Happiness and high productivity go hand in hand. Think about the happy employees in your current or past workplace. Are they more driven, energetic, friendly, and engaged? Chances are, yes. And all those qualities make them more effective at their jobs.

Happy employees handle challenges better and contribute more to their organizations. A study by the University of Warwick found that happiness makes employees about 12% more productive. Thus, creating a work environment that promotes happiness in all employees will also boost your bottom line.

Why Happiness = High Productivity

Happiness increases employees’ level of satisfaction in their jobs, and even their capabilities, in multiple ways. Let’s dive into the five main reasons why happy employees are more productive.

Higher levels of engagement

Happy employees are more engaged in their work. In turn, their high levels of engagement mean they bring more energy, passion, and innovation to their jobs. Currently, only a third of American employees say they’re engaged in their work, meaning most companies have much room to improve in that area. Highly engaged employees take more ownership of their own growth because they have a passion for excelling at what they do. 

Increased retention rates

Because retention rates increase dramatically for happy employees, those workers often know their jobs extremely well. They’re likely to stay at their company for years, giving them the chance to gradually increase their responsibilities and learn the most effective ways to carry out their work. They can train and coach others who are learning the ropes, which maximizes their value to their company. 

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Better health

Happier employees tend to feel better physically and mentally, which means they always bring their A-game and take fewer sick days. They have more mental clarity and energy, allowing them to work more efficiently and generate creative solutions to problems. 

Stronger interpersonal abilities 

Happy employees also provide better customer service, and they’re more pleasant to interact with for clients, coworkers, and supervisors alike. These interpersonal abilities make them more effective team players who listen and communicate well with others. Employees with an optimistic outlook are more likely to welcome feedback as they feel confident they can use constructive criticism to improve.

Propensity to seize the day

Because happier employees believe in themselves and feel supported, they tend to jump on new opportunities. Their optimistic outlook leads them to spot such opportunities rather than letting them pass by unnoticed, and their self-confidence guides them to take chances. This belief in themselves pushes them to reach new heights in their career, which in turn increases their satisfaction in their jobs and their overall happiness.

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Together, all these factors foster a more harmonious and energized company culture. The happier your employees become, the stronger your company culture.

How to Create a Happier Workplace 

To be genuinely fulfilled by their jobs and happy at work, employees need to feel that their company is fully supporting their growth and that their career is flourishing. Here are key ingredients to developing the drive and engagement that makes people happy at work:

  • Connect each of your employees with a career mentor to give them the personalized support they need. According to a survey by CNBC and Survey Monkey, nine out of ten employees with a career mentor feel fulfilled by their jobs.
  • Encourage employees to unplug during lunchtime and other breaks to fully recharge. Spending time away from email and off their phones will help them get the most from breaks. Talking with friends over lunch or taking a tech-free walk will leave everyone feeling more refreshed.
  • Give employees challenges that push them to reach the next level. Challenges keep people from getting bored with their work, prompting them to keep learning.

  • Recognize employees’ hard work, which can boost happiness, engagement, and productivity by 14%.

  • Encourage friendship between coworkers. Close friendships at work can boost happiness by 50%.
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Actions to Take Now: 

Here are a few ideas you can start implementing today to create a happier workplace:

  • Present a weekly mini-workshop on an aspect of work-life balance. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each week sharing a tip for boosting energy by recharging effectively or managing time well.
  • Ask each employee whether they feel adequately challenged by their current projects. If they don’t, delegate a higher level of responsibility to them (along with the appropriate support). 
  • Implement a reverse mentoring program, in which newer and more seasoned employees share valuable advice with one another. That way, experienced employees will serve as career mentors to newer ones while getting something in return (like social media expertise).
  • Give specific praise for a job well done. Encourage managers to give real-time praise each day for smaller accomplishments, and give public recognition for larger achievements.
  • Plan a group volunteering activity to encourage everyone to deepen their friendships with coworkers.

Developing a culture of trust will boost happiness by encouraging people to speak up about their needs. Taking all these steps will also make employees feel more valued, which in turn will promote job satisfaction and happiness. You’ll create a positive feedback loop that continues to increase happiness—and productivity—throughout your organization!

Sources:
CNBC, “Nine in 10 Workers Who Have a Career Mentor Say They Are Happy in Their Jobs” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/16/nine-in-10-workers-who-have-a-mentor-say-they-are-happy-in-their-jobs.html

They Are Happy in Their Jobs” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/16/nine-in-10-workers-who-have-a-mentor-say-they-are-happy-in-their-jobs.html

Deloitte, “Recognition Programs–Are They Important?” https://www2.deloitte.com/ie/en/pages/deloitte-private/articles/recognition-programmes.html

Entrepreneur, “How ‘Clock-Changer’ Employees Can Help Increase Your Bottom Line” https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/335688

Forbes, “Employees Need Purpose More Than Pay to Be Happy and Productive” https://www.forbes.com/sites/daniellebrooker/2019/02/28/employees-need-purpose-more-than-pay-to-be-happy-and-productive/#780b78597088

Forbes, “Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone” https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/12/13/promoting-employee-happiness-benefits-everyone/#7d2cbadf581a

Harvard Business Review, “4 Ways to Help Your Team Avoid Digital Distractions” https://hbr.org/2019/07/4-ways-to-help-your-team-avoid-digital-distractions

Harvard Business Review, “Positive Intelligence” https://hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence

Harvard Business Review, “We All Need Friends at Work” https://hbr.org/2013/07/we-all-need-friends-at-work

SHRM, “Considering Reverse Mentoring? Check Out These Tips https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/considering-reverse-mentoring-check-out-these-tips.aspx

TLNT, “Happy Employees Are Good for Business” https://www.tlnt.com/happy-employees-are-good-for-business/

University of Warwick, “New Study Shows We Work Harder when We Are Happy” https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/new_study_shows/