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Unlocking the Secret to Success: The Power of Happiness at the Workplace!

Imagine a workplace where creativity flows freely, teamwork thrives effortlessly, and productivity soars to new heights. A place where employees eagerly anticipate the start of each day, filled with genuine enthusiasm and a zest for their tasks. This utopian vision isn't just wishful thinking; it's a reality that can be achieved through the transformative power of happiness at the workplace.

While many may dismiss happiness as a frivolous pursuit amidst the hustle and bustle of professional life, numerous studies and success stories have revealed a remarkable truth: happiness is not just a byproduct of success; it is the driving force behind it.

The rise of Chief Happiness Officers is just a reflection of the importance of having a happier workforce. When Ron McDonald became the Chief Happiness Officer at McDonald’s as a joke in 2003, little would he have imagined that he would inspire Google to promote a software engineer Chade-Meng Tan to the role of “Jolly Good Fellow,” his career and the culture of Silicon Valley would change.

Positive psychology lists many benefits of bringing about a happiness mentality at the workplace. I personally do not believe that it has to be helmed by a Chief Happiness Officer, but definitely ownership for employee happiness as a construct has to come from the leadership.

Can happiness be measured? Yes, the PERMA (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment) is a scientific tool developed by Martin Seligman which provides a fairly accurate measure of your happiness. Do try it, it was an eye opener for me personally and I learnt to start focusing on aspects of my life which were draining my energy.

The power of happiness is manifold. Here’s how you can harness the power of happiness to bring about tangible positive changes in the workplace.

Productivity: Research by Oxford University's Saïd Business School, in collaboration with British multinational telecoms firm BT, has found a conclusive link between happiness and productivity to the extent of 15%. The BT workers were asked to rate their happiness on a weekly basis for six months using a simple email survey containing five emoji buttons representing states of happiness – from very sad to very happy. The researchers collated this information alongside administrative data obtained from the firm on worker characteristics, work schedules and productivity.

The researchers found that happy workers do not work more hours than their discontented colleagues – they are simply more productive within their time at work.

Employee Engagement: Creating engagement at work involves recognizing achievements, providing growth opportunities, encouraging social connections, promoting work-life balance, and empowering employees. Leadership support is vital to prioritize employee happiness. Engagement is directly linked to productivity, creativity and retention.

Customer Satisfaction: Employee happiness is directly linked to customer satisfaction through various key factors. Happy employees provide better customer service with a positive attitude, leading to increased customer engagement and loyalty. Lower employee turnover results in a more experienced workforce, ensuring consistent service quality. Happy employees become brand ambassadors, positively influencing potential customers through word-of-mouth marketing. A positive work environment creates emotional contagion, enhancing customer experiences. Engaged and content employees excel in problem-solving, handling challenges effectively. Empathy and personalized assistance from happy employees foster customer loyalty. Prioritizing employee happiness drives customer satisfaction, establishing a strong connection between staff well-being and business success.

Creativity and Innovation: Employee happiness fuels creativity and innovation through positive mindset, psychological safety, higher energy levels, improved collaboration, and enhanced risk-taking. Autonomy, cognitive flexibility, and problem-solving improve, while curiosity and intrinsic motivation drive exploration. Supportive feedback culture and creativity-boosting initiatives nurture innovative ideas. Openness to change and cross-functional collaboration foster diverse perspectives for inventive solutions. Inspiring leadership models positivity and encourages creative thinking. Happy employees embrace challenges and adapt to evolving needs, contributing to the organization's growth and long-term success. Prioritizing employee well-being establishes a vibrant work environment that sparks creativity and innovation, driving competitiveness and business advancement.

Company Success: To help answer whether or not employee happiness enhances company success more systematically, the folks at London School of Economics (LSE) collaborated with the analytics and advisory company Gallup to look into its client database. Gallup has been gathering data on employee wellbeing, alongside productivity and firm performance outcomes, since the mid-1990s. They conducted a meta-analysis of 339 independent studies accumulated by Gallup, including the wellbeing and productivity of 1,882,131 employees and the performance of 82,248 business units, originating from 230 independent organisations across 49 industries in 73 countries. It was conclusively proved that higher employee wellbeing is associated with higher productivity and firm performance whether it is improved customer loyalty, productivity, staff turnover or profitability.

Engaged Teams: Happy workers get along well with one another, boosting teamwork and effective communication. So projects run smoothly and meet deadlines. Happy teams further fuel happiness in employees due to lower stress at work, thus creating a win-win proposition.

Wellness and Health: According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, employee wellbeing is the new imperative for employers. International companies are increasingly embracing well-being and happiness initiatives as a way to retain employees in a tight labour market. Most corporate perks take the form of yoga classes, unlimited free snacks, or company retreats to ski resorts, while marketing departments try to support healthy habits related to their brands.

With Gen Z coming to the fore, a key trend has been that happiness needs to be viewed more holistically with companies needing to go beyond designing smarter corporate incentives to promote staff well-being, to widening their focus on pleasure-based benefits such as financial rewards and focusing on giving employees a sense of meaning, by volunteering their time, for example.

Brand Reputation: HBR in a 2019 study conclusively established that there is a significant positive correlation between employee happiness as reported in Gallup and company reputation. Given the reach of social media, employee advocacy can certainly give brand reputation a big boost.

Satisfied customers serviced by happy employees are more likely to recommend the brand.

Employee advocacy boosts recruitment efforts both via referrals and comments on employment sites such as glassdoor and ambition box.

In Conclusion: Happiness ultimately is not a goal but a way of being which helps optimize the flow of being and creates an environment of fulfillment and peace for us irrespective of the challenges around us. Stay happy!!

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