Whose responsibility is it to ensure staff are happy at work?

We are all aware of the research that points to greater engagement of and productivity by staff if they are happy at work. But whose responsibility is it to ensure staff feel happy at work?


Much of the literature I have read on this topic seems to indicate it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a workplace in which employees can be happy.


In the book, ‘The Art of Happiness: A handbook for living’ the Dalai Lama stated:

‘The purpose of life is happiness. Happiness is determined more by the state of one’s mind than by one’s external conditions, circumstances or events (once one’s basic survival needs are met). Happiness can be achieved through the systematic training of our hearts and minds, through reshaping our attitudes and outlook. The key to happiness is in our own hands.’ 

From this, it would seem that it is no-one’s responsibility but our own to find happiness and feel happy.


I believe it’s not the employer’s responsibility to provide resources and do everything possible to make employees happy.

"It’s not the employer’s responsibility to make employees happy."

Employers can’t make employees happy. In fact, in some cases, no matter what the employer offers or provides, some employees won’t ever be happy at work because the employee has not accepted and taken responsibility for their own feelings and emotions.

In addition to employers implementing strategies that create and contribute to harmonious work environments, employers should aim to offer health and well being initiatives which educate employees about such concepts as:

  1.  The responsibility for one’s feelings and emotions lies with each individual;
  2.  Unhappiness is caused by the gap between how we perceive things and how things really are and that it is our state of mind which obstructs our ability to feel happy; and
  3.  The ‘Art of Happiness’.

There are many complex factors and variables at play in determining one’s satisfaction at work as well as one’s overall satisfaction in life.

In the book, ‘The Art of Happiness at Work’ written by the Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler, Cutler wrote:

‘The Dalai Lama has no need for pretence for acting in a certain way in public or while ‘at work’ and another way in private and could just be himself, wherever he went. This made his work seem effortless. Most of us have a long way to go before reaching this level of integration, but the more we can reduce the gap between who we are and what we do, the more effortless or work will become.’

Maybe the key to happiness at work lies in our ability know ourselves, be truly comfortable with that knowledge and then be consistent and authentic in our expression of who we really are. If our work then seems more effortless, surely we will be more happy at work? And surely there would be less need for mediation or conflict resolution?

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