Tag Archives: happiness

Pursuit of Happiness in Workplace: Achieve, Recognition, Engage, Relationship: Focus on Things That Matter…

Most people want to be happy and in fact, the pursuit of happiness is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence; it’s an unalienable right. But studies have found a paradox: The pursuit of happiness tends to make people unhappy… People are spending a fortune on finding happiness, and becoming less happy in the process… A series of studies carried out by psychologists at UC Berkeley showed that paradoxically; the more intensely people value, pursue happiness as a distinct goal, then the more likely they are to display symptoms of unhappiness, anxiety, loneliness, even depression… And this is a major disruptive issue in many workplaces…

Organization must create a safe, congenial, productive work space where workers can thrive and become fully engaged with their work experience… According to Gretchen Spreitzer this means, e.g.; (1) provide workers with more opportunities for decision-making, (2) share information about organization’s strategy and competitive challenges, (3) set and reinforce norms that promote civil and respectful behavior, (4) offer feedback on outcomes of important initiatives… When leaders create ‘open’ workplaces– workers grow, develop, thrive… Hence, when it comes to happiness in workplace, organizations must focus on concrete issues, not abstract ideas…

In the article Research About Happiness at Work by André Spicer, Carl Cederström write: The concept of happiness to boost productivity has gained increased traction in corporate circles… Organizations are spending a lot of money on happiness– coaches, team-building exercises, game-plays, funsultants, even Chief Happiness Officers… These activities may appear jovial, or even bizarre, but organizations are taking them extremely seriously… But when you look closely at the research it’s actually not clear that encouraging happiness at work is always a good idea…

Yes there is evidence to suggest that happy employees are less likely to leave, more likely to satisfy customers, are safer, and more likely to engage in citizenship behavior… However there are also alternate findings, which indicates that some of the ‘take-for-granted’ wisdom about what happiness can achieve in the workplace are mere myths… To start, there are a wide range of definitions for ‘happiness’– it’s an individual thing– each person has their own definition of what make them happy– hence, trying to develop a universal measurement can be rather elusive…

According to Darrin M. McMahon; happiness is a slippery concept and it can be a proxy for all sorts of things– from pleasure & joy, to plenitude & contentment… A stream of research shows contradictory results about happiness and its relationship to productivity. One study even suggested there might be negative correlation between job satisfaction (happiness) and productivity, i.e.; the more miserable workers were, the better the profits… Sure, other studies have pointed in the opposite direction, saying that there is a link between feeling content with work and productive. But even these studies, when considered as a whole, demonstrates a relatively weak correlation…

Happiness, of course, is a great thing to experience but it’s nothing that can be ‘willed’ into existence. And maybe the less we seek to actively pursue happiness in the workplace, the more likely we are to actually experience it– it’s happiness which is spontaneous and pleasurable, and not constructed and oppressive… But there is also a workplace reality that must cope with in a sober manner. To actually see the reality for what it is; and not as you– executives or worker– pretend that it is…

In the article Why Happiness at Work Really Matters by John Collins writes: Are you happy at work? Are the people around you at work happy? Should you even care as long as the work is getting done? It turns out you should– happy organizations are more successful on a range of metrics– but creating a happy work environment is counter intuitive… Research and practice both show that what makes people happy in the workplace is not obvious– its individual thing– and the relatively easy things to provide, such as; good pay, free food, perks… are very much over-rated…

You might think providing perks, such as; free food, massages in the office, on-site medical services, gym facilities… would ensure a happy workforce. But the equation is not that simple– it’s not just a case of perks-in, happiness-out… While benefits may attract workers to an organization… they are not necessarily effective at improving an organization’s performance; it’s ‘passion’ not ‘perks’ that are the big contributor to success…

Part of the problem is that humans are incredibly good at adapting and get used to almost anything– good or bad. A classic study was done by Philip Brickman, Dan Coates and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman at University of Massachusetts in 1979. They compared lottery winners to accident survivors who were paraplegics and quadriplegics… they found no significant different in general happiness. People who had won big on the lottery were happy about their good fortune, but in fact took less pleasure from everyday activities than the accident survivors…

