3 reasons why happiness at work is the new trend (and is there to stay)

1. Employees want happiness at work

The current crisis has changed the priorities of employees. The world is changing so fast and the only thing you can be sure of is yourself. So people want to know who they are and what they want. People are less interested in money, a great company car or a fancy office. Finding pleasure, fulfilment and meaning at work is getting more and more important. Happiness at work focuses on all those three aspects (see figure 1). Employees are looking for organizations who understand and support their own happiness at work. If you want to attract or keep your talented people happiness is where you should start.

2. Employees perform better when they are happier at work!

Research shows that people who experience positive feelings find it easier to think. On the other hand. Strong negative feelings (unhappiness) leads to narrow mindedness, dogmatism, unhealthy competition and distrust. Research (by the United Nations in 2013) shows  that happy employees are more productive, creative and innovative. They are more co-operative and increase the likelihood of sales and profits throughout the organization. Happiness protects against stress at the workplace and decreases the level of absenteeism. Happiness at work is not only attractive for the individual but makes sense from an organizational perspective.

World Happiness Report 2013 gelukkigwerken.nl aanrader happiness@work

figure 1. (Excerpt Table 4-1 – Page 56)  Income Productivity Organizational Behavior

3. Happiness at work is different (and better) than job satisfaction

Job satisfaction has been an important variable over the last 20 years. But it is becoming less so. On the other hand happiness at work is becoming a fast growing trend. Why is that? There seems to be no relationship between satisfaction and productivity at work. Research shows that there is a strong relationship between happiness at work and productivity. Satisfaction is passive. With satisfaction you are fulfilled (by others). You don’t want anything any more. When you talk about happiness at work you talk about being full of energy, engaged and committed. All important factors for productivity. More and more organizations realize this and stop measuring job satisfaction and start measuring (and facilitating) happiness at work.

This article is an updated version of an article,  originally publication in Dutch on GelukkigWerken.nl on August 10, 2007

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