Happiness doesn’t “just happen” in a business. Many different elements must come together to create an office atmosphere conducive to employee happiness: Do you have a progressive performance management system? Do you prioritize employee recognition? Does your physical office environment promote a positive culture? Do you provide your employees with everything they need to thrive and succeed? Most importantly: Do you communicate with your employees, solicit their feedback, and use it to improve their situations at work?
Before you go to all that effort, you might first want to know: What are the real business benefits of happy employees? Can an employee with a smile on their face really offer much more than an employee who is just watching the clock?
Below, we’ll look at the evidence for why the morale of your team should matter to your business:
Happy Employees Are More Productive
A study from the University of Warwick, found that happiness results in a 12 percent spike in employee productivity. The study also found that unhappy workers were 10 percent less productive than the average. In a nutshell, happy employees are more likely to exceed expectations, achieve goals, and perform at higher rates than unhappy employees are.
Happy Employees Make for Better Leaders
Some also argue that happier employees make for more efficient and more motivational leaders. According to Alexander Kjerulf, chief happiness officer for Woohoo Inc., happy employees make better decisions, are better at time management, work better with others, and possess a number of other critical leadership skills.
Happy Employees Are More Creative
Creativity and happiness at work might be strongly linked. Author Shawn Anchor argues the brain is much more efficient and creative when a person is feeling positive. As a result, happy employees are better able to think outside the box and arrive at novel solutions that frustrated, less positive employees might not consider. This opinion is seconded by Forbes contributor William Craig, who writes that employees who aren’t happy with their work environments are likely to put in less effort at work.
Happy Employees Are More Collaborative
Every manager wants to build a collaborative workforce. While many leaders look to employee performance management tools to help in this endeavor, the key to effective collaboration might be far simpler than all that. Research suggests that happy employees are more collaborative and more driven to work with their colleagues toward common goals. The reason for this may be that content, sociable employees are far more comfortable with one another and are therefore more comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions.
Happy Employees Are More Loyal
Miserable workplaces don’t retain employees. When morale is low, employees start looking for opportunities elsewhere, particularly if they are top performers who know their worth.
Happy employees, on the other hand, are loyal employees. If a person likes their office, enjoys their role, and is comfortable with their colleagues, they’re less likely to leave. A happy workforce means lower turnover overall, which means you won’t have to spend significant time and money looking for replacements who will probably also leave in due course.
How to Cultivate Employee Happiness
The benefits of employee happiness are obvious and varied – but where do you begin when it comes to fostering a happier workforce? It can be overwhelming when you consider how many changes you need to make, but all the effort will pay off in the form of a stronger, more productive organization.
First of all, consider bringing in an employee experience officer (EEO), a new role with which a number of companies have been experimenting recently. According to CMS Wire, the role of an employee experience officer is to “ensure your organization is building a compelling employee experience that’s culture and career driven.” In essence, the EEO will make sure that all workplace processes and structures help employees feel more confident, more capable, and happier in their roles.
Second, consider implementing regular one-on-one meetings with your employees. Managers and employees should be encouraged to develop meaningful and honest relationships. This will go a long way toward improving both employee morale and employee engagement levels throughout the company.
Stuart Hearn is CEO of Clear Review.