As in everyday culture, organisational culture is all about values. To a large extent, culture dictates what we think, how we are influenced by those around us and how we behave, whilst happiness is a pleasing emotional state. It makes inherent sense to link the two and workplace happiness and its impacts upon productivity and organisational success is fast becoming a hot topic for researchers. Instilling a culture of happiness in a working environment is beneficial to staff wellbeing and can improve person to person interactions, even making the organisation more appealing to potential recruits, but with culture being such an enduring concept how can you go about attempting change?
Consider the basics. Something that often comes in workplace appraisals when staff are asked how they could be happier is workplace design, with around three quarters of staff citing lack of privacy as a key problem. Teknion, a designer of workplace interiors claim to have come up with a formula for happiness in the office and it apparently comes down to promoting physical activity, incorporating nature, reducing noise and using materials that create a safe, comfortable and inspiring environment. Showing a commitment to the basics can promote a happiness culture.
Training a priority. People become happier when they feel that they are working towards, and importantly achieving, goals yet a worrying number of employees don’t have a specific staff training plan or matrix. Setting out a regular training plan for staff in their first few months in the jobs should be a priority, and this should take into account not only specific job skills but also the employee’s personal development goals, bearing in mind that these can change over time.
Experience. Academics such as Warr cited variety as a key antecedent to workplace happiness, alongside opportunity to utilise skills. Consistency in job role can be overrated when it comes to employee happiness, and sometimes the opportunity to work on different projects or tasks can motivate and inspire, particularly when the staff member is making the most of new skills they may have learnt through their training matrix.
Image. Some brands are built with a happiness culture at their core such as Manchester’s Bright HR, founded in November 2015 where they encourage fun at work with themed breakout spaces, bean bags, football nets and NERF guns, there’s even a sleep room for a working day nap. The founders say that their happiness culture helps them attract the best staff. Changing a brand’s image is not an overnight undertaking, and requires the input of various departments in addition to HR. The benefits, however, can be enormous.