In 1972, the small country of Bhutan surprised the world by introducing the concept of ‘ Gross National Happiness (GNH). Its monarch, Jigme Singye, at only 16 years of age, understood the importance of this variable for his nation’s social and economic well-being.
Almost fifty years later, we can talk about the extrapolation of this concept to the business world: happiness at work is not ideal, but a measurable objective with clear benefits for both workers and companies, who find in the satisfaction of their employees an opportunity to learn and a perfect formula to attract talent and improve productivity.
Today, it is common to find professionals who suffer from poor job performance and sick leave due to stress and burnout (the second most common cause of sick leave). This, in addition to the social impact that it entails, represents a significant loss for companies: ill leave due to stress and absenteeism represent direct and indirect losses for companies of 80,000 million euros a year. The alternative to this situation is to improve the workers’ happiness. It is not just about installing ping pong tables, but it encompasses more complex concepts.
What Variables Influence The Happiness Of Workers?
Although the concept of happiness may seem abstract, when we contextualize it in the workplace, it is structured in precise dimensions.
- Good working or flexible hours make it possible to reconcile personal and professional life.
- A good work environment translates into fluid personal relationships and a climate of camaraderie.
- A good boss or leader knows how to transmit motivation to their teams, listens and takes their opinions into account, and maintains an empathetic and respectful attitude.
- Salary according to the performance and responsibility of the worker, so that he can feel recognized.
- Personal achievement, that is, being able to achieve their professional motivations (which can be very varied: contribute to the well-being of society, keep in constant learning, develop creative activities, career plan …)
- Develop professional skills and personal skills, that is, make it easier for the employee to put their full potential at the company’s service and grow with it.
- Adaptation of the functions to the worker’s training, so that the objectives are neither above (in which case stress, frustration would arise…), nor below their capacities (the latter would lead to boredom, feeling undervalued…).
- The proximity of the workplace to the home. The less time the worker spends commuting, the better their quality of life.
- Recognition by colleagues and bosses creates a positive and constructive work environment in which all members of the organization can feel valuable.
- Social benefits: medical insurance, diets, pension plans, discounts on certain services… are additional elements with which the worker feels rewarded beyond his salary.
What Can The Company Do To Increase The Job Happiness Of Its Employees?
Happiness at work is the perfect formula for retaining talent in a market where salary is not the only element for attracting professionals. Working in this line makes companies healthy and present efficient labor centers committed to the company’s objectives, and happiness increases productivity collaterally.
Of course, each company has its particularities, so no manual includes the steps that an organization must follow to be healthy and measure the happiness of its workers. Fortunately, we can identify some actions that the company can implement to improve the climate and working conditions and therefore increase the satisfaction of its workers:
- Flexibility. A flexible company trusts the worker and grants them autonomy based on that trust: it allows them to organize their time. It offers them a horizontal structure in which decision-making is faster, and the value of each member is not linked to a charge.
- Optimism. The first step to creating a good work environment is incorporating optimistic people. In this way, it is easier for relations between team members to be fluid and for there to be a climate of recognition.
- Organization. Having motivating, structured, and achievable objectives is key to the company’s proper functioning.
- Trust. Trust must be almost by default a corporate value. It will be implemented through example by senior management. The bosses must occupy the role of leaders, and unhealthy competition between members of the same team must be avoided.
- Enjoyment. Any success or achievement should be recognized and celebrated as a reward for the effort made.
- Learning. The company should not only be a context of execution but also of knowledge. In this way, the workers’ motivation and involvement are maintained as they feel that they are enriched at different levels.
- Communication. Communication must be fluid, multidirectional, and transparent to promote honesty and identification with the company.
The importance that companies give to the happiness of their employees has led to the appearance of a new figure: the Director of Happiness (also known as Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness Manager). It is a challenging position that ensures that talent is maintained in the company through happiness.
As part of the Human Resources Department, the Director of Happiness analyzes the work environment at different levels, designs and implements strategies to retain employees, and monitors the teams’ degree of health and well-being. Without losing sight of the company’s interests, try to make it an attractive context with high productivity rates.