Sharon Klein: World Happiness Day – Make it productive!

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The thought of World Happiness Day might send a cold chill through the hearts of many bosses, who will fear it is simply an excuse for employees to kick back and enjoy themselves, rather than doing any real work.

Those would largely be the bosses who distrust their employees. Those who are constantly looking for the best way to engage with those they employ will see World Happiness Day as an opportunity.

Successful employee engagement is based upon six foundations, not least of which is being happy and well-treated at work.

But why would a manager or leader wish for his or her employees to be happy? What does it matter if they are walking around wearing a smile, or whether they have a face like a busted boot (as they say up here in the North)?

Well, apart from the obvious first impressions given by any first point of contact or face of the company when meeting clients, and the fact we are so often told that you can hear over the phone if you are talking to someone who is smiling, there is the important issue of productivity.

Read the business commentaries in the Sunday papers and you will generally find something about the productivity gap and how much more bosses could be getting out of their employees. Boost productivity and you can often bypass additional employment costs and increase profits with your existing workforce.

Employee engagement is based upon simple principles. Alongside happiness, there is a sense of being involved, the availability of learning opportunities, being part of an effective, motivated team, being communicated with about performance (and not always in a negative way) and working with credible leaders.

The possible payoffs, as well as the important productivity factor, include a high performance culture, a proud workforce, innovation, satisfaction and profitability.

Think back to those untrusting leaders I first mentioned. The results of their attitude are likely to be polar opposite to this. Imagine the cost, time and effort wasted because you create a culture in which people dislike their jobs and employee turnover is unnaturally high as a result.

World Happiness Day is an opportunity to engage with your employees in a way which addresses this platform of a happy workforce. Find a way to put a genuine smile on employees’ faces, make them feel good about themselves. What better way to get them to want to go that extra mile, because they know they are appreciated.

After all, it’s true what they say when you tell someone you like your job: “That’s half the battle.”

Sharon Klein is a director of Azure Consulting, a Yorkshire-based specialist in leadership development.  

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