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Blog : Happy people are productive people


Happy people are productive people

By Holly Edwards - Support Assistant

Is measuring happiness within your organisation just as important as measuring profit?

The first ever International Day of Happiness was on 20th March 2013, which was declared by the United Nations last year following meetings, hosted in Bhutan, a kingdom in South Asia.

In 2012 the Guardian shared an article stating that since 1971 the country has rejected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the only way to measure progress, and favours the approach of using Gross National Happiness (GNH). This recognises the connection between well-being and productivity, and measures prosperity through spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of citizens and the natural environment.

This connection can be recognised in the work place, between motivated and engaged employees, and productivity and achievement. Susan David, founder and co-director of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching, blogs about happiness with organisations, and identifies six key questions that business leaders should ask about their organisations:
  • Do my employees enjoy their relationships and their environment at work?
  • Do they laugh?
  • Are my people in the right roles — ones that fit their skill sets and offer appropriate challenge?
  • Do they get to use their genius?
  • Do they understand the purpose of the organisation?
  • Do they feel they're a part of something that matters?
The happiness of employees does not have to be costly, simply putting in time and dedication to your people will result in profit. Employees being unhappy however can come at a cost, as according to the research carried out by the Guardian, it has been estimated that sickness absence, presenteeism (being present but contributing little added value to the business) and labour turnover cost the UK about £26bn a year. This reflects the strong link between engagement and productivity, with economic activity and performance.

So rather than sit and ponder over whether you think your employees are happy, do something about it! Here are some simple steps:
  1. Keep employees healthy – provide fresh fruit and healthy snacks along with plenty of water, and encourage taking time out for breaks. This can also include encouraging and supporting a healthy work and personal life balance and allowing flexibility with this
  2. Understanding roles and values – make sure your employees know why they are there and what they need to be achieving. Working towards the same company values will make this clearer
  3. Make them feel valued – hear what they have to say, ask for their input, and trust them with challenging tasks to show their value and importance
  4. Learning and development – allow opportunities for your employees to enhance their skills and become the best that they can be
  5. It’s not all about work – make time for social activities, allowing employees to bond and improve relationships
  6. Thank you – these two small words can make a difference, let your employees know that their hard work is appreciated
These small steps can make a large difference in a company, and will lead to increased productivity and success. However as a country, should we consider if GDP really is  the best measure success?

What would contribute to the happiness of the people in your organisation? 

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