Are You Responsible For Your Employees' Happiness?

Happiness at work— it’s like a sunset on the horizon. You sail towards it, but never seem to get any closer. If you feel that way, you’re not alone. Research reveals less than half of the Australian workforce are satisfied with their jobs, with 72 per cent searching for purpose.

As a leader, you may wonder what’s your responsibility for making employees happy, and some may think, ‘Isn’t it enough that people get paid for output?’. Well, studies show that happy workers are better for business. They’re 12 per cent more productive and contribute better-quality work too. And as your business would come to a stand-still without your people, it’s essential to invest in their happiness at work with a definite return on investment.

Both employees and employers play a part in increasing happiness at work, and we’re here to share some secrets both can do to boost the happiness factor.

Here are some things employers can do:

 
  • Boss, put a smile on your face 

Bosses, sorry to say this, but you’re one of the top reasons for frustration and stress at work. There’s a long list that shows where managers are missing the mark, including a lack of recognition for employees or unrealistic workloads. And leaders need to take this seriously—and personally. Think about how you can inspire your team, not repel them. Set a positive leadership presence: be someone they feel is ‘on their side’, support their development, empower them to overcome challenges.

 

"72% of workers are searching for purpose in their job"

 
  • Money isn't everything: 

A study by Curtin University found that employees who were ‘very satisfied’ with their jobs earned a lower average amount than those who were only ‘satisfied’. Because money isn’t everything, building a happy workplace means putting in place other initiatives that increase satisfaction. These may include creating progressive job roles to keep things interesting for employees, offering flexibility and making employees feel that there is a sense of purpose to what they are doing.

 
  • Ask, and you shall know: 

And if you genuinely want to find out how happy your workforce is and what else you can do, remember that WorkScore gives you insights on employee happiness levels.

 

Here are some things employees can do to stay happy at work:

 
  • Pinpoint your purpose: 

While your business will always have a raison d'être, don’t overlook the need to find your purpose. Ask yourself, ‘How does my work benefit others (customers and colleagues)? What would happen if it didn’t get done—or didn’t get done properly?’. Work is most satisfying if we can see how it affects others. As the influential deaf-blind author, Helen Keller said, “True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

   

"Work is most satisfying if we can see how it affects others"

   
  • Hit them with your best shot: 

Going the extra mile produces positive feelings. Why? It gives us control over what we achieve. Recall how you felt when you last completed a task faster and better than expected. That’s the rush you always want. And don’t trap yourself with perceived limitations. Promising research on our brains show that a simple change in mindset—from a limiting one to an enabling one—boosts our ability to overcome challenges. So, next time you think ‘I can’t do this’, try flipping that statement into a positive and see how you do.

Perhaps happiness at work isn’t the sunset. Maybe it’s an island that gives us a better sunset vantage point instead. With employees and leaders working together, suddenly it doesn’t seem so impossible to reach, and we suspect cold drinks await everyone who gets there!