Maintaining a happy and engaged workforce has always been a priority for companies and it is no secret that employees who are content with life at work are much more likely to produce better results, having a positive effect on the businesses overall performance.

Often when you think about an employee’s happiness at work, the immediate thought is to think about how much an individual earns. However, research by Hired has shown that 66% of 2,557 full-time employees would take a pay cut of at least 1% to be happier at work, whilst 11% of respondents would take a pay cut of 20% or more to be happy at work.

The research shows that maintaining a content workforce requires a lot more than just offering a healthy salary. While it obviously helps, it seems as though it is not the source of true happiness whilst at work. For example, the same survey found that 14% of respondents cited a poor work-life balance as their reason for leaving their last job.

Understanding each employee

The difficulty for employers is that different people are all motivated by different things – some may strive for a better work-life balance while others may want a clear pathway to develop their career rather have a higher salary.

This challenge can be tackled by ensuring there is regular feedback between staff, line managers and then those in charge of making any necessary changes. The key is flexibility and transparency, as the ability to adapt and accommodate requests can have a huge impact on an employee’s happiness.

For example, rather than giving a talented employee who is expecting their first child a pay increase, offering them the chance to work flexibly occasionally can have just as much of an effect. As a result, it pays massively to know each employee and to tailor approaches to them.

The younger generation

The same survey found that 78% of millennial respondents would opt for a pay cut to be happier at work, compared to 63% of generation X respondents, and 55% of baby boomer or older respondents.

As the millennial generation becomes more prevalent in offices across all industries, it will be vital for employers to think about how they can appeal to them, and this may go beyond simply offering a competitive salary.

If you’re an employer looking to attract the best graduate talent, find out how Discovery Graduates can help.