5 Innovative HR Practices to Increase Employee Happiness


HR is a living, breathing industry. It evolves with the times and shifting desires of humanity—for example, 80% of candidates prefer additional benefits (hello, flexible vacation) to income increases. It’s been proven that positive work cultures promote productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction. We’re not talking beer fridges and foosball tables, either. The bottom line? Companies need to stay fluid when it comes to their policies, and these five innovative practices put people first.


Making vacation mandatory.
Traditionally, companies offer up to two or three weeks of paid vacation time. But today’s innovators are actually making it mandatory, with no hard cap. Prioritizing time off shows commitment to employees’ well-being. Some companies are even offering unlimited vacation, creating a culture of trust amongst employees, who feel like they can be accountable for the work they put in. Dropbox and Glassdoor are following this trend and seeing positive returns, while Patagonia and Unbounce are going the extra mile by offering a travel budget that encourages employees to get outside.

Hiring for culture add, not for work experience.
Companies like Zappos see the value in adding people to their team who will not only align with their culture, but who will add to it. The theory is that skills can always be taught—aptitude, attitude, and passion cannot. We’re not saying don’t hire for skills, but try not to hold it as your make-or-break when seeking the right talent for your team.

Offering workplace flexibility.
Technology (thanks, internet gods) has allowed us the incredible opportunity to work wherever, whenever. Offering your employees the option to work remotely can make or break a key hire. This is especially important in recognizing the variety of work-life balance needs of your team. Studies have shown up to 80% of employees who work remotely report lower stress levels, and close to 55% percent of workers today across North America work remotely full time. This kind of flexibility ensures you’re inclusive of people from all walks of life, whether they’re new parents or aspiring immigrants.

Investing in employee health—beyond the basics.
Yes, benefits plans are costly. And many are limited to a cookie-cutter set of coverage. But that doesn’t prohibit you from adding on. Bring in a massage therapist one day a week and dedicate a meeting room to relaxation. You can offer a budget for innovative health practices like floating, yoga, or cryotherapy. You can also take a page out of Prentice Hall Publishing’s culture book and dedicate a space to meditation. Showing your employees you care about their health will not only increase loyalty, it will keep them happy, healthy, and productive.

Adopting AI.
Let’s be honest, HR has never really been famous for being ahead of the curve. But now is their time to shine. Data availability is enabling HR to incorporate advanced analytics and AI into their work, from recruitment to retention. These insights are increasing engagement, allowing for smarter hires, and supporting employees through optimized internal modeling.

There are several other methods for boosting employee happiness and keeping your team healthy in mind and body, like pet-friendly workplaces, education budgets, and more. Whatever your methods, the key is to remember that employees are the heart of an organization, and innovating HR policies is the first step to truly honouring their worth.

Eleven Eleven Talent Collective
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