HBR Blog: Go Ahead – Ask Your Employees If They’re Happy

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Imagine a workplace where everyone is happy rather than stressed and anxious.   Wouldn’t you expect that such an environment would encourage workers’ creativity and engagement?  It may seem obvious that people would be more focused and productive at work when they actually want to be there, but all too often, workers would rather be anywhere else.  As leaders, managers and co-workers, we are in a position to help more people feel good about their work and lives.  To do that, we need to know how our employees are feeling.  There’s one easy way to find out – ASK.  I recently had the opportunity to interview field human resources director at the video game retailer, GameStop, and am pleased to share his wisdom and other insights in this recent article for Harvard Business Review posted on


Go Ahead: Ask Your Employees If They’re Happy

When was the last time you made the effort to see, really see, what the people you work with are thinking and how they’re feeling about their jobs? With Gallup’s latest State of the American Workplace survey showing that 70% of U.S. employees are not engaged at work, it seems that the majority of managers would greet that question with a blank stare. Those managers are missing key information needed to attract and retain talented staff — not to mention keep them actively engaged in turning out a superior product.

Despite the dismal statistics on workplace engagement, there are many enlightened leaders who do one simple thing: They ask their employees how they feel. When they do so, they receive priceless information that helps them retain their best employees and optimize their productivity.

Daniel Parent, director of field human resources at video game retailer GameStop, is one of those leaders.  He knows the power of checking in with his team. He has a recurring appointment on his schedule that says, “Ask employees how happy they are at work and what can I do to make them happier.” Daniel has learned over the years that simply asking those two questions indicates to his group that they have his support. Furthermore, he learns what their real issues are so he can provide them with meaningful direction.

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