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Value of happiness
Why is employee happiness important?
Happy employees are central to the success of a business. We all instinctively know this, but it can be hard to pinpoint why. Nobody would argue that employees should be sad and downtrodden, yet it seems as though some businesses and their managers set out with the intention of presiding over a group of miserable people, and then succeed in doing just that.
First, the scientific evidence: Research released this month by the University of Warwick in Britain confirms that on average, happiness makes people 12 per cent more productive. One of the researchers, Andrew Oswald, said in a press release: “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37 per cent; they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”
How can you make your employees happier? The researchers offered their test subjects chocolates and fruit and the chance to watch comedy clips before they set them to work. A business can’t rely on snacks, unfortunately; eventually the effect would wear off. The most common rewards that businesses offer, bonuses and raises, also have a limited effect. After all, there are lots of people who are very well paid, yet miserable in their jobs.
Whether you’re launching a startup or managing an established enterprise, you have to go out of your way to make people happy; it doesn’t just happen. Create this job for yourself, just like the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan created the Gross National Happiness Commission, overseen by a secretary whose task is to look after the population’s happiness.