According to a study, Felicidad y Trabajo (Happiness and Work) conducted by the Mexican consultancy firm Crecimiento Sustentable, happy people work more energetically and dynamically resulting in more efficient and productive companies.
The study reveals that a happy employee is subject to less risk, prevents accidents and sees the good side of problems or incidents at the work place. In other words, these elements motivate employees to make decisions that help mitigate or overcome adversity.
Furthermore, a pleasant atmosphere determines positive personal relationships among individuals, it offers control and autonomy, helps them develop creativity and meet objectives, therefore enabling a work-life balance.
The study surveyed over 1,500 professionals in Mexico and describes the following benefits in organizations with happy employees:
- Up to 33% more energy and dynamism, which leads to increased efficiency and productivity in organizations
- Up to 300% decrease in work-related accident risks
- A positive outlook that enables problem solving
- Better adjustment to changes
The participants described that happiness at work “is directly related with enjoying the work you do, feeling proud of the company and working with people where there is good relationship. Working long hours without lifting your head or interacting with colleagues generates pessimistic and dull employees. This translates directly in a drop of productivity.”
Tips for keeping employees happy and productive
Leonard J. Glick, professor of management and organizational development at Boston’s Northeastern University, reveals a series of tips to keep workers happy and producing in a Forbes magazine article:
- Build ownership among your staff It is important to get employees to feel that they own the organization, not just work there. The fact of having employees feeling responsible for the product or service that the customer is buying not only makes them feel more satisfied but also more committed. One way to inspire this feeling is to make sure that they all know what is being done at each stage of production, which allows them to participate with ideas for improvement throughout the process.
- Trust employees to leave their comfort zone Employees will most likely not want to do a specific task over and over again until they retire. You should grant them new responsibilities that will allow them to grow and become more confident, while making them feel more valuable to the organization. “To me the biggest risk is having people get burnt out or bored,” explains Glick.
- Keep your team informed It is natural for business leaders to have a clearer perspective on the bigger picture than their employees do. It pays to share information with them, especially before they find out through others. Learning about how the numbers are adding up or about the challenges down the road invites them to participate in the company’s progress.
- Treat your employees as adults Bad news shared with employees should be crystal clear. Employees are not children that need you covering up the bad news; if they realize that you are treating them that way, the result will be much worse than the bad news itself. “Generally, employees can handle the information; sharing it will make them feel that they are being taken into account,” affirms the professor.
- You are the boss, do not forget your leadership position It is important for you not to forget your leadership position, especially upon making difficult or complex decisions. “You must assume this responsibility since organizations require leadership for overcoming adversity or difficult times,” affirms Glick.
- Money matters (but not as much as you think) Employees take compensation into account upon accepting a job offer, but once the deal has been struck the source of motivation tends to shift. According to the professor, “the motivation comes from the opportunity to learn, to contribute.”
- Perks matter (but not as much as you think) Some companies are famous for the perks they offer to their personnel at the work place, ranging from bars to even ping pong tables. However, these lose value if they are not accompanied by policies of motivation and commitment centering on employees. “It may make it easier for them to come to work, but it doesn’t mean that people will work harder or better because of these perks,” concludes Glick.