The Happiness Factor

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Apr 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, hiring trends

How Important is Happiness? 

Have you made it a priority? Creating an environment that allows workers to achieve happiness is absolutely crucial for both productivity and employee retainability. Fostering happiness requires much more than implementing perks like ping pong tables and dog walking. It’s about creating a workplace environment that people look forward to investing in and contributing to daily. Happiness is more than just job satisfaction; it incorporates elements of work-life balance, compensation, social interaction, training, recognition, career growth, and acknowledgment. It's a difficult task to measure if your employees are happy. A creative environment with a high paycheck can be a miserable place to work if the atmosphere is toxic. In order to measure happiness, it’s important to analyze as many facets of the employee experience as possible.  

Happines and Autonomy 

One of the most interesting things that can influence an individual employee’s overall level of job satisfaction and happiness is his or her level of autonomy. Many recent studies have shown that workers who feel in control of their workplace environments tend to be the happiest and most productive. This, however, doesn’t mean that every worker needs to have a management role. Instead, focus on how each worker can control aspects of his or her job that are important to them. Whether they need creative control over their schedules, or even just control over their own workspace, allowing your employees to manage aspects of their environment can lead to significant gains in satisfaction and productivity. This sense of autonomy also comes with a sense of security. After all, no one will feel in control of their situation if they believe taking risks will lead to termination. Innovation originates from calculated risks taken for the betterment of the organization. Fostering behaviors like this not only influences happiness, but also the bottom line. Finally, it’s important for employees to see a path forward in their career. While this isn’t directly tied to autonomy, it does further illustrate how the best ideas and innovations will lead them forward to more opportunities. 


Sales Happiness and Productivity  

A recent study showed how increasing happiness at work has a significant impact on nearly every aspect of a business. While the employees in this study were only moderately happier than the control group, the results showed a 37% increase in productivity, a 31% boost in sales, and a 19% improvement in accuracy. These findings prove that even small improvements in overall satisfaction can yield positive results across an organization. It might be helpful to think of the relationship between happiness and productivity as a bell curve. Along the x-axis is a scale from uncertainty to complacency. Along the y-axis is productivity. Workers that are absolutely miserable, obviously, have incredibly low levels of productivity. Workers that are too stimulated become complacent and are just as unproductive. A moderate level of happiness is at the peak of the bell curve, where workers feel good enough to accomplish as much as they can for their company.  

Happiness and productivity walk a fine line. Essentially, happiness has to be managed in the same way as other employee benefits. Become too stingy, and your best employees will leave for better opportunities. If you are too generous, they'll become lulled into a sense of complacency and fail to innovate. Your workers should not be kept in a state of near panic or misery. The most productive workers are highly satisfied with their pay, autonomy, and the atmosphere of their working environment.  It's not necessary for the employees to be paid well above the average salary and to have a constant party atmosphere. 

Intangible benefits are also a factor in overall happiness for your employees.  Companies, like Zappos, have high satisfaction levels within their organization due to great customer service- something that has nothing to do with salary or environment.  In addition to that, multiple studies show that happy workers are less prone to health problems, lowering medical insurance costs and reducing time off.  Happiness is good for everyone in the organization. 

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