Small Businesses Falling Behind in Employee Satisfaction

Employee Happiness Statistics

A report from Mindspace reveals 93% of US employees are their happiest. However, it is not the case for small businesses.

Employee Happiness Statistics

According to employee happiness statistics in the 2019 Mindspace Work Culture Report, happiness seems to increase with company size in the U.S. Only 36% of small business employees are very happy against 46% of medium businesses. 64% of corporations, and 56% of enterprises.

Workers that feel the happiest about going to work in America are self-employed. And more than nine in 10 or 96.7% of them say they are happy. Of those workers that are not happy, over 58% are either looking or thinking about looking for a new job.

The findings show that unhappy employees of SMEs are the most insecure when it comes to changing their jobs. With 40% if them wanting to change their situation but do not know how, compared with 30% of corporations. Employees of SMEs simply feel less valued. Around 46% of SME employees feel very or somewhat valued, compared with 67% of employees of corporations.

Overall the US leads six other nations in terms of overall employee happiness in the workplace. The Netherlands at 91%, Poland (83%) and Romania (82%) follow the US in the global rankings.

Why are Americans Happy at Work?

The top reasons cited by the report is that Americans set goals and achieve results, followed by doing their job, and a sense of purpose and meaning. Some 84.5% of Americans still feel working in a more collaborative, people-focused environment makes them happier than working alone.

Almost 1 in 4 (88.3%) of US workers in the survey feel a sense of purpose in their job, compared with just 65.1% in the UK. Employees of smaller companies feel less strongly about their sense of purpose – just 34.19% strongly agree there is a sense of purpose compared with 47.71% of medium companies.

In addition, 9% of small businesses do not assess employee engagement. This is compared with 5% of medium companies and 6.3% of corporations/enterprises.

Where are the happiest Businesses located?

Employee happiness statistics show that the Northeast stands out as the happiest region, with 92.25% of survey respondents saying they either like or love going to work. Coming in a close second place is the Southeast, with 87.97%. The most unhappy employees seem to be in the Midwest, where over 3% either dislike or despise going to work.

As far as happiness in the job itself, the West leads with over 94% either happy or very happy. The Midwest is next with over 93%.

People in the Mid-West seem to be the most serious about their jobs, with nearly 25% citing “doing my job” as the thing they look forward to most about going to work. This, compared to just 14% in the Southeast. In the South East they prefer the social aspect of work, with over 10% looking forward to “chatting with colleagues” at work more than anything else.

About one quarter (24.12%) of employees say that their companies are friendly and chatty, the same number (24.57%) as conservative and formal.

The Demographics

Millennials in the U.S. are the happiest about going to work with over 95% of them saying they are very happy or happy in their job. In addition, more than half of them (57.84%) love going to work, compared with only 37% of employees aged 55+.

Men in the U.S. appear slightly happier in their workplaces, with almost 94.85% saying they are happy or very happy in their jobs. This is opposed to nearly 91.73 % of women saying that they are happy or very happy in their jobs.

When it comes to how they feel about going to work, men (89.69%) lead with a slight margin over women (84.66%) in being happy to oblige.

In terms of engagement with workplace activities, Gen Z seems less motivated to participate in events organized by the company than the other age groups. While 70% do attend all or most events, almost 6% do not like them and never attend. On the other hand, 85% of Millennials attend these activities.

Find Creative Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy

According to the report, an uninspiring workplace is twice as likely to cause disengagement. Moreover, employees say it is detrimental to the workplace.

By implementing simple wellness, assessment, and engagement activities and practices, businesses can improve on employee engagement. The report reveals U.S. employees actually crave simple things. They look for candid discussions with superiors, natural light (43%), office greenery (24%) and basic engagement and wellness activities. These they believe would help ensure a more engaged workforce.

Employers should take the cue and consider addressing these gaps. Regular audits of employee engagement can help identify them. You can then use these inputs for putting in place measures to address employee engagement challenges.

It can be everything from recognizing progress to team building activities, delegating without micromanaging, creating friendly competitors, celebrating both personal and team milestones and others. If the position requires long hours providing flexible working hours or work from home options to help employees work around family and social commitments can help. This will let your workforce feel the company values its employees and it is committed to their welfare.


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Samson Haileyesus Samson Haileyesus is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has several years of progressive experience in media, communication and PR working with government, NGOs and private sector. He is passionate about public outreach, branding, media relations and marketing.

2 Reactions
  1. It may be because of the increased demand of employees and the standards of employee satisfaction has changed over the years.

  2. Employees can either make a business grow or mar it. Employers should make the workplace conducive for their staffs