A big salary, although it makes life more enjoyable, it’s not the key to happiness… It actually can come to play as a factor of unhappiness– workers are unhappy when they think others in the organization are being paid more than them, to do the same task… A Princeton study found that workers who are highly paid are relatively satisfied, but they are barely happier day-to-day– they tend to always want more– never really satisfied… According to Alexander Kjerulf; workers are much happier when they are recognized for achievement and more engaged as they develop productive relationships… Happiness is manifested thru self-esteem, not self-indulgence…  

 

Happiness is The ‘Core’ Deliverable for Any Successful Business: ‘Happy’ is the Greatest Competitive Advantage…

The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive, engaged (and happy) workforce; a business will only be successful if it creates happiness… A decade of research proved that happiness improves nearly every business outcome; improves sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as, a myriad of health and quality of life improvements. Yet many businesses still ignore the role that happiness plays in business performance…

Given the unprecedented level of unhappiness at companies and the direct link between employees’ happiness and business outcomes, the question is ‘not’ whether happiness should matter to companies, but the real question is: Can a company do anything to improve the happiness level of employees and, in turn, customer happiness?

Findings clearly indicate that not only can a company influence the happiness of its employees with a short intervention and a low investment of resources… but, more important, the effects are sustained even in times of great challenge… In other words, investing in ‘happiness’ pays great dividends… According to Patrick Dixon; happiness is a dominant concept in marketing, customer loyalty, product design, workplace motivation…

All successful businesses want their customers to be happy, suppliers to be happy, workers to be happy: Win, win, win… Happiness in a core business model; implementing a ‘happiness-centric’ strategy is imperative for success… According to Jiří Černák; many studies suggest that happy work teams are linked to success; happy employees work harder, they are more efficient, more loyal, make customers happy...

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Studies also show that happy customers– spend more money, more loyal, and spread their positive experience to others… According to a study by University College London; employees who are happy and engaged in their work are more successful and are more likely to deliver satisfying customer experiences… According to Shawn Achor; many people feel that if they become successful at work, they automatically become happy… but, that scenario should be reversed. It’s important to become happy, which will then help you become a success… According to Nancy F Clark; debunk three happiness myths:

  • Myth 1: Happiness is something that you find, like Shangri-La: ‘Not’ true, so don’t wait around for this magical occurrence…
  • Myth 2: Circumstances determine happiness. ‘Not’ true, so don’t think; If only this would happen, then I’d be happy… This is a trap everyone falls into at some time…
  • Myth 3: Either have it or you don’t. ‘Not’ true: You can change things and make improvements…

Does Employee Happiness Really Matter for Business Success? Some say– Yes: While others say– Maybe. Here are some– ‘Pro’ and ‘Con’:  

  • Pro: According to Teresa Amabile, Steven Kramer; productivity measured across national economies have captivated the attention of policy makers and executives alike. Ultimately, though, the source of productivity is the individual knowledge workers who get things done every day. And the evidence is clear: People perform better when they’re happier… Gallup study quantified the link between employee feelings and corporate outcomes, reporting that lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs more than $300 billion in the U.S. annually… But, if you pay careful attention to the data, rather than anecdotes and intuition, you’ll find it’s clear that happiness boosts performance…
  • Con: According to Costas Markides; having happy employees has many benefits, but sometimes the costs can outweigh the benefits… For example, happy employees tend to enjoy the status quo so much that they might resist changes to it. This is hardly a recipe for success in today’s world, where agility and embracing change are essentials for success… Another potential cost is that happy employees can feel so satisfied with their work that they refrain from taking on new challenges… The truth of the matter is that whenever we make a difficult choice, some people will win and some will lose. The winners will be happy and the losers unhappy. It’s impossible to make everyone happy all the time. If most everyone in your organization is happy, that means that leadership is failing…

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In the article Truth About Workplace Happiness by Geoffery James writes: Employees don’t work hard because they’re happy; they’re happy when they’re working hard… Most bosses understand (if only in theory) that happy employees are more productive than miserable ones… However, it often turns out that many of the things that make employees happier don’t make them more productive…

For example, companies often try to make their employees happier by trying to make the workplace more ‘fun’… for example; having a on-site video game room, an in-house gym… Other companies host community-building exercises to build a greater sense of connection. However, while this approach may make employees ‘happier’, they probably don’t increase employee productivity, and may end-up having the opposite effect…

