Three Research-Based Reasons to Hone Happiness in the Workplace

September 1, 2017
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Walk into any organization and you can probably ascertain if employees are generally happy and well treated, or not—within seconds.  If you currently manage a team or are aspiring to leadership, it’s time to take happiness into your own hands.  Here are three reasons why.

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  1. Workplace happiness benefits the bottom line.Research proves what seems so obvious, yet is often overlooked—happiness makes people more productive at work.  Happy employees typically have higher levels of engagement than unhappier workers.  They also tend to be more creative, helpful and effective problem solvers.  Many studies conducted on positive organizational psychology demonstrate that not only is a super-stressed and happy-less environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment leads to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.  In fact, revenues across companies ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” increased an average of 22% in just one year.
  2. More happiness means less stress and sick days taken. Dale Carnegie said, “Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude,” however it’s practically impossible to have a positive attitude when employees are stressed and/or depressed.  Each year, 550 million workdays are lost due to stress on the job according to the American Psychological Association.  Operations run more smoothly when employees show up for work, so cultivating happiness and reducing stress ultimately enable organizations to attain better operational and financial results.  This applies to employees at every rank within an organization, especially those at lower levels.

In a large-scale study of over 3,000 employees conducted by Anna Nyberg at the Karolinska Institute, researchers concluded that the lower someone’s rank in a hierarchy, the higher their chances of cardiovascular disease and death from heart attacks.  The results showed a strong correlation between leadership behavior and heart disease in employees.  This means that leaders who make a deliberate effort to decrease stress for employees are more likely to positively impact their health while stress-inducing bosses are literally bad for employee health.

  1. There are umpteen ways to make happiness happen. Improving employee benefits will definitely impact happiness levels.  Consider which benefits would positively impact employees most, such as adding on-site childcare or a fitness center, and follow proper protocol by starting a conversation with a Human Resources manager.  An affordable and easier option would be to coordinate a company-wide volunteer initiative or team-building activity.  If your organization already offers amazing benefits, perhaps a shift is needed in organizational behavior.  Companies with open-door policies, for example, tend to have higher levels of employee engagement.  Multiple studies have shown that when management is approachable and responsive, employee engagement soars.

Perhaps employees would benefit from professional public speaking, leadership and/or sales training.  If so, the outstanding faculty at Dale Carnegie Training thrives on helping people reach their professional potential.  Check out their iMap Process through they partner with companies to create outside-the-box ways to win the hearts, and minds, of employees.

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