How to balance organizational needs & employee happiness

Master the art of balancing organizational requirements and employee happiness with satisfaction to create a harmonious and thriving work environment

Finding the right balance between meeting organizational needs and ensuring employee happiness has become increasingly vital in today’s dynamic workplace. With high attrition rates and the ever-increasing competition for top talent, organizations must prioritize creating a work environment that satisfies both the company’s objectives and the well-being of its employees. In this article, we delve into the importance of striking this delicate balance and explore effective strategies to achieve harmony between organizational requirements and employee satisfaction. By driving purpose, empowering employees, increasing visibility, and introducing employee-centric programs, organizations can foster a productive work environment that meets business goals and nurtures a sense of fulfilment and happiness among their workforce.

Organizational Needs and Employee Happiness​

Maintaining the delicate balance between organizational needs and employee happiness has become increasingly important, especially in the face of high attrition rates.

Sophia, a product manager at a technology firm specializing in healthcare wearables, found herself in a similar predicament. Leading a team of product engineers developing a wearable watch with an extended battery life, Sophia faced a sudden change in the project’s requirements. The leadership team decided to shift from using a third-party operating system to developing an in-house one, aiming to enhance the user experience. However, this decision required additional work within the same project timeline. Sophia’s colleague expressed concern about the team’s potential dissatisfaction with the change. However, Sophia had a different perspective. She prioritized meeting the company’s needs and completing the project on time for a successful launch. “While I’m trying to find solutions to address the crisis, she wants to keep the team happy?” Sophia vented to her friend.

These scenarios often place leaders at crossroads, necessitating a decision that balances organizational needs and employee satisfaction.

Why Maintaining this Balance is Important​

Today’s talent market is highly competitive, offering individuals multiple options and abundant opportunities. Human Resource Management is critical for an organization. HR professionals and organizational leaders must recognize that employees are likely to seek opportunities elsewhere if they do not find satisfactory experiences. 

Reflecting on her career trajectory, Sophia realized the same. Once she gained sufficient technical skills and experience, other companies were willing to hire her at significantly higher salaries. When employees are dissatisfied, other organizations are ready to attract them with appealing offers. This underscores the importance of balancing organizational needs and employee happiness, as talent becomes a differentiating factor in gaining a competitive edge.​

How to Achieve This Balance

As leaders progress in their careers, the responsibility of keeping employees happy becomes less personal. Instead, maintaining the organizational ethos takes precedence. Therefore, middle managers and lower-level team leaders are responsible for ensuring their team members’ happiness. However, decisions made by top leaders significantly influence employee engagement. To strike a balance, a shift in mindset is necessary among company leaders, emphasizing the importance of purpose, empowerment, and increased visibility for employees.

Driving Purpose​

Leaders should focus on aligning employee and company purposes. Extensive research supports the notion that engagement levels soar when an employee’s purpose aligns with the company’s mission, leading to increased dedication and willingness to go the extra mile. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, exemplifies purpose-driven leadership. During meetings with his team of CXOs, he poses a simple yet profound question: “What do you aim to achieve through your work?” Employees are motivated to fulfill their desires by sharing their aspirations within their professional roles. This approach empowers leaders at Microsoft to keep their workforce content by equipping them with the right tools.

From Engagement to Empowerment​

In an unfortunate case where overall engagement scores plummeted within a well-known FMCG company, the chief people officer realized the severe consequences this would have on company profits. She sought a solution and conducted town hall meetings to motivate employees and boost morale. However, a senior leader advised against this approach, stating that employees needed more control over their work. Empowering employees to drive change in their surroundings fosters higher productivity, regardless of the circumstances. Following this advice, the chief people officer abandoned previous programs and initiated focus group discussions with mid-level managers, encouraging open conversations with their teams. Mid-level managers were empowered to provide flexibility regarding work hours, resulting in increased productivity and reduced micromanagement.

Increased Visibility for Employees​

Recognizing and celebrating employee achievements is pivotal in fostering happiness. The impact is even more profound when such acknowledgments come from top leaders. Steven, CEO of a professional service company, introduced an innovative practice of allowing lower-level employees to showcase their talents before the board and other executives. The employees’ skills were appreciated in the presence of senior leaders, providing immense motivation and a sense of value. Employee career development is accelerated when their good work is acknowledged, and rewards for excellence further reinforce a positive work environment.

Introducing Employee-Centric Programs

Introducing initiatives that balance fulfilling employees’ needs and achieving company goals is crucial. Flexibility is particularly important for employees who are parents. Allowing them to adjust their work schedules to accommodate dropping off or picking up their children from school enhances work-life balance. Additionally, granting extra weekends off after completing 10-hour workdays can provide more quality time with family. Furthermore, countries with rigid 40-hour workweek requirements should consider allowing employees to complete their hours in a way that suits their personal needs.

As the new generation prioritizes personal space above all else, maintaining a balance between organizational needs and employee satisfaction will become even more challenging. Leaders must demonstrate a deep understanding of employee emotions and make appropriate decisions to maintain this delicate equilibrium. By prioritizing purpose, empowerment, and visibility and implementing employee-centric programs, organizations can navigate this balance with agility and foster a productive work environment.

In conclusion, nurturing a balance between organizational needs and employee happiness is crucial to attract and retain top talent in today’s competitive landscape. Striving for this equilibrium enables companies to build a cohesive and engaged workforce while achieving business objectives.