A happy employee is a happy company. According to a study by economists at the University of Warwick, happiness in the workplace resulted in a 12 percent increase in productivity. Unhappy workers were 10 percent less productive.
A positive work environment makes economic sense as well as sanity sense. A positive work environment has been shown to boost productivity by 31 percent, sales by 37 percent, and accuracy on tasks by 19 percent. Happiness, optimism, and life satisfaction lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, explains S. Chris Edmonds, CEO of Purposeful Culture Group and author of Amazon bestseller The Culture Engine. In an environment today where over 65 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged, according to a recent Gallup Poll, and healthcare costs have grown over 60 percent in the last 10 years, the benefits of a positive work environment are important considerations.
A happy workplace even shines through for customers to see. Clients will see working with that business as a more appealing proposition–as good work and a happy team soon has an almost magnetic effect–people wanting to work with good people, highly creative, well rested, people who love what they do, says Ben Robson, co-founder of digital marketing agency GOAT.
The downsides of not having a positive workplace are wide reaching. Besides the economic costs and the negative impact on well-being and satisfaction, a negative workplace will cost you talent, says Edmonds. Losing talented employees because of a negative work environment is costly–costly to replace them, costly to train new employees, and costly because their knowledge has walked out the door. And its just bad for the brand. The downsides of not having a positive workplace are that it will damage your brand reputation. Even the most loyal member of staff will complain about their working conditions, meaning that the business will struggle to attract and retain the best talent. If workplace happiness is not top of the agenda, then pretty soon the standard of work/delivery that a business produces will fall into decline too. A waterfall effect: Lower quality work, higher stress as the business struggles for retained business, unhappy staff because of increased stress and poor workplace environment and so on, adds Robson.
You can create a positive workplace for your employees with some effort. And it will be well worth it.
Follow the leader. The model of positivity starts at the top. Leaders mustnt leave the quality of their work environment–their culture–to chance. Leaders must champion their desired culture; they cant delegate the responsibility or authority to drive culture to anyone else, Edmonds points out.
The vision of the companys leader must be clear and reachable. Leaders must define their desired culture by crafting an organizational constitution. An organizational constitution is a formal statement of the organizations servant purpose. Leaders must align all plans, decisions, and actions to their organizational constitution. They do that by modeling the purpose, values and behaviors, in every interaction. They do that by coaching others to demonstrate the purpose, values and behaviors, explains Edmonds. They do that by not tolerating any behavior that is inconsistent with their defined valued behaviors. This step is critically important and takes the most time. Most clients are able to define their organizational constitution in a matter of weeks. Alignment typically lasts for 12 months or more–depending upon the consistency with which leaders model, coach, and align practices to desired values. Leaders will have dozens of conversations a day about values, behaviors, purpose, and alignment to those.
Respect your employees and dont overwork your staff. Create a culture where people leave on time and take a full lunch break away from their desks, says Robson.
Dont dangle the carrot. Dont use employee perks as a bargaining tool. Employee perks, such as days off on birthdays/flexitime, should be easily accessible to all staff and not make them feel like they need to jump through hoops to benefit from them. If you offer a perk, it should be just that a perk, not one with a list of requirements to tick off before you can benefit from it e.g. do you have any meetings today, have you finished this piece of work, etc. If a perk become a chore to secure with upper management, then it becomes another element for potential stress, defeating the object of having the perk in the first place, explains Robson.
Trust your employees. “Did you hire stupid people? The leader will inevitably protest: Of course not! Ask your employees to come up with solutions to problems rather than telling them what to do, offers Robson.