While employee happiness might not be top of the list of priorities for most managers when compared to other factors such as worker productivity, creativity and efficiency, it is still true to say that the idea of employee happiness is a growing concern.
This concern has even led to a whole happiness industry springing up, focused around positive psychology, personalisation and individualism.
Why the Worry?
Happiness at work is important for several reasons. Let’s consider a few.
The first thing we need to recognise here is that when organisations are full of unhappy people, they are highly unlikely to be as productive as they need to be in our ultra-competitive world.
The whole idea of happy employees leading to greater productivity is a well-established one and there are many well-known books which back up the theory with solid research.
Our second point is the need to recognise that the world is facing huge challenges and the only way we can face these challenges is through having strongly functioning organisations. The coming together of organisations is how we get things done, how we accomplish things, how we make things happen.
If our organisations are full of unhappy, miserable and unproductive people, then our planet could ultimately be the thing that pays the highest price for this, as our ability to respond to challenges at the needed pace could be hindered or blocked by a wall of unhappiness present in our organisations.
The third thing to remember is that a person’s happiness outside of the workplace is usually dependant on their happiness inside the workplace.
A recent small survey, for example, found that around 80% of people believed that their happiness or unhappiness at work was then reflected in their life outside of the workplace.
So, if we want to live in a world full of happy people, then we need to make sure that our workplaces and organisations are happy places to be.
How organisations can boost employee happiness
So, how can our organisations create a working environment where happiness abounds?
An organisation worth working for
For most people, happiness comes from having a clear purpose and working together with others to achieve that purpose. If our work matters, then this will give us satisfaction and happiness as a result.
In truth, our work usually does matter. Most organisations try to help other people in some way, and the community of workers within the organisation work together to achieve this.
Having a Vision
To maintain happiness, it’s also important that people feel as though they are working towards something. They need to have a vision for the future and to be continually working towards this vision, whilst at the same time learning things along the road.
It is important then for organisations to communicate a clear vision or plan of what they are trying to achieve for the future. Each person within the organisation must then be helped to see that they are making a contribution towards that future not just some of the time, but all of the time.
Having a vision based completely around financial growth also isn’t going to be enough. People want to know that they are making a difference, and studies have consistently shown that the idea of simply ‘making more money’ is less important to most people than making a real difference.
Human beings are social beings. We reap deep satisfaction through our relationships with friends, family, associates and work colleagues. This is why the quality of our working relationships are so important.
This can be especially true with managers and bosses as these are so vital to happiness in the workplace. Generally, when people say that they don’t like a certain ‘working culture’, what they actually mean is that they’re not keen on the people.
Positive people build positive relationships, and this in turn leads to happiness in the workplace.
Impact International is a UK based company with expertise in behavioural change, talent management and leadership development.
Read more about their case studies and events related to leadership development, here.
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