Happy employees are often considered the mark of a successful company: one with an excellent culture, high employee engagement, great work-life balance, and tangible results. So why are only 34% of U.S. employees engaged at work? From the employer perspective, maintaining staff happiness levels is often easier said than done—especially with volatile workloads, increasingly tight deadlines, and (for many) the added stress of working from home

Keeping your team happy isn’t always the most straightforward exercise. But investing your time, effort, and money in benefits and programs that keep employee satisfaction and happiness levels high can pay off in a big way by giving back to your business. Here’s what companies gain with happy employees on their payroll—and why you should invest in keeping happiness high.  

Why you need happy employees on your team

Even before the COVID-19 crisis forced companies to make tough headcount decisions, the greater business landscape was moving increasingly towards one trend: turnover. 

Pre-coronavirus, voluntary turnover rates were at an all-time high. According to SHRM, an estimated 41 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in 2018, up 8% from 2017. The same article predicted that by 2020, the number would jump to 47 million—or roughly one in three workers. And according to recent DoorDash for Work data, only 15% of businesses report a retention rate higher than 90%.

What exactly is turnover costing businesses? A lot. According to Gallup, U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion every year to voluntary turnover. For a 100-person organization that provides an average salary of $50,000, turnover and replacement costs amount to between $660,000 and $2.6 million per year. For bigger organizations, the number only grows. But regardless of size, the cost of replacing just one individual employee can—in a conservative estimate from Gallup—range from one-half to two times their annual salary. 

It all points to a greater cultural shift. For many workers, satisfaction is just as important as salary. Young workers that make up a growing percentage of the workforce seek fulfillment, excitement, and feel strongly about working for companies that reflect their personal values, happiness included—and happiness goes hand in hand with performance. For many years, the idea that happy employees work harder has just been a theory. Now, a new study from the University of Warwick confirms that happiness boosts employee productivity by upwards of 12%—a significant improvement for the average worker.

When looking at an eight-hour workday, 12% translates to 58 minutes or roughly an hour of added productivity. That’s 1,152 minutes of added productivity per month, and 230+ additional hours per year—totaling over 6.25 weeks of full-time work in additional productivity per employee, per year. All of this extra productivity can multiply results and help your organization reach goals exponentially faster. 

Achieving a 100% employee satisfaction rate isn’t realistic—or necessary—for even the most successful companies. But the closer you can push that number to 100, the greater ROI and productivity impact you’ll see.   

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Investment in employees pays off

What do companies like Google, Hubspot, and Zoom all have in common? They’ve made significant investments in employee happiness, and it’s paid off in their overall success. 

Of course, your business may not have the disposable capital those companies have, but the truth is you don’t need it. Investing in employee happiness doesn’t have to translate to introducing a costly pie-in-the-sky benefit or raising salaries across the board. A recent survey shows that 69% of remote employees are dealing with burnout on a daily basis, which negatively impacts their happiness. Think of what your employees need on a daily basis to feel happier and be productive: more time, less stress, and better focus. 

One of those daily needs is food. In a recent survey conducted by DoorDash for Work, 85% of respondents said regular food delivery would increase their overall job satisfaction. The last year has been especially stressful for employees, accelerating the “always-on” culture for many with desk jobs. 57% of employees report themselves as consistently too busy to take a full hour lunch break. That’s time they need to nourish themselves and reset—and when lunchtime is limited or skipped altogether, employees may experience brain fog, “hanger” (an emotional state brought on by lack of food), or make mistakes at work. 

For workers with families to feed, meal stress can be even more extreme. 53% of parents have made an error at work because they had to prepare food for their family. Providing your employees with a solution that eases food stress, promotes health and wellbeing, and perhaps even covering some of their food costs—whether in the form of subscription-based DashPass for Work, expensed meals, gift cards, or any other perk—can mean a measurable difference in your employees’ happiness and productivity. 

How DoorDash for Work can help

Deciding how to improve employee happiness and productivity can be a difficult and overwhelming task. But when it comes to delivering food-focused benefits, DoorDash has you covered. DoorDash for Work is DoorDash’s specialized business offering, providing companies with dynamic food perks and benefits that employees love—and that your bottom line loves back. The DoorDash for Work product suite includes easy-to-use offerings for DoorDash group orders, expensed meals, and gift cards—but the golden ticket to food-perk success is DashPass for Work.

DashPass for Work is a subscription service offering zero-dollar delivery and reduced service fees on an unlimited number of DoorDash orders—any hour, any day—for any employees your company chooses to enroll. With easy-to-activate accounts and an extensive delivery radius, DashPass makes it easier than ever for your business to increase employee happiness and save on food perk expenses at the same time.

Previously, you may have relied on office meals out or in-office catering, but with more companies remote (at least part of the week) than ever, you need flexible solutions that can reach employees at home. A DashPass for Work subscription saves employees an average of $4-$5 per delivery at the largest variety of restaurants in their area, on and off the clock, in the office or at home.

For more information on what employees want in their HR benefits packages, download The State of Employee Benefits Report.


Kristen Van Nest

Kristen Van Nest is a L.A.-based freelance B2B Content Manager with bylines in Forbes, HuffPost, and VentureBeat to name a few. As a former Fulbright Scholar and Newsroom Columnist for the British Chamber of Commerce’s publication in China, she specializes in market trends and strategies businesses can use to grow. Her free time is spent ordering in dumplings and honeycomb ice cream and writing funny content to make people laugh.