The Correlation Between Happiness at Work and Overall Life Satisfaction

Unnamed 3, The DiJulius GroupCaring for your employees does not just impact their professional lives and the company’s bottom line. It is impossible to separate one’s professional life from their personal life. If an employee is miserable at their job and works in a toxic environment, their psychological well-being will be impacted. There is an inevitable spill-over effect making it nearly impossible for them to feel a high level of happiness and life balance when away from the workplace. There is always a correlation between happiness at work and overall life satisfaction.

“When it comes to employee happiness, bosses and supervisors play a bigger role than one might guess. Relationships with management is the top factor in employees’ job satisfaction, which in turn is the second most important determinant of employees’ overall well-being,” shared the authors in McKinsey & Company’s article, The boss factor: Making the world a better place through workplace relationships. Regarding overall satisfaction with their lives, only mental health ranked higher.

Work-Life Balance: An Ongoing Conversation

The term work-life balance has been tossed around for years, and in organizational and industrial psychology, job satisfaction remains a hot topic. As well-being factors go, most if not all employees would put it on their list. And while hypotheses vary somewhat, commonalities, when employees are satisfied with their jobs, include desirable outcomes such as higher performance levels, fewer days away from the workplace, and a stronger commitment to the organization. Job satisfaction has been found to be a positive predictor of life satisfaction; happy employees tend to be happy people in general, enjoying both strong social relationships and satisfaction with family life.

Job Satisfaction Always Starts at the Top

Unfortunately, research also shows 75 percent of employees say that the most stressful aspect of their job was their immediate boss.

“Senior leaders can create a step change in both shareholder and social value by clearly articulating the sizable upsides to high job satisfaction, including educating managers on their pivotal roles and embedding quality of workplace relationships into manager development and performance appraisals,” stated Tera Allas and Bill Schaninger, authors of the McKinsey article. When leaders recognize the positive correlation between job and life satisfaction and are genuinely curious about and moving compassionately toward all employees in the organization, they are embracing servant leadership and potentially can be critical agents of change.

*RelatedBuilding and Developing Great Leaders

Unnamed 2, The DiJulius GroupA strong leader instills a sense of caring, trust, and confidence in their team members. Love and trust can’t be demanded, they must be given to be received. In these types of work cultures, employees feel empowered and are more likely to give feedback on how things can be better. When employees are part of the innovation process, an incredible sense of ownership and buy-in occurs, and a significant increase in execution. And their levels of career satisfaction soar.

Countless studies show irrefutable evidence between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profitability. For example, one study showed how call-center workers’ weekly sales increased by 25 percent when their happiness increased by one point (on a scale of one to five). Research in the Journal of Applied Psychology, titled Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes, found that the top 25% of brands with the highest employee engagement enjoyed one- to four-percenthigher profit margins than those in the bottom 25%. That should satisfy the shareholder theorists.

*RelatedThe Great Resignation Actually Started Over a Decade Ago

For Employee Well-Being, Give Caring Leadership a Try

The primary duty of leaders is to care for their people. They must inspire teams to embrace a customer purpose and enable their success by allocating sufficient time, education, and resources to accomplish this mission. Leaders must role model, practice, preach, and teach the values that systematically reinforce a loving culture through symbols, words, and deeds. Employee well-being must always be top of mind. 

“Leading people is a privilege and a responsibility, and it is not exploitable.

You have to earn this privilege.”

Revolutionary Leaders Offer the Best Employee Experience

The primary question great companies need to focus on when building a world-class internal culture is ‘How does a leader help their employees live an extraordinary life?’ Research shows that this type of leadership mentality enhances both team performance and satisfaction. Similarly, when customers are happier, employees are happier, and studies demonstrate that managers themselves are happier and find their roles more meaningful when they feel they are helping their team members. Such positive emotions go hand-in-hand with subjective well-being aka happiness and lead to positive relationships in the workplace, both on the front lines and behind the scenes, as well as having a beneficial impact on the customer’s experience.

*RelatedThe Canceling of Hustle Culture…Who is Right

When Leaders Put Employee Satisfaction First, Everyone Wins

Unnamed 16, The DiJulius GroupHowever, leaders will struggle with fully embracing this type of leadership style until senior management stops incentivizing the wrong behaviors, stemming from negative emotions, and instead provides the necessary leadership soft skill training that results in higher employee satisfaction. Gallup research contends that only one in 10 people possess the necessary traits exhibited by great managers, traits which include building relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and transparency. Leaders must stop ignoring the direct relationship between happiness and job satisfaction.

In an HBR article titled Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? Organizational Psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic suggests that many leaders achieve their positions by being self-centered, overconfident, narcissistic, arrogant, manipulative, and risk-prone. Establishing great relationships with people working for them is the last thing on their minds. 

While this sometimes still may be true, the time of uncaring, fear-based leadership is coming to an end. It is when employees feel their leaders are approachable and truly care about them as human beings that the strongest organizations are built. Leaders enjoying their roles more take this training and management approach the full circle, guaranteeing the organization’s ultimate goal: a world-class customer experience.

Get 50% off a case of The Relationship Economy for your team

Episode 114 of the CSRev Podcast 

114: How Leaders Can Be Better Storytellers

Unnamed 8 E1681739717489, The DiJulius GroupChief Revolution Officer John DiJulius of the DiJulius Group talks with LaQuita Cleare, CEO of Clear Communication Academy, a highly sought-after international speaker and storytelling expert who believes in the power of communication to create change.


You will learn:

  • Why storytelling is so critical to being a successful leader
  • What are the most uncommon mistakes leaders make when trying to incorporate storytelling? 
  • When are the details of a story important and when are they unnecessary?



“Lives will be changed for the better because we made a difference 

in someone’s life at a time when they were just about to give up.”



Check out this 90-second video on How to make your New Employee Orientation an Experience


Register for the 2023 Customer Service Revolution Conference and save $250


2023 Speaker Lineup, The DiJulius Group

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.