It’s a well-known truism in industrial and organizational psychology that happy employees are more productive employees. Researchers discovered years ago that there is a meaningful employee happiness impact on your company’s success. Over and over again, we have seen companies with comprehensive employee happiness programs succeed, sometimes beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
It’s great for owners and managers that it is in their interests to keep their employees happy, because it fits in with our own sense of decency and respect for our fellow human. If driving our employees like slaves led to more productivity, many managers would have a serious ethical dilemma.
So it’s great that employee happiness is more cost-effective than employee misery. But it still may help to know exactly why it matters, so that we can deploy our resources most effectively with regard to employee happiness programs. Here are three reasons why employee happiness matters.
- Happy Employees Are More CreativeUnhappy employees may be creative, but it’s not in the service of your company. An employee who is not happy often wants to be anywhere but where they are, and may use their creative energies in thinking about ways to not be at work. On the other hand, if an employee likes their job and is enjoying it, they may put that creativity to work for you instead and dream up ways the company can be more productive, more fun and more successful.
- Happy Employees Work Harder and FasterThis is the key reason these studies always point to when analyzing employee happiness. You’ve seen it numerous times. Employees who aren’t happy drag their feet throughout the workday. They do the minimum possible — because why not? You aren’t giving them anything to be happy about, so why should they give you anything to be happy about? These employees do just enough to justify their paycheck and little else.
On the other hand, happy employees tend to really appreciate the effort you as a manager or owner take to make them happy, and they want to reciprocate. Even if reciprocity isn’t foremost on their minds, happy people tend to have more energy, meaning they will often work harder and faster without realizing it, just to burn off some of that energy.
- Happy Employees Are More CarefulThis aspect of keeping your employees happy is one that is especially relevant in the manufacturing space, where heavy machinery, power-driven vehicles and other hazards can easily put your employees at risk. Happy employees are likely to pay more attention.
A low-energy, low-morale employee who is sleepwalking through the day is much more likely to ignore a key safety procedure that could protect him or her from serious harm. That extra energy happy employees have can translate into more alertness, which is very important from a safety perspective.
Now that you know some of the reasons why happy employees are better, you can analyze your own company culture to see if you are implementing the right employee happiness programs.