Creating a Happy Workforce in Today’s Workplaces Part 1

Hiring and retaining cream of the crop employees is, to say the least, challenging in today’s competitive marketplace. Creating a happy and productive workforce is not an easy task, Workplaces have up to 4 generations in the workplace with different values and this presents some big challenges. Employees that are happy and satisfied with their jobs are less likely to actively seek other jobs. Studies show that hey are more productive. They come to work with smiles and those smiles make their interactions with clients and customers pleasant and effective.

Unhappy employees, on the other hand, continually seek other work, often sneaking office time in to submit resumes online or search online job databases for jobs.  Often their unhappiness with work flows over, impacting their health and family lives in negative ways.  This can easily turn into a vicious cycle, with the employer paying for sick days, vacation and personal days that the employee isn’t using to recover from illness or, in the case of vacation, to truly refresh them and return to work ready to produce.

Much research has been accumulated on the topic of what motivates workers and how to maintain a productive yet happy workforce. Over the past decade, research results have shown that businesses, from the smallest start-up to the largest corporations, people produce more if they have positive emotions about their work.

Gallup, the highly respected data collection and comparison experts, put the link between employee emotions and corporate outcomes into dollars and cents. Their research revealed that lost productivity because of employee disengagements (read employee unhappiness) costs more than $300 billion annual in the US. James Harter and colleagues, in another Gallup study that a business unit’s sales and profits at a point in time are directly predicted by how the employees feel about the organization at earlier points in time. In other words, how the employees felt about their jobs while doing the work that generated the profit and loss statement directly showed up in the P&L figures at the end of the period.

This indicates that maintaining a happy, satisfied workforce is critical to any business’s success. Unhappy employees simply don’t produce more than the bare minimum to keep their jobs while happy team members are innovative and do their very best for the company.

Compensating employees fairly is, of course, a factor in maintaining team happiness. And during the past years of the economic downturn, people pretty much accepted whatever job conditions they had to put up with to earn their paychecks. But today America’s marketplace is  well into recovery and the future looks brighter and brighter, especially in the knowledge based marketplaces.

While every organization is different and every company can’t provide campuses like Google’s or Microsoft’s. Almost all jobs have some tasks that are tedious or boring. But there are ways employers can promote happy employees. Next week, in part 2, we will present few of these factors that lead to happy employees.

Go to Creating a Happy Workforce in Today’s Workplaces Part 2