How creating a happy workplace can provide creativity, hope, purpose, and commitment for your team.
As you gear up for the festive pandemonium that shall ensue, and wind down all the work activities, just before tucking into your turkey (or to-furkey in my case) take a moment of reflection – was this year a highlight for you and your team? Has your purpose been a shared one? Were you thriving or barely surviving?
Now think about what the year ahead and where you see your team in 12 months’ time - I’m not talking NY resolutions; I’m talking Happy Intentions. How do you want them to feel about work? Refreshed from the break and reenergised to live the values? Singing the mission statement to the skies?
If this hasn’t yet crossed your mind; sit back and allow me to share why we here at Happy HQ believe its time to shift focus…
For as long as we can remember we’ve been informed that success leads to happiness – if you knuckle down, study hard, work hard, pass those exams, get that promotion; once you are successful, you’ll be truly happy! right? Actually, once we succeed at a goal we are striving to reach, we feel pleasure, gratification, satisfaction which are great but just short lived. We then change the goal posts to our measure of success, and therefore continue the pursuit for happiness. What we have continued to overlook and undervalue is that happiness leads to success. The world of work has never felt so unhappy for people as recent reports show….
“Recent data showcases the stark reality of the UK’s workforce woes: Indeed’s Work Happiness Score, the largest study of workplace happiness, found that around 36% of people are unhappy at work. There are also said to be 9.8 million brits who are actively job hunting daily, with around 3 in 5 employees feeling disengaged with their workplace.” – Gallup, State of the Global Workplace: 2022 report.
Well-being and engagement in the workplace have stagnated and, in some areas, its going backward. With only 21% of the global working population feeling engaged at work, the phrase “living for the weekend” holds gravitas. The world of work is getting harder with worker stress hitting a new high whereby 44% of people stated that they felt “stressed whilst at work”.
But we still hear the same questions: shouldn’t we be focused on creating meaning? Isn’t focusing on Happiness a waste of time?
As a leader creating the conditions for happiness at work helps people to find meaning in what they do, rather than relying on the stuff which surrounds the job such as pay benefits, bonuses, holidays, and pension schemes.
Leading with happiness, and a healthy dose of emotional and positive intelligence promotes positive emotions and increases individual performance that drives organisational benefits such as efficiency and innovation.
Barbara Fredrickson published the Review of General Psychology back in 1998, a ground-breaking article that introduces the Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions. Fredrickson argues that while negative emotions narrow thought-action repertoires, positive emotions broaden these repertoires. Learning new things and developing ourselves is a positive emotion, it is rewarding and creates value for us - a little rush of dopamine gets released.
“Through this lens, positive emotions leave us free to be creative, playful, curious, and experimental, and from these behaviours flow opportunities to gain new physical, social, and intellectual resources.” – Barbara Fredrickson
Giving people the freedom and space to explore rather than just being hardwired to focus on the metrics, allows them to unlock their full potential, be present, and thrive. Making emotional connections with people strengthens appreciation and adds the ‘human’ back into the workplace. A recent Warwick University study by Department of Economics Professors Andrew J Oswald, Eugenio Proto, and Daniel Sgroi, found that happiness made people around 12% more productive.
“Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.” - Professor Oswald ‘Happiness and Productivity’ 2009.
According to Nic Marks’ 2015 tedtalk ‘Happiness is a serious business’, there are 5 ways to build happiness at work:
Connect. Build relationships with your people, your clients, and your suppliers.
Be fair. Pay people what they are worth, fair work-life balance, and treat everyone with genuine consideration.
Empower. No one likes to be micromanaged. Dare to delegate, and allow people the opportunity to grow.
Challenge. People like to work towards a goal, development comes when people are stretched. Avoid apathy - people relish the feeling of achievement.
Inspire. Big picture: create understanding around the vision, and the mission and help people understand how they are helping colleagues, customers, and the wider society which sits outside the organisation.
Stop glamourising the burnout and start galvanising the well-being glow-up!
Positive intelligence is used to improve mental fitness. The percentage of time the mind is spent being positive, allows it to flourish - a big factor in allowing you to reach your full potential. Using positive intelligence as a leader will help you cultivate a positive mind-set for your people, who will then better perform when faced with a challenge. Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level - productivity, creativity, engagement - improves.
Previous Burt’s Bees CEO John Replogle, took on positive intelligence in 2010, when the organisation took on a global expansion into 19 countries. Instead of pestering his deputies with frequent meetings or flooding in-boxes with urgent demands, each day he’d send out an e-mail praising a team member for work related to the global rollout. He’d interrupt his own presentations on the launch to remind his managers to talk with their teams about the company’s values. On switching the approach in this high-pressure situation, Replogle’s emphasis on fostering positive leadership kept managers engaged and cohesive and delivered a successful transition.
“Training your brain to be positive is not so different from training your muscles at the gym. Recent research on neuroplasticity - the ability of the brain to change even in adulthood -reveals that as you develop new habits, you rewire the brain.”- Shawn Achor, ‘Positive Intelligence’ for the Harvard business Review 2012.
The Happy Consultancy Group considers all this research and learning and weave it into the very fabric of everything we do. When designing, we focus on ensuring that our content taps into the key drivers of happiness at work, ensuring that all our solutions are underpinned by the science of happiness and positive psychology.
And the results of this speak for themselves…hear testimonials from some of our Happy Clients:
Happiness is our mantra, a way of life that we practice as well as preach. Our bespoke programmes have seen some of the most well-known brands/organisations across the UK and Malaysia, navigate huge people change and culture transformation journeys by embracing happiness as a central value. It has been the ambition of our company to demonstrate to the world that happiness is the catalyst to success, which was solidified by winning the accolade ‘L&D Supplier of the Year’ at the Personnel Today awards 2022.
For the future of happiness, leaders have a real opportunity in 2023, they can be the architects to rebuild the workplace by leveraging happiness and improving the lives of their people as individuals, their families, and the communities they serve.
You could make a start with your 2023 Happy Intentions by introducing our ‘Creating Happiness – 30 Day Challenge’ card deck, providing simple and fun ways to make happiness at work an everyday habit. We have a wide range of products to feast your eyes on here https://www.thehappyconsultancygroup.com/shop
Or why not listen in to our Happy People podcast where we speak with leaders from different industries, who are using happiness to drive success www.thehappyconsultancygroup.com/podcast
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer, Nobel peace prize winner 1952
If you would like to ‘Happify’ your workplace for 2023, and kick start the year in the most inspirational way, be like the Four Tops and ‘reach out’. We’ll be there!
Thanks for stopping by and much happiness,
Emma - Happiness & Engagement Consultant
(seen here for once without a fancy dress outfit on!)
Grab a cup of tea, or a G&T, and let's chat about how you can leverage the power of happiness...
happy people podcast: www.thehappyconsultancygroup.com/podcast