Why Employee Happiness Should Be On Top Of Your Agenda

Why Employee Happiness Should Be On Top Of Your AgendaI have a friend of mine (let’s call him Pretend) who is worth mentioning here.

Pretend plays an active role in today’s corporate culture. Pretend punches in to work every morning, to masquerade happiness all day long. Although pretend savors strongly of disappointment, he deceives you by trying to fit in with all other employees. Pretend is there only for the monthly paycheck, and has definitely mastered pride and aspiration swallowing. Hence, you will not detect a drop of plastic in Pretend during the Employee Satisfaction Survey for everything is normal, thank you very much! Do you know someone who sounds a lot similar to Pretend?

Pretending to be happy is a genuine anti-dote to happiness. While happiness is a catalyst that helps you find what you love and believe in, it also boosts productivity and improves business outcomes positively.

By creating a culture of thoughtfulness you can always infuse happiness back into the environment right? Moreover, what could you do to keep your employees happy? Will it breed loyalty? Most importantly, why is it necessary to keep them happy?

A 2013 study by Gallup revealed that 70% of employees are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged - emotionally disconnected from work, costing the U.S. economy $450 to $550 billion annually due to lost productivity. That’s seven out of 10 American workers. Gallup researcher, James Harter found that the sales and profits of any organization can be predicted by measuring employees’ feelings about the organization.

An enthusiastic, happier workforce empowers the organization by personally investing in doing what they love. They tend to approach work more passionately and creatively.

Isn’t it a little bizarre! How can you measure employee happiness?

Happiness at work, unfortunately, cannot be measured by the hours spent by each employee daily, but with the level of contagious creativity, innovation and productivity they bring to their work. This again is backed by several leading positive psychology experts.

Shawn Achor, world’s leading positive psychology expert, and bestselling author of ‘The Happy Secret to Better Work’, says that happiness is the secret ingredient to success. The human brain is more engaged, creative, productive and flexible when in a positive state.

Employee happiness exhibits better customer satisfaction and affects business performance. That has been shown in several studies over the past few years. So that’s not news at all, right?

Happy employees are the ambassadors of the culture your company cultivates. Unfortunately, employee happiness is often confused with job satisfaction even with some of the biggest companies in the world.

In 2014, world’s biggest e-tailer Amazon.com Inc., was in news for offering $5000 to its warehouse employee under the Pay to Quit program. The progressive human resource strategy intends on annihilating employees who are unhappy with their job and are looking for a golden parachute. The idea was invented by Tony Hsieh and his colleagues at Zappos, for new recruits to experience the company’s unique deep-dive training program.

At Zappos, every newly hired employee has to go through the exact same training, be it an accountant or a software developer. To take phone calls from customers, during the four-week training program. At the end of the first week, the entire class is given an offer to get paid for the time they’ve spent at training as well as a bonus of $2,000 to quit. The logic behind it is to weed out people who are there just for the paycheck. A little harsh isn’t it? Not really, Zappos cares about the culture it cultivates, and exhibits within and outside. It is in the DNA of the retailer to care about the happiness of each and every living soul associated with the company. It has hired people whose personal value matches their corporate values. Today, Zappos workforce is often cited as the living brand!

Keeping employees happy can depend on what the motivating factors are. What motivates one employee cannot be an identical motivating factor for someone else. It could be through freebies or unique benefits and bonuses. It can be done by implementing flexible work options, by facilitating social network usage and access to healthy office interiors and food. It can also be done by recognizing their efforts and success in an open environment, or by attaining their needs by keeping favorable office environment through music, games and other recreational activities for motivating them.

It allows employees to evolve within the freedom and respect that resonates around them. It empowers them to go the extra mile - beyond what is expected of their job role. It empowers them to change the world for good, and as they evolve, companies evolve too!

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