According to Matthew A. Killingsworth; data from a smartphone ‘app’ called ‘Track Your Happiness’, which lets people report, in real-time, how they actually feel… The most surprising results came from people who are most often the happiest when there are completely ‘absorbed’ in what they are doing; aka, being ‘in the zone’… In other words, employees are more happy when they’re focused, which can make them more productive, as an accidental byproduct... Therefore, all the ‘fun’ things can indeed increase employee happiness, but that happiness isn’t going to translate into more productivity… So, rather than just ‘fun’ things, companies should make it easier for employees to become ‘absorbed’ in their work, thereby making them more productive and happier at the same time…

In the article Building Happiness-Based Business by adminec writes: Imagine if you never had to advertise, or promote your business, or go out of your way to find new customers ever again. Imagine if new customers contacted you and it was up to you whether you wanted to work with them or not. And imagine if you could concentrate all your efforts on providing the best possible customer service…

According to Paddi Lund; transitioning your business from a ‘money-based’ business to a ‘happiness-based’ business can be more profitable with a lot less effort… transitioning from an environment of unhappy employees who are constantly–  squabbling, disagreeing… and a workplace that’s– uncooperative and unpleasant… all of which will lead to unhappy customers…

Once you realize that– if management are happy and they, in turn, make employees happy, who in turn make customers happy… and that makes the business easier, happier, more profitable… So, ergo– the ‘Happiness Meter’; a simple process whereby employees rate their levels of happiness and stress on a scale of 1 to 10 every day. This encouraged employees and management to think about happiness and stress, to identify what contributed to happiness and stress and to come up with specific changes to improve happiness and stress in the workplace…

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In the article Happiness Dividend by Shawn Achor writes: Nearly every company in the world gives lip service to the idea that– ‘their people are their greatest asset’… Yet according to a Conference Board Survey; employees are the unhappiest they have been in their 22 years of tracking job satisfaction rates… Around the same time, CNN Money reported a survey that indicated; 84% of workers are unhappy with their current job. And, the Mercer’s– ‘What’s Working’ survey found that; ‘one-in-three’ (over 30%) of employees are serious about leaving their current jobs. So, Why is the lack of happiness at work important? Because the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce...

The argument is simple: A decade of research suggests that happiness at work– defined as pleasure, engagement, sense of meaning– can improve revenue, profitability, staff retention, customer loyalty, and workplace safety. Many of the studies suggest that positive emotion increases creativity and problem-solving ability and aids in fighting stress… However, according to some researchers; cheery thoughts aren’t for everyone all the time. There are plenty of jobs that require anxiety, pessimism, even fear… which mean that a focus on happiness is not necessarily always the answer… According to Jerome Kagan; the psychology of happiness is little understood, varies dramatically across time, cultures, individuals…

Given its very nature, happiness is very subjective and it can mean different things to different people… It’s difficult to compare one person’s happiness with another’s. However, The idea that happiness is important to a society is not new. Thomas Jefferson put the ‘pursuit of happiness’ on the same level as ‘life and liberty’… Despite a large body of positive research into the relationship between happiness and productivity; happiness in the workplace has traditionally been seen as a potential by-product of a positive outcomes, rather than a pathway to success in business. However a growing number of scholars, including Boehm and Lyubomirsky; state that happiness  should be viewed as one of the major sources of positive outcomes in the workplace…

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People should pause and think about how they working; when you’re not happy, when you are feeling negative, anxious, stressed… Are you creative? Inspired? Motivated? Engaged? Is your productivity at its peak? Now turn it around: When you feel happy; how are you working? Are you charged up, feeling creative, positive, energized about the outcomes? According to the book ‘The Joy of Work‘; companies with higher than average employee happiness, in fact, exhibit much better– financial performance and customer satisfaction…

Hence it may seem obvious, but it’s very important for companies to create and maintain a positive and engaged work environments… company leadership must create a workplace environment that celebrate happiness and well-being, because it’s in the best interest of the company, employees, customers, and in fact all stakeholders involved in the business…

It’s common for people to have ambivalent feelings about their work; many people find it difficult to decide if they are actually happy at their job… But, studies suggest that happy work teams are more creative, productive, effective… Just think about it: Happy employees are nicer to be around, they make customers happy… and they work harder towards achieving that goal. Happy customers spend more money, and are more loyal to a brand… Happy Employees = Happy Customers