A mistake often made by HR departments is prioritising the happiness of CEOs, senior leaders and income generators, while neglecting the need to improve happiness company-wide.
A drive for happiness should be implemented throughout an organisation’s structure – meeting the wellbeing needs of everyone from the highest to lowest paid staff member. Often, HR staff also forget to include themselves in happiness-building initiatives.
Business owners average a happiness score of 4.2 out of 5, with senior management following closely behind at 3.96. Junior staff, meanwhile, fall significantly under those in higher-paid roles at 3.4 – showing a failure to implement company-wide happiness.
A company that doesn’t prioritise every employee’s happiness will feel the effects of higher sickness rates, poor retention rates and a collapse in profits.
Read on to discover the effects of an unhappy workforce and learn about methods that can boost company-wide happiness.
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The Effects of an Unhappy Workforce
An unhappy workforce, or even individual cases of unhappiness, will impact your business negatively. There are simply no positives to unhappiness at work.
A failure to prioritise happiness can impact on how employees interact with the company and the costs you’ll incur.
When employees feel unhappy at work, they are less likely to admit mistakes or be honest about the status of their efforts. Knowledge of employee error is important for senior leaders, as it can help find solutions, rebuild client relations and get things back on track.
Unhappy employees see mistake admittance as a risk, concerned that angry managers will further their unhappiness at work. Likewise, they’ll consider honesty about the status of their performance as too high a risk, choosing to negate the truth.
Happy employees are more enthusiastic about taking on new tasks and agreeing to additional work, which helps your company to reach its goals at speed.
Happy workers are 13% more productive than their unhappy counterparts, demonstrating how profits can be boosted by happiness.
Employees who aren’t content at work are more likely to seek employment elsewhere. If too many staff members quit, this can leave you vulnerable to a snowball effect of resignations.
The high costs associated with recruitment eat into profits. Coupled with the amount of time rehiring consumes, unhappiness will limit success and damage your reputation when seeking new recruits.
Encouraging Happiness in the Workplace
Encouraging happiness across the workplace should be the priority of HR teams – with many companies already employing a Chief Wellbeing Officer to focus on it exclusively.
Satisfied and Engaged
Employee satisfaction is different to employee engagement. Many companies have focused their efforts on creating a satisfied workforce, but this misses the point.
A satisfied employee arrives at work, completes their tasks to an adequate-enough level and leaves. An engaged member of staff is passionate about the company they work for, driven by the goals of the business and shows an interest in overall sector performance.
It’s often thought that lower-paid staff should be satisfied but not engaged, as they are wrongly perceived to be in roles that can’t contribute to the company’s primary aims. In fact, the opposite is true.
Don’t underestimate the ideas of junior staff – they’re the ones on the ground and thus have valuable contributions about how to develop workable goals.
It’s important to engage junior staff, giving them opportunities to put forward ideas and brainstorm with senior staff. Such initiatives show that you value the contribution of every worker, not just those in senior roles.
Noting the difference, HR professionals should prioritise engagement as well as satisfaction.
Outsourcing to third-party companies such as WuXi Advanced Therapies alleviates your employees from certain tasks, helping them to feel less overwhelmed and in-turn avoiding high sickness rates.
Companies should have systems in place that acknowledge work effort and success stories across the organisation. Rewarding income generators through commission is a long-practised incentive, but financial incentives don’t reach everyone.
Social initiatives can go further – providing more members of staff with the opportunity to share in celebration. Acknowledging strong performance can also be achieved through weekly emails and annual award ceremonies attended by all staff.
Employees are happier when they consider decision-making to be fair. Those in junior roles are most likely to see the organisation as being unfair, which contributes to their lower happiness scores.
Avoiding allocating the best annual leave days to senior staff by introducing a rota is one way you can demonstrate fairness.
A Company-Wide Approach to Happiness
The ultimate goal for HR professionals and Wellbeing Officers should be to prioritise company-wide happiness. No organisation can succeed if it is only focused on boosting the wellbeing of those in senior positions.
Engaging all staff, being fair and outsourcing contribute to building happiness at all levels – demonstrating that a completely happy workforce is possible.