By Ville Saarikalle
It has become a clear fact that a great place to work makes good business sense. Henry Stewart, Chief Executive of the training company Happy Ltd., has some valuable thoughts to share about the subject. In his book ‘The Happy Manifesto’ he quotes many pieces of research by Gallup and other credible sources, before finally summarizing: ”Again and again it has been shown that companies who engage their staff are more successful – whether measured in customer satisfaction, innovation or solid profitability and growth in share value.” In this context, an engaged employee is the one who is experiencing job satisfaction, organisational commitment, job involvement and feelings of empowerment. The formula is simple: happy employees = happy customers = happy owners.
However, the reality is that many people are not so happy. In The New York Times on May 30th, 2014 Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath describe the unhappy reality of the working life. According to them, from the middle managers up to the top executives, people are not that excited to get to their offices in the mornings. They wanted to know what are the things that influence on people’s engagement and productivity at work. This curiosity lead to a survey of over 12,000 employees across different industries and companies.
Schwartz and Porath found that employees are dramatically more satisfied and productive when their core needs are met: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. According to their research, employees need to get opportunities to recharge at work, feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, focus on their most important tasks, do more of what they do best and enjoy most, and feel connected to a higher purpose in their job.
Leaders and organizations can do a lot. Schwartz and Porath say that the more they support employees in meeting those needs, the more likely employees are engaged, loyal, positive, energetic and less stressful at work.
Henry Stewart concludes in his book ‘The Happy Manifesto’: ”The difference in productivity between engaged and disengaged employees is dramatic. The evidence is clear that a motivated and engaged workforce is more productive, more committed and far more likely to lead to profitable growth for the company. In contrast, long hours, lack of control over your job and a line manager who does not motivate you can all lead to low productivity, high employee turnover and ill health.”
Often companies think a lot about their corporate strategy, marketing, finance and things like that. However, something very important is forgotten too many times – happiness means profit, too. What’s your corporate happiness plan? What are the concrete steps you’re going to take for your organizational health? You want productive, enthusiastic and passionate employees after all, don’t you? I don’t have a happiness manual for you but clearly you should do something. Make people feel good. It’s simply good for your people – and for the bottom line.
Ville Saarikalle began his career as an entrepreneur at the age of 19. His first taste of entrepreneurship was starting a business selling mobile devices. He’s also started a workforce outsourcing company. Ville’s areas of expertise are sales and sales management, which also happen to be the topics of Ville’s Master’s thesis for the University of Jyväskylä. He is a partner of Nordic Business Forum Oy.
This column appeared on the August 2014 issue of Nordic Business Report. Read the full magazine here »