Why Measure Workplace Happiness?

First of all let’s get something straight. It’s important to be happy! This is not just philosophical mambo jumbo, or some commercial for anti-depressants. I am not endorsing, nor do I hold stock in, the Big Pharma.

Having happy people around you contributes to your own wellbeing, the performance of your company and your nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

It’s been shown time and time again that there is a STRONG, direct, correlation between happiness and performance.

At nation level it’s immediately apparent that happy citizens live in strong economies, with positive outlooks. The  Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) regularly surveys the countries of the world about the level of happiness of their citizens. In a study published by OECD in 2009 unsurprisingly shows that Northern European countries lead, worldwide, in both happiness and economic performance (GDP per capital, unemployment, etc).

But if this holds true at a large scale, is it really applicable to small groups? Would it apply to a company of 3, or 5 or 10 people?

Even more so! It is immediately apparent that having happy employees will IMMEDIATELLY be reflected in your level of customer service, profitability and engagement.

Not convinced? Here are some of the reasons to measure workplace happiness together with some effects of not having this on your radar.

  • Find the sore spot in time and act to healing it. Nip it in the bud. If the happiness levels are NOT measured, you will end up with unsatisfied employees that maybe were holding their problems inside and might end up quitting when you most need them.
  • Identify a mood pattern (high and low points on the happiness scale). Firstly, you can propose new ideas, ask feedback only when people are in a good mood. Secondly, try not to over-burden them with tasks and futile demands when they’re most likely more easily annoyed.
  • Get a perspective on the health of the business. In the case of  NOT measuring the happiness levels of the employees, it might be too late until you actually notice that there is an issue that needs your attention. Like medical diseases, the earlier you catch them, the better the chances for improvement.

As you see, you should be as concerned with your employees’ happiness (and implicit satisfaction) levels as you are with your company’s balance sheet, income statement  and cash flow statement.  Granted, it’s not as exact science as accounting, but try and look at it from the economical point of view:  you do need hard facts, but sometimes in business you also have to follow your intuition, which can only be included in the softer side of things.

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