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Why Employee’s Happiness At Work Matters

No company – big or small – can succeed in the long run without a team of motivated employees, who feel part of the company’s mission and works towards achieving it.

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It’s become increasingly clear for business leaders across the world today:  a happy employee equals a happy, profitable business. To put things into perspective, various studies on employee satisfaction vs productivity have found a statistically positive correlation between the two.

 Between 1996 and 2001, one of the first studies conducted identified a quantifiable increase in productivity per hour (6.6%) among happy employees as compared to unhappy employees. A more recently published Harvard Business Review (2015) paper indicated that happy employees lead to an average of 31% productivity and 37% sales increase. 

The inferences from these numbers are obvious - when happy, the brain works at a faster pace, motivation levels are higher, and there is increased dedication and willingness to succeed. Unfortunately, most businesses are unable to connect the dots between productivity and employee happiness and fail to establish an employee-first work culture. 

The cost of unhappy employees on the bottom line

The economic burden of unhappy employees is something to take note of. WHO reports that depression and anxiety cost the global economy ~$1 trillion per year in loss of productivity? Closer home, Bengaluru’s IT sector’s annual productivity loss due to workplace unhappiness, physical inactivity, and unfitness was a sizeable ~$3.5 billion in 2018.

Recent studies have also shown that unhappiness and burn-out at work can lead to various mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This is especially true of millennials; besides being the largest generation in the workforce today, they are popularly known as job-hoppers due to their tendency to switch jobs frequently. Censuswide’s recent report revealed that a whopping 60% of millennials have voluntarily changed jobs in the last 3 to10 years. Their workplace reportedly leaves them uninspired, unmotivated, burned / stressed-out and emotionally disengaged. 

 Organisations must understand and realise the importance of an employee-first work culture that ensures millennials remain invested in the companies’ goals.   This is especially crucial for organizations if they want to retain their top talent and not incur high turnover costs in the process.

The time to implement an employee-first work culture is now

Employers must take cognizance of the damage work pressure can have on their business, and take steps to rectify the situation. WHO estimates that for every dollar spent on supporting and treating common mental health, businesses will see a return of $4 in improved health and productivity? Employees benefit from the support, so do businesses. If we are to measure the impact of the initiatives taken to build such a culture, a number of leaders today are relying on predictive analytics to understand the real picture on the ground.  

Being able to hear and act on what your employees say goes a long way in establishing a workplace culture and brand that cares, attracting more talent in the process. While most companies gauge employee satisfaction through the traditional and time-honoured annual surveys, a new study from Gartner confirmed that companies are increasingly moving away from it as they are no more enough to capture the employee’s voice. 

Measuring engagement for higher happiness quotient

Today, there’s a plethora of HRTech solution to choose from; recommendation engines, predictive analytics and AI-bot ‘counsellors’ to name a few.  Companies are continuously empowering themselves, especially their HR functions, to proactively work on their culture based on the feedback shared in real-time. In fact, HR leaders using an AI-based engagement strategy to forecast were able to control attrition in their organisations up to 12 per cent YoY. 

And while feedback can be brutal, a supportive environment makes employees more likely to stay with their organisation for a longer time. In another instance of employee engagement, around 74 per cent of the employees who dropped out of chats or refused to interact with the chatbot were among those who left their respective organisations.

The modern corporate outlook towards workplace health also seems bright. The rise of the ‘gig-economy’, flexible work hours, addressing negative workspace dynamics, use of on-site counsellors – human or bot – can be very helpful in supporting individuals in continuing with or returning to work. 

At the end of the day, no company – big or small – can succeed in the long run without a team of motivated employees, who feel part of the company’s mission and works towards achieving it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Tanmaya Jain

The author is Founder, inFeedo

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