A Happiness-At-Work Checklist for HR Managers

Being an HR Manager is a challenging role. It’s not a fluffy responsibility where you get to talk to a couple of people and beautify offices. Managing human resources implies effectively organizing people and their work, developing competencies to enhance both individual as well as organizational performance, implement new technology and keep employees happy.

At Hppy, we decided to start with the last part of that job description: keeping employees happy. Our ROI was beyond expectations. We set out to track and measure what makes us come to work every day and give our best, what makes us find joy in our work and in our interactions. After a year, we got a lot of useful data. We found out what drives happiness in our team and what makes us unhappy.

That’s when we decided to create our Happiness-at-Work checklist, to follow-up on every couple of months and improve our workplace. And since giving makes people happier, we’d love to share our checklist with you.

Grab a pencil and start ticking:

1. Ask people how they feel

Workplace dynamics have been evolving very fast in the past few years. Getting a job is no longer about getting paid and surviving, it’s about doing something meaningful and living. As an HR Manager, you need to address this need for meaning and freedom by genuinely caring about how people feel.

A simple action like asking employees how they feel can make them feel valued and inspire an emotional attachment to your company.

2. Find out why and act on it

You’ve made the first step and now you need to dig deeper and actually build a connection with each individual. Finding out what makes them feel the way they do gives you the answer to “How can I make them happier and more engaged?”

You can list a number of reasons or allow them to express their thoughts freely. It’s important that you organize that information and identify what drives happiness in your office and what makes people unhappy. Your team will be happier because they will know that you care and that you value them.

4. Build a culture of feedback

As an HR Manager, you have to constantly improve and redesign processes to ensure maximum engagement and productivity. But you’re not Thor, the glorious burden of innovation is not exclusively upon you.

Get feedback. It’s a powerful tool that you can use to gather improvement ideas, suggestions and different perspectives. We’re all happier when someone asks us for our opinion, when we feel like our opinion matters and we’re contributing to something.

5. Encourage people to identify and live up to their values

It’s easy to get lost in daily tasks and lose the bigger picture. That’s when we get demotivated, stressed and unproductive. What you can do to boost happiness in moments like these is remind people who they are and why they are doing what they’re doing. Bring them back to their values and put it all back into perspective.

Our careers at Hppy start with this exact step, when we are given a Personal Development Framework that asks “Who am I?” We’re asked to identify our personal values, our aspirations and to see how they come together with the company values. This way, we know if this is the right place for us, if it’s the place where we’ll grow and love what we do.

6. Invest in their growth

Development opportunities are critical to employee engagement, often times even more important than financial compensations. Lack of career progress was identified as the most important factor to seek new employment, at 27%, according to a recent Deloitte study.

You can create your own learning cycle for employees, based on their needs, or ensure that they have access to some other form of professional development, facilitated through your company. The first option offers you a bigger control on the volume and quality of information delivered, as well as on evaluating employees after a development program. The second one can be a better match for you if you lack the resources or the focus to develop an in-house development program.

7. Empower employees

Let them make their own decisions, as often as strategically possible. Consult them when discussing workplace aspects and involve them in conversations.

We’re all inclined to feel much more valuable when asked for our opinion. Contributing and having the autonomy of making our own decisions makes us happier.

8.Design your workspace to fit your culture

It’s not just about workplace ergonomics, it’s about having a space where you feel comfortable and inspired to do great work. Lighting, noise or layout are aspects that you can control to improve your productivity and wellbeing.

What’s really important is that you adapt them to your culture. For example, if you’re a smaller company with a lot of creative processes you might require an open space, to facilitate those processes. Whereas a more technical department might need a space that encourages concentration and lack of noise. The only way to know what works best for your employees is to ask and analyze. Then act.

9. Celebrate achievements

Celebrations offer tremendous benefits. They foster gratitude, connection, a sense of accomplishment and, of course, happiness. Hit the “pause” button when the results of their work come in and acknowledge the effort and dedication that went into it. Don’t take hard work for granted.

Have a celebration ritual or set a weekly date to go through the awesome things you’ve made possible. Not only will it boost company morale but it will help build productivity and long-term commitment.

10. Celebrate people

What’s even more important than celebrating achievements is celebrating the passionate people behind them. We spend most of our time at work and sometimes it feels like a second family.

Celebrate people’s birthdays, promotions, personal successes as often as you can. It’s more than an employee engagement driver, it’s a way to facilitate trust and teamwork, as well as emotional attachment.

11. Show that you really care and follow-up

All these efforts are not the key to workplace happiness if they’re only done once a year. There has to be a constant effort to develop and improve on the things that make people happy at work. It makes sense, if you think about it, asking people how they feel and then failing to use that information will result in distrust and passivity.

Follow-up on the feedback you received, get people involved in improving happiness drivers and always make sure that you know what the next step is. There’s always a next step.


It always starts with your company, your team and how they feel. To develop your own Happiness-At-Work Checklist, you need to reach out to them and find out what makes them happy at work.

We really hope our ideas can help boost your company happiness and employee engagement. Let us know what you come up with! Join the conversation with @gethppy and @contactzilla on Twitter!

About the Author

Paula Clapon is the Marketing Officer for Hppy Apps, an employee engagement software company committed to increase workplace happiness. Building content and trying to take over the world, one lead at a time, Paula lives online. She’s learning the ropes of digital marketing and content creation.Connect with her on Twitter or Google+.

[Image credit Thomas Barwick/Getty Images]