Today is the UN’s 2nd annual International Happiness Day. In a recent YouGov poll, 87% of UK adults said they prefer ‘the greatest overall happiness and wellbeing’ over wealth. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the founder of the day, said that happiness is a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes… happiness and well-being of all peoples”.
Happiness at work
Happiness is a fuzzy concept. It means different things to different people, cultures and organisations, and it’s even harder to pin down in the workplace. But we know that when happiness is present, people are engaged, helpful, productive and creative. Is happiness at work the key ingredient to business success?
A recent Engage for Success report says yes. In partnership with M&S and the University of Bath School of Management, the report reveals the positive impact that employee engagement can have on the bottom line:
- Businesses with top engagement scores had 2.5 times greater revenue growth than those on the bottom
- The turnover rate of organisations with high engagement levels was 40% lower than those companies who had low engagement scores
- Of the engaged employees surveyed, 59% of them said their job delivers their most creative ideas.
Change the way you work
At Changeboard, we are great advocates for change – we feel so passionately about it, we’ve included it in our name, and our organisational slogan is ‘change the way you work’. As a magazine, we choose to focus on how HR is transforming the workplace, and each issue, we report on how other organisations are promoting happiness, health and wellbeing at work. In honour of International Happiness Day, we’ve compiled stories of how organisations have succeeded in making their employees happy to come to work everyday, and insights on how engaged employees can boost your business.
Define your brand & live it every day
Marian Connolly, head of talent, Europe, ?What If! Innovation Partners
“We encourage our employees to act on ideas that they feel can enrich the lives of the people who work here. Two years ago, we launched Pecha Kucha (PK) evenings, where participants talk for 20 slides or 20 seconds about something personal that they are passionate about. This helps build presenting and communication skills in an unpressured environment, stimulates people creatively and provides an opportunity for all teams to get to know each other better and share ideas.” Read full story >
Encourage people at work to be human
Imogen Pudduck & Carla Cringle, FizzPopBANG!
“We recently worked with a large British manufacturer who had forgotten who they were. The team had become conditioned to speaking in jargon, anagrams, and business analogies which made it impossible to pick out each team member’s personal qualities and strengths. The consequence was that, as a team, there was little trust and people were hiding behind politics with what felt like an ongoing competition to see who could sound the most clever.
To achieve real performance requires engaged human beings that don’t just try to ‘look’ like they’re doing a good job 9-5. Those who are engaged go above and beyond because they believe in the work they’re doing and want to do their best for the good of the wider team and the future of the company. Collective success and performance is a strong motivator – more than financial reward can ever be.” Read full story >
Fulfillment attracts great people
Alain de Botton, author
“Having a meaningful career is not necessarily a conscious sense of being ‘happy’ while you’re at work. The key to meaning is a feeling that you are contributing to something worthwhile greater than yourself, that at the end of the working day you have left the world ever so slightly better than it was at the beginning. This seems a small concern but it lies at the heart of job satisfaction.
Business leaders have a responsibility to help employees find meaning in their careers. It is not just a social obligation – it makes clear commercial sense. Employees who are genuinely fulfilled and find meaning in their work are far more productive and effective. Leaders who offer opportunities to do this will find great people knocking at their door.” Read full story >
Invest in developing your employees
Leigh Lafever-Ayer, HR director, Enterprise
“Our three-stage diversity training focuses on understanding business benefits, building awareness, recognising bias and creating a culture that provides all employees with an equal chance to succeed.
Career progression at Enterprise is completely transparent. We use a balanced scorecard to identify talent and establish when employees are ready for promotion. This means that I was able to progress as much as I wanted to – and I wanted to! I won’t pretend that I didn’t have big goals.” Read full story >
Take an interest in health & wellbeing
Jo Lloyd, HR director, Arco
“We pride ourselves on being a health conscious employer and our efforts go beyond tackling sickness absence. We’re committed to people through improved staff engagement and open communication channels; all of which contribute to a healthier, happier workforce.
We have a programme of continuous investment in our people and entered the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for survey in 2013, retaining our One-to-Watch status. Plans are in place to further improve levels of engagement within the business and Arco remains committed to being an employer of choice.” Read full story >
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Happy, ‘International Happiness Day!‘