormones and makes them feel valued and respected. Rewarding employees doesn’t mean spending tons of money. Here are some great tips for motivating employees with recognition and praise.
How to have long-term happiness at work
We all know instant gratification doesn’t last long. You also need long-term happiness and fulfillment at work. Employees need to feel like they are contributing to the organization and its success. According to Kerry Hannon, author of What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job, the reason older individuals feel happier at work is because they have started to consider their legacy and what they can do to give back. Happy employees need to feel meaningful in their jobs. This could mean making a difference in the community or helping the organization solve problems, innovate and succeed. To ensure employees are really happy and engaged, it’s important to make sure they match their job position and agree with the company culture and values. This must be considered in the hiring process. Only hire individuals who have the skills, behaviors and motives that fit the job. You can learn more about how employee assessments and solutions help hire happy and successful employees.
Creating an environment that makes employees happy on a day-to-day basis as well as long-term will strengthen workplace relationships and productivity.