Gusto’s Employee Happiness Survey and Why It Matters

Gusto Editors

Do you want to know how to help your clients enhance company performance by creating a positive work environment? When leaders care about employee happiness, they can expect a productivity boost, higher engagement, and a more loyal team. Advisors can help get them there.

At Gusto, we’re committed to helping you be the indispensable advisor your clients turn to again and again. So we’re thrilled to work with CPA Academy to show you why employee happiness matters. The webinar “How to Use People Data to Deliver Advisory Insights” featured accounting experts Will Lopez and Caleb Newquist.

Will Lopez is the Head of Gusto’s accountant community and loves helping CPAs and small businesses to thrive. He’s the founder of AdvisorFi, a modern accounting firm that uses technology to help automate processes and provide financial coaching for small businesses. Will is passionate about Gusto’s vision and how it can be a win-win for advisors and clients.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-at-Large at Gusto and the founding editor of Going Concern, a leading accounting news publication featuring breaking news, developing stories, and industry insights in the field. Caleb combines his editorial eye, content expertise, and accounting background to create his unique brand.

In this article, we are going to cover employee happiness, why employee happiness is important, and the details of Gusto’s employee happiness survey. Let’s get started!

What is Gusto’s Employee Happiness Survey?

One of the best features Gusto offers is access to the Team Insights Report, which shows aggregated answers to the automated Employee Happiness Survey. You can easily view and navigate through this report on the Team Insights page of Gusto’s platform. It will show how your client’s team ranks in four important areas:

  • Employee Happiness
  • Morale and Retention
  • Benefits
  • Management

You’ll be able to easily track answers to each survey question and look at overall trends over time. This bird’s eye view is crucial to gauging employee satisfaction in ways you can take action on. For example, you may notice happiness takes a dip or hits a peak during specific times of the year. Why would that be? What’s going on during that time of year? Maybe satisfaction plummets during tax season. How can your client support their team more during that challenging period?

On the other hand, you may notice that while some departments show consistently high satisfaction, others are chronically low. 

“[You might] look at this one specific survey and say … ‘67% of your team likely or very likely agrees that they’re happy or there’s good morale. … But [then] there’s a big slew of folks [whose] morale is really low, and the ability to retain them is really low.’”

– Will Lopez

At this point, you should start asking questions. Is it management? Is that department understaffed? How organized or disorganized are their processes? You and your client can do more digging to find out what’s causing those negative feelings. 

Female office employee sitting down working, using a digital tablet.

Surveys taken regularly over time can help you identify pain points, take targeted actions, and assess results. It also builds trust between your client and their team. Their staff will appreciate being asked how they feel, and since the survey answers are anonymous, they can feel safe expressing themselves honestly. To provide additional protections, results will only be visible to admins. To gauge for accuracy, you’ll be able to see what percentage of employees took the survey.

So how do you measure things like morale and happiness? Each area of the survey will include a series of questions to answer or statements to rate, such as:

  • How likely do you think the company is to succeed? 
  • I believe that the company is moving in the right direction. 
  • My employer provides better products and services than its competitors.
  • I know what is expected of me in my job. 
  • I feel comfortable talking to my manager about issues. 
  • I feel that I’m well managed.

The great thing about these surveys is that they’re automated, so neither you nor your client will need to keep on top of them. Yet when you do navigate to the platform, you’ll be able to see past, present, and upcoming surveys. 

The Team Insights Report gives you the chance to prove to your client how culture and revenue are related. One of the most important skills you’ll hone will be your ability to point out how revenue and team culture are related.

“Let’s say revenue is up in this one department. Look at [their] department’s employee survey.  They’re super engaged. Their morale is through the roof. You can do the same thing with another department and say, ‘It’s really low. Revenue per head for that department is really low.’ But look at their [morale]. They are just hating life.’”

– Will Lopez

Delivering these insights points to something critical—happy teams are productive teams.

Why is employee engagement important?

Employee engagement reflects employee happiness, and employees are happy when they’re taken care of. This could mean that they’re not worried about a doctor’s bill, they actually go to the doctor because they have health insurance, they’re well-rested because they took a vacation, or they know their employer cares about them. 

