The secret to staff happiness is about much more than money, according to new research which shows that training and development, flexible working and regular company social events are just as important as a pay rise to employees within UK small businesses.

Research carried out by Viking on workplace satisfaction indicated that team building and training are both more important than a pay rise to workers.

Overall, 42 per cent of employees are not happy at work, saying they are stressed and unmotivated, with one in three people saying they are not happy for half the working day.

The questionnaire reveals that small business bosses could spend a small amount per employee on social outings and training courses and see happiness increase by 35 per cent - in comparison to a pay rise of £5,000, which only yields a three per cent increase in happiness.

Viking polled more than 1,000 staff in SMEs across a range of sectors to discover the biggest factors of being happy, or unhappy, during their working day, explained Sophie Christopher, a spokesperson for the company.

She said: "We often think that more money will bring greater happiness, and while this is true to a certain extent, it is not the whole story. Employees value being valued."

Respondents also revealed that there are distinct areas that employers could improve on, with nearly half of workers feeling that a lack of job security and not being informed about the bigger picture in terms of company objectives and goals is a main cause for unhappiness.

Furthermore, the employee benefits package was a bigger source of dissatisfaction (53 per cent) than salary itself (51 per cent), showing the importance of flexible working hours, additional holiday entitlement and team social events.

Organisations looking to boost staff happiness and motivation should aim to bring staff together at a convenient location as a means of encouraging togetherness and fostering new working relationships, as well as bolstering existing ones.