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The financial impact of happiness in an organisation

It’s time to take stock of where your happiness levels are, particularly at work.

We have all - at some or other point in our life - felt completely drained and exasperated at work.

Whether it was because you felt overwhelmed by the demands and expectations or hardened by a sense that you were going the extra mile without receiving any acknowledgement. The truth is you were probably feeling pretty unhappy and not exactly motivated to reach your workplace with a smile on your face.

There are a number of things that an organisation can do to avoid this and create a sense of happiness in the workplace.

Firstly we need to identify what happiness is:

Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness. (Wikipedia)

In this sense we define happiness at work in a similar way, as the overall sense of satisfaction, engagement, joy and recognition that employees experience at their position within an organisation.

Employee happiness is a crucial ingredient for organizational success. Organisations that adopt the mindset of employee happiness being fundamental for success, are reaping the rewards of their employees' happiness. Happiness in the workplace can be achieved when we find enjoyment doing the tasks assigned to us, feel confident about our colleagues, have room to broaden our skill sets, feel respected and acknowledged and are satisfied with the financial (or sometimes non-financial) benefits we receive. The sense of happiness at work is enhanced by what Daniel Pink calls Intrinsic Motivation - where he provides scientific evidence of what drives motivation in the workplace.

Here are just a few statistics to help prove this claim. (Study by University of Warwick):

  • Companies with happy employees outperform competition by 20%

  • Happy employees are 12% more productive

  • Happy salespeople produce 37% greater sales

  • Employees who report being happy at work take 10X fewer sick days than unhappy employees

In a nutshell- happier employees experience higher productivity through engagement and are more open to collaborative projects. This enhances creativity and efficiency which should positively affect the bottom-line.

Financial impact of happiness in an organisation - Bessern

So how can we obtain the culture of happiness within our organisations?

A great place to start is by placing value on your employees’ capacity to learn and develop.

Make the commitment to your employees’ Wellbeing and encourage a culture where staff feel empowered enough to take ownership for their career growth. Make allowances for reflection and fun. Understand what the real motivators are and what to do to build them into the system. Above all, encourage a safe environment where your employees feel vulnerable yet safe enough to voice their opinions without judgement.

Now more than ever, it is important to become passionate about creating a community culture that allows for two-way communication between employees and their leadership. Remember that empowering employees to produce their best work will help in retaining skilled talent, reduce recruitment costs and disruption.

Organisations who invest in the wellbeing of their most valuable assets - human capital - will set themselves apart from the rest and attract new talent. In saying that, we also have to appreciate that the duty of activating happiness can't just lie with the employer but also with the individual employee.

By offering Training (and most importantly practice) on happiness at work and life, your employees can learn about simple practical ways to increase their overall happiness. These are a few examples: Exercising mindfulness, creating healthier and more sustainable habits, meditation, helping others, showing gratitude etc. Just in case you missed it: Practice! building new behaviors is a matter of continuos practice - people learn not because of knowledge, they learn because they practice.

It is never too late to start making Happiness a core value, be it on an organizational or individual level. And in the words of the Dalai Lama:

“ Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions”.


Productivity & Wellbeing Director

You might also like this video on Wellbeing impact on productivity and creativity @ work.

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