Why it’s worth keeping employees happy, COM0011 post #3



At the last three places I’ve worked, I can’t say employees were generally happy. I was always thinking about the wasted productivity, the lack of moral, the seemingly “could care less” attitude of those higher up, and how they couldn’t see that it was hurting business. Well it turns out that I wasn’t far off the mark. Investing in the happiness of workers ends up benefiting a company or organization in several ways.

stockimages-smiling-business-womanStockimages.com, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

In a TEDxWarwick 2014 talk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx7fYv2cAy4 ), well-being researcher Nic Marks points to a Gallop pole that shows only 13% of people are working with passion and engagement. Some truly dislike their jobs, but most are just putting in their time. This didn’t surprise me based on my own experience. But we often hear that human capital is one of the most important asset a company has. So why is employee happiness being ignored?

Perhaps the majority of companies and organizations need to watch this lecture. Marks highlights another poll that in companies that did invest proactively in their employee’s happiness found a 37% lower absentee rate, 47% less turnover, 48% fewer accidents and 21% higher productivity. Sounds pretty convincing.

An interesting point he raises is an equity analyst quoted in BusinessWeek saying that a certain company (Costco) was “… focused on employees to the detriment of the shareholders.” It turns out, however, that investing in employee happiness can nearly double your return on investment.

He gives another example of the online shoe sales startup Zappos.com, which grew to a multi-million dollar business in 12 years largely because it bases its business model on the idea that happy employees make for happy customers.

With these things in mind, it’s hard to imagine how so many employees are missing what could be a win-win for all. I’d love to hear your experiences and ideas.

One thought on “Why it’s worth keeping employees happy, COM0011 post #3

  1. Ensuring employees are engaged and productive is a goal of most managers. After all, they are hired for one reason: the success of the company or product or mission. I agree that looking after people should be job number one for anyone in charge of others’ performance; whether it is supervisor on the shop floor or a CEO of a multinational company. If people feel their contributions are appreciated and their needs and interests are being looked after, with the right management style for the task at hand, they can achieve incredible results. Too often, though, focus on the employee is lost in the effort to create efficiencies in management practices or in misguided efforts by some managers to make themselves look good. But, while it would be easy to say “People First”, in some career fields, such as in a nation’s military, the good of the organization may have to take precedence. I worked with a leader who was once asked, should it be people first or mission first. Given the nature of the work, he replied, “Mission First….But, People Always”. I always liked the Dofasco steel slogan which went something like this: “Our product is steel. Our strength is people.”

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