Arsala Sayed is an astute HR professional with vast experience in Retail and Development sector, augmented by a strong post-secondary background in Human Resources. Post-MBA, she pursued Advanced Human Resource Management from IIM Ahmedabad which triggered her strategic insights and her passion for the domain developed even more. For her, the essence of humanity is also very important along with maintaining the equilibrium between human resource and the management. According to her, HR is all about “Humane Resources”.
It is a fact – happy employees perform the best. If an employee is truly engaged in the workplace, he/she would make fewer excuses to escape work and thus perform better. But how does something as simple as happiness make that happen? Is it really that straightforward? Let’s understand.
You’ll often hear families say, “When mom/dad is happy, the entire family is happy.” Well, that same statement can be translated over to the workplace by saying, “When the employees are happy, the entire business is happy.” Having worked as an HR professional all through my career, my life revolves around my employees and my observations have been that a happy employee is subject to being more PRODUCTIVE, CREATIVE, and LIKELY TO RETAIN. It’s really not surprising; employees that are happier with their jobs are going to take fewer coffee breaks and bathroom breaks, which are really just about getting away from their desks. They’re going to be more engaged at work, see the bigger picture and offer up creative ideas and suggestions that may positively benefit the whole business. And when they’re happier at work, they’re less likely to look for somewhere else to be, which means that retention is easier. In other words, these elements motivate employees to make decisions that help mitigate or overcome adversity. In fact, according to a Gallup survey, teams with high employee engagement rates are 21% more productive and have 28% less internal theft than those with low engagement.
Why Do Happy Employees Result in Greater Productivity?
Happiness is an emotion, a positive one. When people have positive emotions they broaden their focus, expand their thinking, and learn better. One study by the Social Market Foundation revealed that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. But the benefits don’t end there. Happy employees also add to the profitability of organisations: The stock prices of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005, while companies not on the list only reported a 6% increase (courtesy: Forbes). That is why happiness should have an important consideration in every company.
The level of happiness has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality. A study from the University of Warwick found that happiness results in a 12 per cent spike in employee productivity. The study also found that unhappy workers were 10 per cent less productive than the average. These are all qualities that add value to a company. After all, if employees are happy, the company will be, too. Unfortunately, however, sometimes people are not happy in their workplace. Why is this? This may be due to their role and responsibilities, their relationships, their salary, their work-life balance and/or their benefits and incentives. No matter what the cause, there are some signals employees displays that demonstrate their low commitment to the company. These include less productivity, a rough attitude, higher absences, and low-quality work. Naturally, all of these behaviours negatively impact the company’s performance.
A happy work environment has the power to alter employees’ mood and their productivity and a validated example of that is Google.
So why exactly are happy employees more productive?
Happy Employees are More Collaborative
Every manager wants to build a collaborative workforce. Happy employees are more collaborative and more driven to work with their colleagues toward common goals. The reason for this may be that content, sociable employees are far more comfortable with one another and are therefore more comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. Happy employees are typically the ones who care about the company and are driven to make it achieve its goals, they are the only ones who even bother to find out these goals in the first place. When employees are happy, they feel invested in the organisation’s goals and are more compelled to work. They align their individual goals to organisational goals which leads to a win-win situation for both.
Happiness increases productivity because it leads to higher engagement. So, happy employees are also more present. They pay more attention to the needs of customers and they are more alert to the company’s processes and systems. All these factors come together to bring organisations increased productivity and profitability.
Happy Employees Demonstrate Better Customer Relationship
Human emotions, whether positive or negative, are easily transmittable. Make sure that the only emotion that your employees are communicating with your customers is positivity. Invest in the happiness of your workers and see yourself how it will pay back with happy customers willing to shop with you more.
Happy employees are typically the ones who care about the company and are driven to make it achieve its goals, they are the only ones who even bother to find out these goals in the first place.
Happy Employees are More Creative
Creativity and happiness at work might be strongly linked. The brain works more efficiently and creatively when a person is feeling positive. As a result, happy employees are better at thinking outside of the box and arriving at novel solutions than frustrated, less positive employees. Employees who aren’t happy with their work environments are likely to put in less effort at work.
Happy Employees are More Loyal
Happy employees are more resilient and are more likely to stay with their employers for the long term. A lowered turnover means less time and money spent on hiring and training new employees as well as fewer breaks or slowdowns in productivity to induct them. Furthermore, happy employees make it a point to show up to work and do more work. They find it easier to go above and beyond what is expected of them and put in those precious overtime hours. Keep in mind that appreciation breeds loyalty. A recent survey from Boston Consulting Group has found that most people want just one simple thing from their jobs: appreciation for their work. Who bothers looking for another job when they enjoy the one they have and are appreciated there?
Happy Employees Take More Risks
Innovation is the lifeblood of any business, and it is only happy employees that are inspired enough to think outside the box and come up with the creative solutions your organisation needs. Happy employees are more likely to take calculated risks, while unhappy employees are more likely to play it safe. Business is not about playing it safe, it is about taking the right opportunities at the right time and happy employees are more engaged and hence more likely to notice and act upon gaps in the market and/or your company’s processes. Happy employees also create a supportive environment in the workplace that encourages everyone to learn from their mistakes rather than fear them. Mistakes can be a powerful learning tool that can open the door to unforeseen success and employees who are afraid to make mistakes stand to miss out on these important learning opportunities.
Happiness Breeds like Rabbits
Happiness is of a multiplying nature – when watered it can grow all over the entire company. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and sociologist at Harvard University, advocates the idea that happiness is contagious. Using data from a study that tracked about 5,000 people over 20 years, he suggests that happiness, like the flu, can spread from person to person. When people who are close to us, both in terms of social ties (friends or relatives) and physical proximity, become happier, we do too. More happy employees result in more happy bosses, which further result in more happy employees, and the cycle continues.
Employees who find joy in their work easily become shining role models for their co-workers and encourage them to also take joy in their work. Managers who find joy in their jobs also encourage the workers under them to enjoy their work and are less likely to be stereotypically tyrannical.
The brain works more efficiently and creatively when a person is feeling positive. As a result, happy employees are better at thinking outside of the box and arriving at novel solutions.
Happiness increases productivity because happy employees support one other. When employees have positive attitudes they are more willing to support fellow workers in achieving the company’s goals, especially in group projects. Happy employees are also more likely to ask for help when they need it and this is very important for productivity because many employees feel ashamed to ask for support when they need it.
When employees are happy, they are your very best Ambassadors -James Sinegal