Happiness: The Secret to Employee Performance

Workplace happiness is the key to higher productivity. (Image:  pixabay /  CC0 1.0)
Workplace happiness is the key to higher productivity. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Thinking about how to increase your employee productivity? Consider implementing policies that make them happy, since research shows that happier employees tend to have higher levels of productivity and commitment to the job.

Happiness and productivity

Recent research conducted by the University of Oxford has discovered that happy workers are likely to be 13 percent more productive than their peers. The increased productivity was not the result of working longer hours, but rather a judicial use of their assigned working time. The study, led by Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve from the Said Business School, was conducted over a period of six months and involved the participation of 1,793 call center workers from the UK.

“We found that when workers are happier, they work faster by making more calls per hour worked, and, importantly, convert more calls to sales… There has never been such strong evidence… There seems to be considerable room for improvement in the happiness of employees while they are at work… While this clearly [is] in the interest of workers themselves, our analysis suggests it is also in the interests of their employers,” Prof. De Neve said to Personnel Today.

Shawn Achor, the author of the book The Happiness Advantage, argues that the biggest benefit of the modern economy is a happy workforce. His analysis of a decade of research proves to him that “happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37 percent, productivity by 31 percent, and accuracy on tasks by 19 percent, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements,” Harvard Business Review.

Happy employees also tend to be healthier than the rest, which plays a critical role in their attendance and productivity. Workers who suffer from depression tend to take more sick leaves every month. Now, if the office were to be the only place they feel happy, it stands to reason that employees would prefer to come and work rather than stay at home. However, if the workplace is what fuels depression, then employees would inevitably take more sick leaves.

Happy employees take fewer sick leaves. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Improving happiness

Once you understand the fact that keeping employees fulfilled is essential to maintaining high business productivity, you might now wonder how to maintain a positive environment in the workplace. Start with giving the employees a purpose.

When workers have an idea of what the ultimate aim of the business is, they can determine their own place in the overall plan. “The most important thing about having a purpose isn’t the difference it makes to consumers or brand power, but the binding effect it has on employees… Companies with a clear, evergreen purpose motivate employee loyalty,” Kerry Stover, COO at consulting firm Pariveda Solutions, said to Forbes.

Give your employees a purpose. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Give your employees a purpose. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Employee loyalty is a natural consequence of the happiness they feel at the workplace. If you are happy working in your present job, will you consider moving somewhere else? Likely not. By retaining employees, you avoid having to hire new workers every now and then, not only saving on costs, but also ensuring that the most experienced people get the job done at your office.

As the owner of a business, you should ensure that all voices in the company are heard. When employees feel that their opinions are not taken seriously, they are bound to become frustrated. This is especially true when they actually give beneficial advice but you keep ignoring it. Under such circumstances, their respect for the company will drop and so will their enthusiasm, productivity, and loyalty. So always accept feedback on a regular basis from the employees. Make sure that you implement their beneficial suggestions and reward them for it.

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