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.
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.