Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life — at least that’s how the old adage goes. Unfortunately, finding a job we love is often difficult, seeing as nearly 70 percent of employees in the United States have expressed dissatisfaction with their place of work. Maybe those companies would put more effort into making their employees happier if they knew it would improve their bottom line.

Researchers from the University of Split in Croatia recently examined the link between employee satisfaction and a company’s performance based on different markers of financial success. Lead researcher Danica Bakotić concluded that "companies with more satisfied workers were more successful."

Bakotić and her colleagues analyzed the performance of 40 large- and medium-sized companies in Croatia. They based their assessment on 10 financial indicators that included earnings, labor costs, and return on assets. Around 6,000 employees from the companies completed questionnaires gauging satisfaction with different aspects of the job such as pay, job security, hours, and management.

The findings showed that a company with more satisfied employees is also more likely to be successful. Although the research team did discover a relationship between a company’s financial success and the satisfaction of its employees, it was deemed a low-intensity link. Bakotić went on to quote Napoleon: "The effectiveness of the army depends on its size, training, experience, and morale, and morale is worth more than all the other factors together."

"It could be stated that job satisfaction more strongly determines organizational performance than organizational performance determines job satisfaction," said Bakotić in a statement.

Similar studies have found that happy employees are more productive, which in turn makes companies more successful. Researchers from the University of Warwick decided to test this theory by recruiting 700 participants and asking them to perform a series of math problems. Half of the group received a piece of chocolate or fruit and watched comedy routines while the other received no food and watched a placebo video. Participants who were given chocolate and watched stand-up comedy prior to completing their task experienced a 12 percent increase in productivity.

So how do companies go about making their employees happy? Flexible work hours not only lead to happier employees, they can make them healthier, too. Research published in the journal of the National Sleep Foundation, Sleep Health, found that employees who are given the opportunity to control their own schedule gained an extra eight minutes of sleep each night, which added up to almost an hour each week. Insufficient sleep, whether it's by choice or the result of an inflexible work schedule, can lead to a variety of health complications, including weight gain, memory loss, and poor heart health.

Source: Bakotić D, et al. Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Organizational Performance. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja. 2016.