Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone
Employee happiness has increasingly become an imperative in business. Why? There is now growing evidence that when one's employees are happy, organizations thrive. To put this claim into perspective, consider just a few key statistics. One study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. When it comes to salespeople, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%. But the benefits don't end there. Happy employees are also good news for organizations: The stock prices of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for" rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005, while companies not on the list only reported a 6% increase. Defining Happiness In The Workplace So, happiness is linked to productivity. But what does it mean to be “happy” in the workplace? In his book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, Patrick Lencioni boils it down to wanting to feel like who you are matters (you want people to know your name), that what you do has an impact (that you're engaged in relevant work) and you're making progress (that your work is having an impact and leading you and your organization forward). This should be easy, but all too often, employees don't feel valued at all. Why not? Too many companies are overly focused on what they do but overlooking and minimizing who is doing the work, as well as how and why they are doing the work. While job security and financial stability are important to job satisfaction, so are opportunities to use one's skills and abilities. The bottom line is that people need to continue to grow in order to remain engaged and productive.
Promoting Workplace Happiness My personal mantra for over a decade has been that I want to do work that I love, from places I love and with people I enjoy. I would argue that most people want this. The challenge is knowing what this means and how to pursue these opportunities. While I have been ruthless in my pursuit of this type of work, I have fallen flat on my face many times. Life gets busy and demands at work continue to mount. We all get stuck at times — in habits, routines and relationships that don’t serve us well and even limit our happiness. All too often, we are unaware that this is happening because we don’t have the bandwidth to focus on what is and isn’t making us happy. Even when we are clear about what makes us happy, many of us don't know how to find the bandwidth to bring about change. Fortunately, there are a few ways to intervene and build happiness among you and your team.
• Engage with happy people. Some people are happier than others, so go out and find them. Historically, there has been a strong correlation between wealth and happiness, but a recent study suggests this correlation may no longer hold, as people living in emerging economies report just as high or higher levels of happiness than those living in wealthy nations. So, where are the happy people? To begin, try Mexico!
• Foster meaningful relationships. Who you work with matters. According to Harvard Business Review, "close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%." Moreover, "people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work." Build teams that foster friendships and use your current team members to tap new talent. If a member of your team has a strong working relationship with a former colleague and friend, don't hesitate to bring that individual on board. Good people surround themselves with good people.
• Be responsible for your happiness: While happiness can be affected by DNA and life circumstances, Sonia Lyubomirsky suggests in The How of Happiness that we still control roughly 40% of our happiness. Take control of your own happiness and invest in wellness programs to help your employees do the same. As we move toward the final weeks of the year, take stock of yourself and your team. Are your employees happy at work? Are you happy? Consider what you and your employees can collectively do to infuse more happiness into your everyday operations. You'll see an impact on your work, life and bottom line in 2018.