Conventionally, it is thought that increased pay leads to increased productivity. But a recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% increase in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.
According to Professor Andrew Oswald, one of three researchers who led the study, companies that invest in employee support and satisfaction tend to succeed in generating happier workers. At Google, employee satisfaction rose 37% as a result of those initiatives—suggesting that financial incentives aren’t enough to make for highly productive employees.
Your most important assets are human beings and interestingly man is more of an emotional rather than intellectual being. The biggest and most profitable companies in the world understand this truth and are as such committed to the emotional stability of their workforce. Lara Harding, People Programs Manager, Google, gave an insight into how Google look at their people when he said, “At Google, we know that health, family and wellbeing are an important aspect of Googlers’ lives. We have also noticed that employees who are happy … demonstrate increased motivation … [We] … work to ensure that Google is… an emotionally healthy place to work.”
Perhaps one of the most important things business leaders must accomplish is shaping the perception of their workforce in the direction of their corporate vision. When workers see themselves as a part of the company, when they feel at home, are happy and take pride in their job they can withstand any pressure at work.
The happiness of your workforce is directly linked to their productivity. The truth is that even one unhappy employee can negatively impact on your organisational performance. So you want to have happy and satisfied employees because that’s good for your business. Ironically, being the highest paying company in your industry does not guarantee a happy workforce. It takes an intelligent mix of mission, culture and management to create happy employees.
A mission defines what a company lives for. It begins by a clearly defined and effectively communicated mission such that everyone in the organisation from the CEO to the janitor understands clearly, believes in and are excited about. A mission the workforce so believe in that it shapes their life and work attitude. Such as the apocryphal story about a janitor at NASA who when asked by someone what he was doing, replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon.” How could the janitor think that way? The answer is simple. The leadership at NASA did a good work in communicating their mission to the entire workforce.
People are glad to be a part of something meaningful. They put their best effort in a mission or goal that excites them. This is where you begin. Clearly every successful organisation has an exciting mission that is so well communicated that even their security men understand it. For Coca Cola, it is to refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions. For Microsoft, it is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Need we be surprise then these companies make it into the list of the best companies to work in?
“There’s no magic formula for a great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” – Richard Branson
The corporate culture is the core of any businesses and it is as important as getting in the sales. According to Investopedia, a corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviours that determine how the company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.
You should let your corporate culture inspire happiness among your workforce. The advice of Mr Branson sums up the secret of creating a culture that will make the heart of your employees to sing. Following his advice delivers the magic of happiness in your organisation. Imagine for instance, an organisation where the CEO understands how to be firm as well as laugh freely with the employees. That’s just like a good daddy. The staff are glad you are there, not scared. Consider Facebook which targeting a ‘frictionless’ workplace has everyone working together on big, white, communal desks.
Even Mr Zuckerberg doesn’t have an office. Instead, opting to work alongside the other employees in the ‘bull-pen’ like workspace. Potentially having an intern work alongside the boss is incredibly daunting, yet motivating. This surely adds to the corporate culture at Facebook, as equality is not only preached, but practiced.
So think about your peculiar case and create a culture that inspires your employees to believe in your company. Be a mentor rather than a superior. Be unassuming, employees like it.
Besides that, find ways to make people laugh freely at the work place. Nothing beats creating a happier corporate culture by bringing smiles and laughter into the work place.
According to Hal Rosenbluth in his book Customers Come Second, “Profits are a natural extension of happiness in the workplace.” Your employees will care about your business to the degree you care about them. Part of management’s responsibility is to manage the total wellbeing of the employees. You can’t close your eyes and insist on performance when a staff is weighed down by emotional issues. You can’t act like you don’t know someone looks depressed when you should as a matter of fact observe the disposition of your people. Show enough concern in the affairs of your people and they will be happy to give you their commitment.
Finally, it matters how happy your people are. Their productivity depends on how happy they are. When you care about your people they will care about your business. If you neglect that you will watch profits go down the drain.
Brian Reuben is a global thought leader on business and leadership. He helps business leaders improve performance and make more profit. @brianoreuben

SI Magazine

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