Everyone knows that happiness is a beneficial, positive state of mind, but did you know that happy employees mean better business?
HR managers have long understood that happier employees mean fewer sick days, reductions in accidents and greater staff engagement but can happier employees really increase business profits?
Researchers at Warwickshire University set out to prove this in their ‘Happiness and Productivity’ study. They found that happiness makes people more productive. The study looks at happiness at a personal level and how individual output contributes to overall productivity.
Participants were given a happiness boost (a ten-minute comedy video) and their productivity measured against those who were not shown the clip. There was an increase in productivity for those shown the clip of up to 20%.
Let’s face it, it only takes a small percentage increase in productivity to have a large positive effect on a company’s output.
So how to introduce happiness to your workplace and reap those productivity rewards?
It’s no secret that happiness is strongly linked to health – both mental and physical and happy staff are those who feel valued. So, it makes sense to introduce a good mix of health and wellbeing initiatives.
Our top 10 happiness initiatives:
Introduce healthy snacks – replace the tuck shop with a fruit bowl – very popular if they’re company funded.
Make general healthy living information available – include guidance on alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, nutritional advice and sleep management.
Mental health awareness – providing work place information about mental health topics will help employees understand and support their co-workers who may be affected.
Secure a discount with local wellbeing experts such as nutritionists, personal trainers and back care practitioners and ask them to participate in open days to promote their services in return.
Cycle to work schemes – well known to have lots of benefits and arguably the most important one being the improvement of physical health and fitness.
Money-saving healthcare plans – to meet everyday health care costs such as eye care, dental care, physiotherapy and relaxation treatments.
Discounted gym memberships –providing a discounted scheme allowing staff to choose their most convenient gym has real appeal.
Holiday trading schemes – offering employees the opportunity to buy more holidays helps employees to get their work/ life balance right.
Flexible Working – working from home, flexi-time and part time hours are initiatives that are ever popular, especially with working parents.
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – offer employees completely free and professional help and advice for legal, medical and other issues to help tackle common worries, whether caused by work or everyday life.
Top tips for implementing ‘happiness‘:
Increase awareness – continually promote your health benefits with relevant communications your staff will engage with – a benefits platform with supporting communications directing them to is works well. But one hit wonder promotions will only work initially.
Team feedback and briefings – face to face communication and getting people to talk about their experience of benefits is a great way to secure positive endorsement and feedback on what benefits employees value most.
Align HR strategy with health, wellbeing and happiness – having a central lead and contact for these initiatives, and making them a formal part of company policy, will show employees you are taking their happiness seriously.
Establish health and wellbeing KPIs for senior managers – Providing training, assigning accountability for happiness and allowing managers some creative freedom in promoting happiness in their team will boost wellbeing and ensure you get reportable figures.
Taste and try days and recipe swapping – encouraging employees to bring in their favourite healthy dishes for their team to sample to encourage healthy eating. May be even run competitions – like a healthy version of the Bake Off!
A bit of healthy competition helps – a great way to encourage team building and add fun into the work place is to encourage teams to get active and compete against each other – maybe offer a prize or even raise money for charity for the team that travels the furthest by walking, running, cycling – whatever takes their fancy.
For more information on happiness benefits download our white paper here