There are many ways to improve work productivity, but many lack one key factor . . says consultant Sarah Malcolm
Improving business productivity usually involves looking at workflow software and trialing different apps. Sometimes there are hard conversations with specific employees failing to meet your production metrics. We throw out terms like “performance improvement plan.”
Just one problem: These systems don’t address motivation, a critical component behind productivity. Motivation has a key ingredient: happiness!
Yes, happiness is the secret to hacking productivity across your team. A happy team is likelier to be more energized, more creative, and get more work done. Their infectious attitude can translate into better work and customer service that, in turn, inspires customer loyalty.
This is not a business homeopathic remedy. Let’s explore how happiness can boost your overall performance.
What practices make people less productive?
People need to feel they are valued team members. Our energy is precious, and we only have so much of it to give in a day. Why would someone invest their energy into something if their opinions and input aren’t respected and acknowledged? Tanner Learning Group found that 79% of people who left their job did so because they didn’t feel appreciated.
Management is a big reason why people are unhappy at work. The Frontline Leadership Project found that 57% of people quit because of their boss.
Leadership that isn’t open to subordinates’ ideas or is belittling to team members kills happiness and motivation. The same Tanner research found that of employees reporting high morale at work, 94% said their bosses were good at recognition.
Drops in productivity are apparent in businesses that don’t respect a person’s basic human rights, like a quality bathroom break or essential safety equipment. All this impacts employee psyche, making them unhappy and looking for other opportunities.
What do you gain with a happy workforce?
Team members who feel respected and appreciated where they work are inherently more productive. Their ability to voice opinions makes them more likely to bounce ideas off each other, increasing creativity. When they feel valued and more like they are making a difference, they are more focused and motivated to get projects accomplished.
A study at a British telecommunications firm run by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School found that happy workers were 13% more productive. That research tracked 1,800 workers and their personal feelings of happiness over a series of weeks.
What could your business do if every single team member was 13% more productive?
Happiness and the Agency
If you work in a creative field as I do, staying in the right mindset is so important to fostering creativity. Creative thinkers need to be in a positive space to feel free to explore ideas and make connections. Our ability to generate ideas is what benefits the client. In other words, happiness is essential to actually be effective at your job!
Even if you’re not working at a creative agency, an environment where happiness is placed before profit creates a strong employee culture. Workers get more done, which positively impacts financial performance.
It’s not just employee productivity that happiness improves. A happy culture creates waves across your business.
For starters, an unhappy workforce leads to more stress and more employee burnout. When someone is tired of their work environment, eventually they will quit. Anyone running a business knows turnover is expensive.
On the other hand, a happy workforce encourages your best talent to stay with you. Higher retention rates result in less new employee training, more expertise staying on your team, and more work being done.
Your happiness culture can also translate over into customer loyalty. One pharmaceutical company found that when employees were happy and engaged in their work, customer loyalty increased. Your employees’ engagement with the community feels more authentic. People pick up on this. We know when we’re getting lip service and when someone believes in the work they are doing.
How can you create happiness at work?
So much of the corporate world is a soul-suck. It’s time to bring humanity back into the workforce!
Start by promoting learning and development opportunities for everyone. No one likes to feel they are stuck in a dead-end job with no advancement opportunities. Let everyone see a path forward for growth.
Keep your employees engaged with the brand. Make sure that the company has a clear and united purpose. Communicate this vision to everyone so they feel like they are part of a team striving to achieve a goal.
The leadership on your team must recognize employee efforts. It doesn’t have to mean bonuses or perks. People just want to be seen and valued for the work that they’re putting in.
Build a culture of respect and inclusivity in how your company operates. You want everyone to feel that they matter and are valued. Start by addressing basic human needs. If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that we can be flexible in how company structures work.
Additionally, make sure you have a way for employee ideas to be heard. Check your employee complaints process to ensure grievances are dealt with respectfully and in alignment with best human resource practices.
Creating a culture of happiness also starts by making the right hire. Fill your roles with someone passionate about the work. You can always teach a skill, but you can’t teach passion.
Happiness for Productivity
The bottom line is that a happy company is a more productive company. High morale boosts your creativity and team collaboration. Your employees will be more engaging with clients, which leads to more satisfied customers. As word gets out, people will want to work with you. Isn’t all that beneficial for your business?