Researchers have been able to link how happiness at work can lead to greater employee productivity.
In fact, some governments have started to compile ‘happiness’ indices, according to an observation by Jessica Pryce-Jones, an Oxford-based psychologist who has spent a lot of time studying and conducting consultancies on ‘Happiness at Work.’ This means that human resources managers as well as line managers cannot ignore the act of deliberately making employees happy at work, if they want to optimise productivity.
Research by Jessica Pryce-Jones shows that happiest employees only take one tenth of the sick leave of the least happy staff. Basically, unhappy employees tend to take a lot more, up to 10 times more, sick leave than the happy ones.
This finding is not surprising because the same research found that happiest staff are six times more energized.
It means that happiness gives employees the energy, impetus and zeal to work and to be productive. This makes a lot of logical and common sense. Endorsed by the research, this phenomenon now becomes fundamental in planning optimisation of staff productivity.
That is why the research further found that happiest staff are twice as productive as the unhappy ones. The case for making employees happy becomes more and more compelling!
Another interesting research finding by Jessica Pryce-Jones is that happiest staff intend to stay twice as long in their organisations as the unhappy ones. This means that the employer will have better skilled and experienced staff if he or she makes them happy, thereby making them stay longer. As staff stay long, they master the company culture and values better and that makes them easily align with the core objectives of the organisation.
Additionally, having staff that stay long brings stability and confidence to the organisation. In fact, any new staff joiners benefit from the longevity of the staff they find in terms the training and induction as well as a source of inspiration to stay long. This way, staying long at the company or organisation becomes rather contagious.
Jessica Pryce-Jones wanted to test her discovery of the positive correlation between happiness at work and productivity by comparing Germany and the ‘happiest country’ in Europe, The Netherlands. In The Netherlands, (the Dutch) staff report being 57 percent of the time happy at work compared with just 37 percent of happiness for the Germans.
Correspondingly, the Dutch spend 66 percent of their time on tasks compared to just 47 percent for the Germans. From these basic statistics, it is abundantly clear that the happier the staff are the more productive they become. There is therefore, big and compelling merit in investing in the happiness of your staff at work because the returns are significant, with as an example, a difference of 20 percentage points between the Germans and the Dutch, worth investing in happiness of staff at work.
As we start the new year, many companies are now beginning to implement their new financial budgets for the year. It is important to ensure that there are resources dedicated to programmes that will make staff happy at work.
I strongly suggest to all human resource managers and directors to consider inclusion of happiness at work as a key strategy for their respective organisations for the year.
This means that they also need to allocate adequate resources to support the implementation of the strategy. While this is true, remember also that you can achieve a lot of happiness for staff without spending too much resources. Most of the things that make employees at work happy are intangible like treating them with respect, acknowledging their contribution, being positively minded and so on.
I am sure that by the end of the year, we will receive some feedback on the wonders of happiness at work in terms of boost to staff morale as well as productivity and therefore, profitability.
Good luck as you plan activities that will boost staff happiness at work, and therefore, optimising employee productivity!