The Pursue of Happiness

If you are in a managerial position or aspiring to one, it might be useful to understand the 3 secrets to foster happiness in the workplace.

The pursue of happiness is what drives us through all the major changes in our life. Like start a new relationship or break up an old one, change city and also, find a job that makes life worth living. 

In Europe, we spend an average of 37 hours per week working, in Spain this goes up to an average of 40. So, why on earth should we be unhappy at work? Moreover, research shows two main things:

A) In a study conducted by global staffing firm Robert Half, half of the people interviewed have quit a job because of a bad boss. It is especially true for younger employees, who are less likely to keep up with a bad leader.

B) There is a strict correlation between happiness and productivity in the workplace. Workers are 13% more productive when happy

For every manager, company owner, etc it is then essential to learn the 3 secrets for a happy workplace. We have analyzed them for you: employee motivation, talent retention, and change management.

1) Employee Engagement

Employee engagement refers to job satisfaction, loyalty to the company, and willingness to put in extra effort to reach the company’s goals. 

It is strictly correlated to production and, as research, shows, engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave than employees with low engagement. 

After years of analysis, Deloitte has concluded that 5 main indices make the difference between an irresistible workplace and an unattractive one. Meaningful work, supportive management, a positive work environment, growth opportunity, and trust in leadership are all factors that make employees want to work in a specific company.

It is crystal clear that managers are crucial in fostering a happy work environment. For example, leaders can and should provide a sense of purpose in employees. Moreover, they can make decisions to fostering a humanistic approach to business or a flexible working environment. 

Real-life Example:

Full Contact

Full Contact is the dream workplace for many people. The firm offers to its employees $7,500 to take a “paid paid” vacation. They realized that employees were happier and more productive after a real holiday. So the only rule they have set is that it is strictly forbidden to answer calls or e-mails from work. It is a clever way to increase happiness and loyalty. After all, who would leave a company with these benefits?

2) Talent Retention

Talented workers are more efficient and usually perform better than the rest of the employees. However, they are not necessarily the most passionate nor the most loyal. 

On the contrary, research by Harvard Business Review shows that “12% of all the high potentials in the companies studied said they were actively searching for a new job”.

Managers have the power and responsibility to create programs and implement actions to retain high-potential employees. At first glance, one might think that talent want great rewards like a higher salary or different benefits to be satisfied with their job.

On the contrary, according to McKinsey talented workers are looking forward to three main things: great leaders to empower them, a company with a great culture, and a job with an impact. To retain high-potential employees it is then necessary to work on strengthening the three areas mentioned above and not just promise something that is not realistic.

Real-life Example:

Shell

Shell has one of the best programs for retaining talent. The company has focused on the professional growth of high potential employees. It has appointed career stewards to take care of the professional journey of employees. As reported in the Harvard Business Review: “The stewards meet regularly with emerging leaders to help them set realistic career expectations, and make sure they’re getting the right development opportunities”. It is also the perfect chance to assess their level of engagement and understand which changes should be made.

3) Change Management

Managers and executives play a fundamental role in managing employees through a smooth transition. It is fundamental to communicate clearly, hire people specialized in leading transformations, and define goals to lead changes without scaring employees. 

The majority of people are very wary of changes. Just imagine that 62% of employees don’t like stepping out of their comfort zone

Nevertheless, changes are inevitable, especially in today’s fast-pacing world. People should consider changes as an opportunity to implement positive transformations in the workplace rather than a negative thing. 

For example, COVID-19 has shown that it is possible to rethink how we work without losing productivity. Companies are now experimenting with different solutions of smart-working that can combine the positive aspects of an office environment with the benefits of working remotely. Flexibility, new technological tools, and virtual moments to exchange ideas are essential for an effective transition to the “new normal”.

Real-life Example:

British Airways

When Jhon King was appointed chairperson of British Airways in 1981, the company was facing a crisis. It was highly inefficient, and precious resources were lost. King used his communication and leadership skills to prepare employees through changes. He eliminated unprofitable routes, bought modern jets, and hired a new management team to foster a customer-oriented culture within the company.

What’s Next?

Remember, employee motivation, talent retention, and change management are the 3 secrets to foster happiness in the workplace. 

A happy workplace will, in turn, increase productivity. When people work in an healthy and meaningful environment, they become loyal to the company. In other words, they will give the best of themselves and will rarely leave the organization. 

We have provided you with the basics, but if you are interested in mastering the skill of fostering happiness in the workplace, you should have a look at our MBA in Leadership and Talent Management or our Postgraduate in Talent Management and Leadership.