Sample Essay on Happy Employees Are Productive Employees

Happiness is the backbone of productivity in any relationship including marriage, work, or even school (Griffin, R. W. & Moorhead, G. 2012, 118). Humans can never give their best if they are unhappy. They can never be productive if they are not effectively motivated. Happiness is a state of contentment, pleasure, and gladness. It is directly correlated to high levels of motivation and leads to high levels of productivity. Productivity refers to the measure of an individual’s efficiency.

Studies have often sought to understand the difference between productive and unproductive employees. Studies have shown that happy team members are better collaborators, innovators and more determined to achieve their goals (Moltz, B. (2012, n.p). Various techniques have been used to make employees happy and highly motivated. This includes giving of monetary and nonmonetary incentives and interactive activities.

Despite the fact that happiness most often comes from a person’s inner being, the people around, and the working environment have an effect a person’s happiness. Griffin and Moorhead (2012, 118) argue that happiness makes employees engaged and loyal to the company as compared to when they feel unmotivated and undervalued. Happy employees will always find reasons increase their performance levels, are receptive of any changes in the company, and are always willing to make the changes successful. In addition, happy employees often feel contented and get a sense of accomplishment in their work. They find satisfaction and a sense of belonging form their work places, which positively affects their productivity.

Popular theories for motivation and employee happiness include Hertzberg’s two factor theories, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Hawthorne effect, expectancy theory, and the Three Dimensional theory of Attribution (Panay, M. 2014, n.p). Hertzberg’s two-factor theory also known as the theory of motivation was developed in 1950 psychologist Fredrick Herzberg. He noticed two factors that affected employees’ happiness and motivation: motivator factors and hygiene factors. Motivator factors make an employee satisfied and motivated at work. The employees enjoy their work, feel recognized and develop their careers. Hygiene factors include salary, the organizational policies, work benefits, and the relationship with their bosses as well as colleagues.  According to Panay (2014, n.p), although these factors work independently, motivator factors were responsible for employee satisfaction and motivation but did not necessarily cause dissatisfaction. Moreover, the presence of hygiene factors did not seem to increase satisfaction but its absence massively affected their productivity due to dissatisfaction.

When consistently threatened about job loss employees feel insecure and unhappy about their jobs, which directly affect their productivity. Clear communication from the management to the employees also affects employee happiness since employees keep tabs with what is expected of them by the management. In case the management communicates about any changes in the advertising or scheduling of duties, employees will positively respond to the necessary changes. When such a change occurs and the management fails to adequately communicate employee productivity will be affected.

Abraham Maslow in a theory Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, emphasized that an individual’s basic needs should be attended to for them to stay happy, satisfied and productive to achieve high-level needs (Panay, M. 2014, n.p). This consists of five levels such as psychological, safety, love and well being, esteem and self-actualization.  Psychological needs consist of food, water, and shelter. Safety includes financial, personal, and healthy well being. Love and belonging refer to the friendship of relationships and family. Esteem refers to the need to feel confident as well as respected by others. Self-actualization on the other hand refers to an individuals’ wish to achieve the highest possible goal so that they can become the best. This theory calls for managers supporting their employees in aspects that do not directly link to work such as flexible working hours, fair pays, and financial stability.

Hawthorne effect theory stresses on the proposition that some people work harder and are more productive when observed by researchers. This theory became named after several experiments that were focusing on the effect of physical conditions on the productivity at western Electric’s factory at Hawthorne. The researchers then changed some physical conditions such as lighting, working hours, break, and noted that productivity increased after the changes were made (Panay, M. 2014, n.p). From this experiment, the researchers concluded that employees feel motivated to work harder thus get more productive after they notice that they are given more attention. This theory can be applied by regularly getting feedback from employees and making them know that the management is aware of what they are up to and how they are progressing. It may also include showing employees that the management cares about them as well as their working conditions.

According to Panay (2014, n.p), the expectancy theory is of the proposition that people will chose to behave depending on the outcomes they are expectant of. We do things based on the expected outcome. This theory also proposes that our behavior is chosen depending on how we perceive the rewards of our actions to be. For instance, a promise of pay rise for good and hard working employees will definitely affect their productivity. It is based on three precepts: expectancy, instrumentality, and valence.

Moreover, the Three Dimensional Attribution suggests that the reasons we attribute to our behavior affect the way we behave in future (Panay, M. 2014, n.p). This theory has effects on employee feedback. They need to know what to improve and how it can be achieved as this helps in them preventing their failures to lack of skill and realize that success is achievable. It also advocates for praise for employees when they improve much they may not have achieved their targets. This method helps employees realize that their failure is only attributed to controllable factors, which can be improved.

The common sense theory identifies a strong relationship between satisfaction/ happiness with performance and productivity. The psychological wellbeing of an employee has also been found to be directly linked to the performance of employees. Productivity is wrapped around engagement and commitment. Satisfied employees quit less often and miss work less frequently. A dissatisfied and unhappy employee will most often exhibit undesirable behaviors such as the development of an outward focus. In this case, employees feel that the current job is not the best then get distracted and are engaged in job hunting. They even get receptive about opportunities for job hunting. Moreover, unhappy employees may also exhibit commitment-breaking behaviors. They decide that his or her family takes centre stage and the work needs take a back seat. Inspiration to give the best and get committed to work to achieve the organization’s goals calls for employee happiness.

The stagnation of productivity is often linked to motivation, which is directly proportional to happiness. Managers are mandated with the duty of setting attainable goals for employees. Unattainable goals frustrate employees and affect their productivity altogether. In the contrary, attainable goals establish recognizable and are representative of the maximum productivity employees can sustain.  Recognition of employees also boosts employee productivity and motivation. Verbal appreciation or monetary reward makes employees happy and motivated to attain higher goals of productivity higher wages, promotion or small gestures that show their recognition for their hard work and commitment makes employees happy and subsequently productive (Mcgovern, J. & Shelly, S. 2008, 173-176).

In conclusion, unhappy employees are not very productive. Productivity is largely a factor of motivation and happiness of employees. It is counterproductive for managers to mistreat and ignore employee needs and expect them to be productive. In as much as happiness does not guarantee increased productivity, it is an important motivator at the workplace and plays a crucial role in organizational development.


Griffin, R. W., & Moorhead, G. 2012. Organizational behavior: managing people and organizations. Mason, OH, South-Western/Cengage Learning.

Mcgovern, J. & Shelly, S. 2008. The happy employee 101 ways for managers to attract, retain, & inspire the best and brightest. Avon, Mass, Adams Business.

Moltz, B. 2012. “7 Secrets to keeping your employees happy.” Open Forum.

Panay, M. 2014. “5 Psychological Theories of Motivation to increase productivity.” Contactzilla.