Written By: Alan Kohll
Chances are, a lot of your employees aren’t happy at work. According to a recent Gallup survey, as summarized by CBS Moneywatch, of America’s 100 million full-time employees, 51% aren’t engaged at work – meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs and tend to do the bare minimum. Another 16% reported being “actively disengaged,” meaning they resent their jobs and tend to drag down office morale as a result.
A separate study by Gallup and the Queens School of Business shared insight on the costly effects of these disengaged employees. They found that disengaged workers had 37% higher levels of absenteeism, 49% more accidents and 60% more errors and defects. Companies with low employee engagement scores also experienced 18% less productivity, 37% lower job growth and 65% lower share price over time.
To combat the threat of a disengaged, unproductive workforce, employers should strive to help employees feel happy in the workplace. Happy employees tend to be more engaged. Plenty of scientific research over the years supports that there are clear neurological links between feelings, thoughts and actions. Employees whom feel happy at their company and hold a positive mindset are more likely to behave in such manner at the workplace. Happiness has many benefits in the workplace that can ultimately lead to a successful workforce.
Benefits Of Happiness In The Workplace:
In Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, Achor states that “when we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive.” Happy employees are – for the most part – better employees. Here are just a few examples of the benefits of happiness in the workplace:
Happiness combats stress – a prevalent health issue in the workplace. Overly stressed employees can suffer from chronic aches and pains, high blood pressure and insomnia. Stress levels tend to linger longer in unhappy employees and carry more detrimental effects. In contrast, the positive emotions of happy employees help build resilience when it comes to workplace stress.
An office filled with happy employees creates a positive and strong company culture. Office moraleis at its peak when employees are happy with their job and company. A happy environment tends to cultivate social connections and relationships between colleagues, creating a more family-like feel to the company.
A strong company culture also benefits a company’s retention efforts. Keeping employees happy and positive greatly reduces turnover. Happy employees stay in their roles twice as long as their unhappy colleagues. Promoting employee happiness keeps employees dedicated, loyal and less likely to be looking for other jobs.
Research shows a strong link between job satisfaction and overall work performance. Unhappy and disengaged workers don’t perform their best and aren’t as productive as happier employees. Happy employees tend to devote more time and effort to their work. This means that happy employees give companies a competitive edge. In fact, organizations with happy employees outperform their competition by 20%.
Tips For Promoting Happiness In The Workplace:
While a lot of companies provide fun perks intended to boost employee happiness, many still miss the boat. Trendy benefits like office game rooms and nap pods are certainly great perks, but to truly boost employee happiness, employees need to feel empowered, respected and appreciated. Fulfilling these fundamental needs will take more than free beers on Fridays.
The following are some examples of budget-friendly tips to boost employee happiness:
Nurture social connections. Although it might sound cheesy, most employees need workplace connections to feel happy in their roles. According to an infographic by Robert Half, employees who have good relationships with their co-workers are 2.5 times more likely to be happy than those who do not. Employers should make an effort to provide opportunities for social engagement.
Use positive messaging. The words employers choose in the workplace play a huge role in employee happiness. Positive words lead to a happier culture and happier employees. Positive messaging means using words and communication that bring about positive interactions. Employers should strive to be personal, encouraging, passionate and empowering during while interacting with employees.
Encourage healthy work-life balance. Work-life balance has a strong impact on employee happiness. Employees need to feel that their personal lives are valued just as much as their professional lives. Employers can offer flexible hours, allow employees to work from home when needed and encourage employees to use their PTO.
Express gratitude. Employee appreciation is one of the keys to workplace happiness. An easy way for employers to express appreciation to employees is through gratitude. Employers should genuinely thank employees for a job well done. Even a small amount of recognition and thankfulness goes a long way.
Listen. It’s extremely important for employees to feel heard. Employers should stay receptive and encourage employee feedback. For employees to be happy, they need to feel like they are a part of the decision-making process and that their ideas are valued and respected.
Celebrate contributions. Employees have small successes every day that goes unrecognized. While it’s not plausible to celebrate every little accomplishment, it’s important for employers to make an effort to celebrate some employee contributions.
Lead by example. Happy managers inspire happy employees. Employers can lead a happy workforce by smiling and laughing more, staying out of workplace gossip, practicing healthy habits and maintaining an optimistic attitude.
Employers will greatly benefit from investing in employee happiness. When employees are happy, they care more about their work and the success of their company. Team goals and customer service become priorities, and happier employees easily find meaning and fulfillment in their work. The great thing about promoting employee happiness? It doesn’t even have to cost a dime. By respecting, appreciating and empowering employees, employers can boost employee happiness and positivity more than an expensive employee happy hour ever could.
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