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Are your employees happy? Happiness at work is a serious business!

More than just the last professional trend, happiness at work is serious business.

Why should managers and leaders care about happiness at work? How can happy employees lead to better results? What are the risks and costs of having unhappy employees?

Research shows that happiness at work is the foundation of a productive and optimised organisation and makes a real difference to a company’s success. Happy team members will help your business succeed: less turnover, stronger teamwork & better achievements as well as a higher level of commitment & loyalty.

Happiness at work - New Reflections Workshop

Happy employees lead to high performance

The new generations are changing the workplace

For many people, happiness is a difficult concept to master or to evaluate. If we want to define happiness, it’s about feeling happy, engaged and feeling like life and work have a meaning and a purpose. It can feel like a new trend as it wasn’t always as important as it is nowadays. If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the previous generations were focusing more on the first needs: physiological, safety, and if possible love and belonging. The new generations are often focusing on esteem and self-actualisation before thinking of safety needs. As a kid, I saw my parents going to work with no passion. They were only focusing on what it will bring to the family. I remember thinking that I would need to find a career path that I love as I will not have the eagerness to wake-up every day to do something that I don’t like. I wanted to see work as something I can enjoy, not something to endure. Is it because I am a millennial? Is it because I am the epicurean, the number 7 in enneagram? Is it linked to my main values, happiness and freedom? It is probably a little bit of everything but I can honestly say that I am happy at work and successfully found my professional path. Can you say the same thing? Happiness is a choice, simply decide to be happy.

Feeling happy wasn’t always as important as it is today but happiness is now for many people the ultimate goal in life. If companies fail to consider that, they will not be able to retain and motivate performing staff members.

Understanding the concept of happiness at work

More and more companies want to focus on happiness at work but they don’t always know where to start. They want to provide their talents with work lives that feel more satisfying. When you ask people what makes them happy at work, you can collect a full range of answers, which makes it even harder. Some employees will tell you that they want more social activities with their team members when others will tell you that there are too many social activities in their organisation. One team member will feel happy at work when you offer an extra week of holidays when another one would have preferred a financial bonus.

Does that mean that it is impossible to please everyone and to have happy employees? Does that mean that we need to spend a lot of money trying to please everyone? Happiness at work is not a momentary emotional state like amusement or pleasure. Happiness at work is not about expensive benefits neither; it is about offering your people meaningful work. The 2 principal ingredients for a happy organisation are engagement & autonomy.

Engage your people: share your vision with them; make them feel like they are an important part of your organisation’s success. Invite autonomy to work its magic: some measure of independence is an essential ingredient in the workplace; it makes workers more satisfied with their jobs and increases productivity. Managers need to offer a good balance between guidance and autonomy.

Happiness at work benefits

Developing a corporate culture based on happiness at work is a highly beneficial strategy. Some benefits of catering to happy team members are:

● A higher level of engagement and commitment.

● Stronger relationships within team members.

● Reduced turnover and staff absence.

● Increased productivity.

● Better mental health and stress management.

● Improved internal and external customer service.

● Healthier organisational culture.

● Developed creativity and innovation.

● Growing ownership and leadership.

● A shared feeling of an overall sense of enjoyment at work.

● Gracefully handled setbacks.

● Reduced mistakes and accidents.

● Developed emotional intelligence.

● Improved work-life balance.

● Business growth.

“Results and relationships are actually the most important factors for ensuring people are happy at work”

Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer

Advisor for Ikea & Lego

Developing a culture of happiness at work

Every organisation can benefit from happier team members. You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars in research and development; some easy adjustments can be implemented to raise the level of happiness in your workplace. Follow these easy steps towards greater wellbeing, health, and productivity at work.

Engage your team members

Happiness at work starts with your recruitment process. Be sure to select the right fit for your company’s culture. When comparing candidates’ profiles, do not only focus on technical skills but pay attention to their soft skills. In other words, hire for attitude, train for skills.

Once you have selected the right talents to join your organisation, you need to engage them. Your talents need to be aware of your organisation’s vision and values to adapt their actions and behaviours accordingly. Employees need to work with a purpose; they need to know that they are contributing to a greater cause than just their role and missions. Team members need to feel valued, engaged, and part of the success of your organisation. Appreciation and making meaningful progress is a more effective way to engage employees than financial bonuses.

Give your people ownership over their work

Great organisations understand the importance of providing a great balance between autonomy and guidance. Team members need more ownership over their day-to-day schedule, tasks, and professional development. As a successful organisation, you need to create opportunities for your employees to learn and grow. The situational leadership model is a great introduction to the concept as it helps your leadership team assess the level of guidance or autonomy needed by each talent.

Invite kindness at work

Your corporate culture should come from the leaders and be spread among the different levels of hierarchy. If you follow this structure, it means that kindness should come from the leaders as well. If you want to ensure a great culture, your leaders will have to lead by example. Invite random acts of kindness in your organisational culture.

Banish negativity

Stop negative behaviours before they even start. If you give negativity a chance to spread, it will be very challenging to change the situation. Positive and negative thinking are both contagious; decide what you want to share. You can’t get positive results with negative attitudes and mindsets. Positive team members will be happier; more engaged and will take ownership for their actions. They will better deal with challenging situations and people, providing their stakeholders with better results. Positive team members are also better at solving problems thanks to higher creativity.

Engage your employees in a professional development journey

We can call it professional development, personal development, soft skills development or people skills development, it is always about development. We can all work on our soft skills to create more positive interactions. Engage your talents in a professional development journey to develop their skills.

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