Happiness is not one of the factors generally associated with economic or financial measurement, but the current issue of the Harvard Business Review, The Value of Happiness: How Employee Well-being Drives Profits, offers compelling reasons why happiness and well-being may be just as important to your company’s success as profits or income. Some companies, operating under the thought that people should just be happy to have a job, have cut employee morale programs established in better times to aid in employee retention. But research shows that employee morale may be even more important now than ever. The Well-being Index from Gallup-Healthways has used daily polls to track how Americans feel about their jobs since 2008. Their findings show that, as a whole, employees are consistently feeling worse about their employment environment each year regardless of age, income, or gender.
Why Employee Happiness Matters
According to Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath, authors of Creating Sustainable Performance, one of the articles in this issue of the HBR, employee happiness matters because happy people work harder. When people are happy at work they are more productive, more creative, more committed to the company, easier to work with, and have better ideas. On the flip side, unhappy employees are disengaged, have higher rates of absenteeism, and are less productive when they are at work. A Gallup study from 2010 that showed the correlation between low rates of job satisfaction and poor bottom-line performance estimated that lack of employee engagement costs more than $300B each year in lost productivity alone.
For companies already struggling to survive, unhappy employees can be a death sentence. On the other hand, happy employees create financial performance.
How do you know if your employees are happy, and how can you keep them happy? We’ll discuss that in the next post. In the meantime, what do you observe in your experience?
Ten Happiest Jobs (forbes.com)
Do Happier People Work Harder? (nytimes.com)