Blog: Happiness Anyone? “Is employee happiness crucial to your success in 2021?”

By KRaynes

Blog: Happiness Anyone? “Is employee happiness crucial to your success in 2021?”

HR in Hospitality event Blog: Esther O’Halloran, Chair HR in Hospitality, 14 January 2021


Zoom Event Hosted by Klaudia Mitura, work psychologist, learning & development specialist & co-host of a podcast called &Happiness with Kitty Newman, Director of Trapeze Media  

A study by University of Warwick found that happier employees are 12% more productive while unhappy employees are 10% less productive. In the current challenging times, asking people professionals to consider happiness and job fulfilment in the workplace might feel like a huge stretch. Contrary to our intuition, those who are happy at work are exactly the employees that during these unprecedented times are able to reinvigorate and grow our business.

What is happiness at work? – many times it has been misjudged as a ‘flat’ concept but it can be a predictor and real measure of the growth and wealth of the organisation. A great model developed by Daniel Pink identified 3 key elements of motivation:

  • Autonomy – considers how self-directed people are in your workplace. How much empowerment do they have to make decisions and take on responsibilities and are empowered by line managers as this is key.
  • Mastery – another component of happiness is how much do people feel they are able to apply their strengths in the workplace and develop their skills. This can be linked to job design so are you matching the right strengths to the role.
  • Purpose – focuses on how much someone’s personal purpose relates to the organisation and why it (or indeed they) exist.

Additional studies have since highlighted 2 other factors that influence happiness at work……

  • Fairness – considers how respected people feel they are in the workplace, how much they consider your policies and processes are fair even down to people feeling they are fairly paid.
  • Belonging – how much do you feel you belong? That that sense of not being isolated even given the current lockdown situation is key, so what tools and opportunities can you create to enable that sense of belonging.

It is reflecting on these motivators or drivers of happiness that can you ensure people have that strong sense of wellbeing and maintain connections. Think about how you can ensure that the smallest tasks people are doing are connected to the bigger purpose of the organisation and what is currently important to them and to you.

A note on positive psychology

John Lennon was once asked by a teacher “What do you want to be when you grow up?” His answer was “I want to be happy”, his teacher thought he had misunderstood the question, but he had not he simply wanted to be happy.  Think about your desires and what is driving you to succeed, when will you be happy, is it when you get that next pay rise? Positive psychology research proves when we are happy we are able to be more successful,  happiness is the fuel we need behind career success and therefore behind our organisational success.

Miserable People do Miserable Work -  happiness is important to business results and there have been many studies that provide empirical evidence to demonstrate the direct impact. These figures are from Friday Pulse happiness index and show that happiness is an important metric…..

  • Retention – people are 2 x more likely to leave
  • Productivity – people are 28% less productive
  • Value – your share price can be 3% lower due to your people not being happy
  • Health – you are likely to see 55% higher stress levels
  • Innovation – people are 3 x less creative and less likely to innovate due to stress

We know that being happy leads to improvements in…

Productivity, relationships, resilience, sharing good fortune and promotion. Did you know that you are 40% more likely to be promoted  if you are happy and this has direct links to the different aspects of relationship building.  How is this possible you may ask! Is it a magic formula? It is linked with the idea our brain works and performs better when we are happy it is all about ‘dopamine’ or the feel good hormones released when we are happy and our cognitive ability and awareness is being boosted by happiness.

Help Employees to find their Purpose and sense of Belonging….

  • Unilever case study example looked at boosting purpose with their approach: People with purpose perform better and unlock their full potential when they live and work with purpose. Help your employees to define a personal purpose so they can see meaning in their work (and home life) so they feel they are contributing to something and making a difference, enabling them to perform at their best. Building an ‘owner’s mindset’ and encouraging an entrepreneurial approach can help create a strong sense of ownership to your organisation’s success and this builds empowerment and collaboration within teams.
  • Coop example used coaching tools through a development programme to create happy teams and coach them with a wide angled lens to go on a journey with all their team leaders and managers. They found using the right coaching tools to support leaders helped them to build a strong sense of belonging not only to the team but also to the Coop itself, by taking them through a coaching approach it really helped revitalise their brand.

Create happy communications

Ensure everything starts with the idea of starting conversations about happiness – listen to what is going on in your teams, what are they saying, talking about or worrying about. In the digital world it makes it very ‘possible’ but not always easy to communicate frequently. We understand in hospitality we are very social and love to connect with our teams and guests, but we have had to adapt how we communicate at the moment. How you choose to communicate can affect your happiness and that of your teams. Are the tools your using making a positive impact and difference (reflect and think about this). When you are about to send out some comms it may sometimes feel a bit like being the first person at the disco…. All alone…. But you are not dancing on your own when you put something out there people will see it, read it or listen to it.

There is a PATH to happy communications

P = Play – be playful on line, run little games, keep upbeat, enthusiastic, gameification, whatever format you are using you can ask questions play games and tap into positivity

A = Acceptance, does using social media come naturally to you, maybe pause for a moment and reconnect with your purpose in your message before you send it as this gives you a sense of control.

T = Time – when creating any social comms give yourself the power back and do not let yourself be led by those ‘pings’ popping up and reminding you of messages coming in to distract you, manage and control your time. Decide on the task to be completed (or written) and set a timer for 25 minutes to allow yourself to focus and  create the comms messages as this will make it feel more purposeful.

H = Habit – how to form happy habits “Our happiness is a formation of habits”  we are all learning how to do things more in a virtual online world, often things that we have done physically or face to face before. Now is the time to create new habits and maybe achieve a good blend of the 2.

Some great things to take away and links for you explore….

  1. Watch TEDx Talk by Psychologist Shawn Achor “The Happy Secret to Better Work” it is hysterical and fun to listen to and challenges our belief that  we work hard in order to be happy he talks about positive psychology and unicorns! It is the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality and this affects your happiness.
  2. Download “The Happy Manifesto” by Henry Stewart, the founder of Happy, it’s free and is the definitive guide for anyone who wants to transform productivity, loyalty and innovation within their organisations.
  3. Score your happiness index using “Friday Pulse” by Nic Marks & Friday Pulse
  4. Log in to the People Skills CIPD Hub ‘Team Building’ and look for ‘Top 10 Tips for Motivating your Team’ and setting objectives to give them purpose
  5. Listen to podcasts and more episodes from Klaudia and Kitty from &Happiness to find out more about them

What could you do to boost happiness by implementing at least one thing today?