When it comes to incentivising employees to be more productive,
employers often resort to raising salaries and/or reducing working hours. While
doing this does result in some measure of short to medium term success, nothing
quite compares to the productivity that is exhibited by a staff member who is
happy in their work.
Recent studies show that no matter how well you pay or how many staff benefits
are available, an unhappy employee is found to be 10 % less productive than the
average whereas a happy employee is 12 % more productive.
The study, which was conducted in the University of Warwick, showed that
happiness has a positive effect on the productivity of a human being. Feelings
of positivity stimulate employees to perform better and enhance their
self-drive. Monetary benefits are not enough when it comes to boosting
Professor Andrew Oswald, a member of the team that conducted the
research, pointed out that employers who invest in employee satisfaction
initiatives benefited from more productive employees.
He highlighted Google where employee satisfaction spiked by 37 % solely
because of the company’s efforts to improve their employee support systems.
This goes to show that financial incentives are just not enough to inspire
motivation in employees.
According to Shawn Anchor, positive feelings greatly impact on the
brain, which in turn improves the productivity of an individual. The author of
The Happiness Advantage explained that positive feelings inspire people to be
more creative and also enhances their problem-solving skills.
Happier employees are also more willing to work as a group and prove to
be more driven towards achieving common goals, according to another study. In
Anchor’s perspective, companies that build strong, personal relationships with
their employees always enjoy greater profits, all because of the enhanced
productivity brought on by the positive environment.
Employee satisfaction however cannot be classified as the responsibility
of the employer alone. There are easy ways employees can create a positive
working environment full of good vibes and happy individuals.
This can be through helping each other out, healthy interactions between
co-employees and even some light meditation for a few minutes every day. The
main idea is to create an environment where the employees feel like they are an
important member of a family, not an insignificant cog in a larger scheme of
Happiness & Leadership
To prove that strong relationships do impact on happiness in the
workplace, two researchers from Harvard conducted a study on students which
revealed that students with better social lives and healthy relationships both
at home and in school tended to be a lot more productive and less likely to
Phil Stone and Tal Ben-Shahar also noted that these happy students
carried on those acquired traits and skills to their respective workplaces and
proved to be better at stress management and better suited to forge strong
relationships with their co-employees.
The two researchers concluded that happier employees also make the best
leaders thanks to their superior human interaction capabilities. Woohoo Inc
founder, Alexander Kjerulf also agrees that happiness in the workplace is the
key to employees with better leadership traits, better time management skills
and, ultimately, better productivity.
So, what does your company do to create a positive, happy working
environment and could you do more?
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