As a business owner, one of your main concerns is productivity. Are your employees making enough sales, products, etc. to keep the business going and growing? Those are important questions, but remember to look beyond the output numbers. Simply asking your team to produce most likely won’t do the trick. Here’s how digging a little deeper and addressing employee happiness can help you increase productivity.
Linking happiness to output might seem like a stretch, but there are some hard numbers to show it’s more than feel-good advice. For example, a recent study from the University of Warwick found that happiness helped workers be 12 percent more productive, and that makes sense if you think about it.
Picture a day when you were particularly happy. Now think about that time your refrigerator stopped working, your car broke down, and you got gum stuck in your hair. Which day did you feel more motivated? Which day did you get more done? We’re guessing the happier day was more fruitful. When we’re sad or disgruntled, our minds tend to focus on that. We become distracted. Things are less inspiring. We’re less inspiring, and our work reflects that.
What if everyone in your company was 12 percent more productive? The exponential impact of that production on sales, deadlines and everything in between is huge. When you start to look at it that way, focusing on happiness in the office starts to seem less frivolous and more business savvy.
How to Move the Happiness Meter
So how do you make this happiness knowledge work for you? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Encourage engagement. Employees who have a voice feel more invested in the company. That engagement can increase happiness and productivity. Start by asking for feedback from your team and really listening to it. This doesn’t mean you have to submit to their every whim. There are some things—required procedures, processes, etc.—we all have to just deal with, but there are likely things you can adjust too.
Put out surveys or ask for in-person feedback. Listen with an open mind and make practical changes your team can see. When you make changes based on your employees’ feedback, they’ll feel heard, valued and appreciated.
Focus on the positive. You have the power to create a positive environment within your business. Even if there’s room for improvement, your team is probably doing some pretty great things. Recognizing those achievements both publicly and privately will help set a positive tone. Research from Bersin & Associates shows that, “In organizations where recognition occurs, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are about 14 percent better than in those where recognition does not occur.” Make a habit of pointing out achievements. You could even implement a process for recognition with something like a quarterly award.
Don’t be afraid to address (and fix) the negative. Increasing happiness isn’t all about, well, happiness. You also need to take the time to eliminate the negative in order to improve employee morale. To root out the bad, you first need to name it. Don’t shy away from difficult truths or discussions. Addressing a concern with a particular employee or the whole team might be uncomfortable, but moving past the negative will help you move toward a more positive and happier workplace.
The formula for happiness differs from company to company, but taking the time to find yours will pay off in the long run.