Oli Paterson

Enhancing Employee Happiness: Building a Consistently Positive Workplace Culture

Happiness in the workplace
Happiness in the workplace is about caring, engagement and consistency. Small business is at an advantage in this pursuit. Let's explore why.


In today’s business world, the pursuit of employee happiness has gained significant attention due to its potential impact on productivity and overall company success. However, achieving lasting employee happiness isn’t as simple as implementing a short-lived happiness campaign. The complexities of human emotions, cultural differences, and diverse job roles make it essential for organizations to rethink their approach. This blog post explores why a consistent positive workplace culture outperforms duration-based happiness campaigns and presents actionable strategies for fostering lasting employee happiness.

The Power of Employee Happiness

Employee happiness isn’t just a feel-good notion; it’s a driving force behind improved performance, engagement, and psychological well-being. Research by Seppala and Cameron (2015) reveals that a happier workforce experiences reduced disengagement – a critical issue that plagues many businesses today. Disengaged employees exhibit higher absenteeism, more accidents, and increased errors, which ultimately translate to lower productivity, profitability, and even a decrease in share price for the organization (Seppala & Cameron, 2015). Similarly, Achor (n.d.) emphasizes that happiness positively impacts various aspects of work, leading to increased intelligence, creativity, energy levels, and overall business outcomes.

The Downside of Happiness Campaigns

While the concept of happiness campaigns is well-intentioned, it often falls short of its intended impact. Mauss et al. (2011) warn against the negative effects of valuing happiness as an obligation, as unrealistic standards can lead to disappointment and decreased well-being. The pressure to be happy, when treated as a duty, can ironically result in reduced happiness.

Moreover, duration-based happiness campaigns can introduce variability in employees’ emotional states, leading to fluctuations in their performance and satisfaction. Gruber et al. (2013) highlight the importance of stable emotional states, showing that variability in positive emotions can contribute to adverse psychological outcomes and dissatisfaction among employees.

Tailoring Happiness to Individual Needs

Happiness is a deeply personal and culturally influenced emotion, making it challenging to design a one-size-fits-all campaign. Pogosyan (2016) underlines the individualistic and cultural nature of happiness, suggesting that a single campaign might not effectively cater to the diverse needs of all employees.

Cultivating a Consistently Positive Workplace Culture

The key to enhancing employee happiness lies in creating a consistently positive and supportive workplace culture. Seppala and Cameron (2015) suggest that building effective support systems and fostering engagement throughout the organization can lead to heightened positivity and improved performance. Empathy, active listening, and going above and beyond for employees contribute to a self-reinforcing cycle of positive behavior.

Achor (n.d.) emphasizes the power of positivity in rewiring our brains to focus on positive input. Integrating practices like journaling into the workplace can further enhance positivity and contribute to a happier workforce.

Conclusion: A New Approach to Employee Happiness

In conclusion, the pursuit of employee happiness is an essential endeavor for any organization. However, instead of relying on short-lived happiness campaigns, businesses should invest in creating a consistently positive workplace culture. By valuing empathy, support, and positivity, organizations can foster a self-reinforcing cycle of happiness that leads to improved performance, engagement, and overall well-being. Remember, it’s not just about temporary spikes in happiness; it’s about cultivating an environment where happiness thrives naturally, benefiting both employees and the organization as a whole.


Achor, S. (n.d.). The happy secret to better work. [Video] TEDx Bloomington. https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work

Gruber, J., Kogan, A., Quoidbach, J., & Mauss, I. (2013). Happiness is best kept stable: Positive emotion variability is associated with poorer psychological health. Emotion, 13(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030262

Mauss, I. B., Tamir, M., Anderson, C. L., & Savino, N. S. (2011). Can seeking happiness make people happy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Emotion, 11(4), 807–815. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022010

Pogosyan, M. (2016, May 24). How does culture affect our happiness? Happiness and its many tastes. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/between-cultures/201605/how-does-culture-affect-our-happiness

Seppala, E., & Cameron, K. (2015, December 01). Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive

You might also like


4 Key Factors for Success in Service Business

Service businesses face unique challenges that require effective strategies. To thrive in this landscape, businesses must align four essential components: Service offering, funding mechanism, employee management, and customer management. (Frei, 2008)

I'm giving away a limited number of free places.. sign up here.