By James Taylor, founder and Group CEO of SuperStars
Clap along if you think that happiness is the truth, clap along if you know what happiness is to you. It’s the song that grabbed the nation by Pharrell Williams and got me thinking about what makes us happy.
If you start to think about it, lots of things probably spring to mind - nice weather, exercise, seeing friends, spending time with family, reading a favorite book. But is work one of them?
A study has found the typical British adult is 59 per cent happy at work. Teachers are said to be the happiest professions, with secretaries coming a close second.
For many people, happiness at work is determined by what they can get out of the job - such as achieving and making a difference - more than how much money they see at the end of the month.
Happy workers tend to be more productive - which makes it sensible to focus on making sure your staff are content.
We know from experience that people who are happier at work are more productive – they are more engaged, more creative and have better concentration.
Research suggests that the difference in productivity between happy and unhappy people at work can range between 10-50%. 10% for non-complex repetitive tasks, or up to 40-50% in service and creative industries, which is an awful lot in terms of business revenue.
Staff happiness is huge for us. It is key to employee engagement and retention. It is so important to us that we have appointed a ‘head of happiness’ tasked with ensuring our 170 employees are happy and fulfilled in their roles. It’s a newly created role for us, but one that, we feel, is imperative to the future success of SuperStars.
Our head of happiness, Nicola Parvey, is tasked with making over 170 passionate people happy. She organises and delivers employee events, supports communication campaigns across the business to promote engagement activities, regularly reviews progress against employee survey results, and identifies new and better ways of delivering against our employee engagement strategy.
Aside from giving your employees decent pay for their hard work, I believe there are many other ways you can boost employee happiness, loyalty and satisfaction in the office.
Firstly, provide opportunities for growth and continued learning. According to a Reed survey 84% of employees stated that the opportunity for career advancement is vital to their happiness at work. Employees yearn for fresh learning opportunities and need the variety in their work to keep them interested and craving more.
Secondly, give work a purpose and a meaning. Work with purpose keeps it fresh and fuels us on. In my business, we are all driven by the same goal. With an aim of increasing the number of children we impact from 50,000 per week to 100,000 per week, there is a very clear goal and our staff can see how their good work contributes to this.
Thirdly, show that you care. If you genuinely care about your employees’ happiness and wellbeing, and you make the effort to understand them, they will take notice. Staff engagement stems from a culture of caring, being genuinely interested in people in and out of work, appreciation, encouragement and letting people know they are valued. It costs nothing to thank someone for going the extra mile or to announce how well someone has done.
Finally, work hard but have fun. There’s no rule that says work can’t be fun. If everyone in the business has a role to play in the overall culture; and fun is owned and fostered by all people in the business, happiness can deliver amazing results.
Achieving fun, motivation and happiness at work is an endless exploration. But, happiness is contagious… it will spread throughout the office without you having to do anything. Once you begin the cycle of employee happiness, it’s easy to keep it going.