Not only is this a good thing to do as a person, but it’s also good for business. Happy, engaged employees tend to do better work. It’s that simple.

“It’s very intuitive. … If people are in a bad mood, [they’re not going to perform well]. … If people are in a [good] mood … they’re going to do better. … Because we spend so much time at work, I think we owe it to ourselves … to just ensure that [we’re] creating an environment where people want to be, and that they have an overall good experience.”

– Caleb Newquist

Caleb shared how some reports indicate most employees would take benefits over a salary hike. So people, more often than not, will prioritize well-being and happiness over money, and that says a lot. We spend much of our lives at work—why make the majority of how we spend our lives be something we can’t wait to get away from? Instead of rushing to clock out, people who love their jobs are actually willing to go above and beyond.

“Happiness directly has an impact on your client’s employees’ ability to stay engaged at work. I’m very happy at Gusto. That’s why I sold my practice, sold my home, [and] moved my life from Florida to Denver to do something incredible for the profession. I would not have done that if it were just a job.”

– Will Lopez

While not every team member is going to go to those lengths, and some may indeed move on eventually, the happier they are, the better. Keeping a team happy is a true win-win situation. Satisfied employees get more out of their job as they’re more willing to learn and take on new skills. This creates better opportunities for them while also making them a more valuable asset in the workplace. 

“When you are happy [and when] you enjoy what you’re doing … [it] makes you committed to your professional endeavors, [which creates] better opportunities for success for yourself, for the client, [and] for your company.”

– Will Lopez
Happy employees working with legal documents at meeting in boardroom.

As an advisor, you have an exciting opportunity to help shift workplace culture for the better. A global human capital trends report by Deloitte found that only 23% of companies believe that their employees are aligned with their goals. Chances are many of your clients need help improving their team culture. As their people advisor, you can be the go-to resource to help them enact change.  

You can help your clients reframe how they think of team culture and employee engagement. When most business owners think of boosting productivity, they don’t think of their team’s happiness—but they should.

“We think, ‘Hey, we can track their time, we can make them more efficient. Let’s organize their schedule. Let’s make sure their tasks are prioritized.’ [But] believe it or not, happiness at work increases productivity three times.”

– Will Lopez

There are so many reasons to make employee contentment a priority. Not only does it make for a workplace that feels better and runs more smoothly, but it also builds upon itself. Think of happiness like an investment with an ROI that keeps increasing over time. 

“[It’s a] cyclical positive cycle. Employee engagement really improves productivity, which increases profitability. Happy employees are more engaged, [so] happiness increases the bottom line for clients. Happiness invokes a positive work environment for the team, [so] happiness improves team retention rates.”

– Will Lopez

Improving team culture also saves you and your client’s time, money, and energy in the short term. It’s no secret that the hiring landscape is competitive, time-consuming, and costly.

“You don’t even have to be into the recruiting game. You can just help them better manage their team and help them retain them. Then you don’t have to do anything around recruiting.”

– Will Lopez

With Gusto’s Team Insights Report, you’ll be well-equipped to shift your client’s workplace for the better.

Learn more about Gusto’s Employee Happiness Survey

Gusto’s Team Insights Report is an easy-to-use, automated survey system that shows you exactly how employees feel about their workplace. By showing you aggregated results over time in the areas of Management, Happiness, Morale and Retention, and Benefits, you can see which areas need improving upon. The survey is conducted anonymously and has targeted questions designed to gauge satisfaction in each area. As an advisor, you can connect the dots between team satisfaction, performance, and revenue. Satisfied people are more engaged and productive. You can easily make this clear to your clients by using Team Insights Report.

Gusto’s mission is to create a world that empowers a better life. We want to make you the best advisor you can be. Take a look at our other articles based on the same webinar: How People Advisory Is Revolutionizing Payroll, A 4-Step Framework to Develop People Advisory Insights, Exploring Gusto People Advisory Reports & Integrations, and What Are People Planning KPIs?.

Becoming a Gusto Partner can make your life easier. Get payroll and HR support for your team and our new advisory revenue stream for your practice through our people advisory platform. As a Gusto partner, you’ll also get tools to help you expand your accounting practice and offer your clients new insights, plus a free payroll subscription for your own accounting firm. Sign up today!

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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