Whether you are an entrepreneur managing a startup, or a corporate executive with thousands of employees, it’s hard to ignore the evidence of big value from happy employees. For example, the Harvard Business Review a while back included an analysis of hundreds of studies showing an average of 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales, with creativity three times higher.
The challenge is to find the best way to keep everyone on your team happy and productive. Google, which was ranked by Fortune magazine as the world’s best place to work, seems to put a lot of stock in providing a free food source to every employee, within three minutes from each office, via many micro-kitchens open 24/7 throughout their campus.
Unfortunately, I suspect it’s a little more complicated than that for most companies. Most experts agree that workplace happiness is hard to find, partially because we as humans are not particularly good at staying happy. Psychologist Ron Friedman, in his recent book “The Best Place To Work,” explores this problem in detail, and I like the insights he offers to maximize your efforts:
Research also shows that when team members are happy at work, they are better collaborators, work to common goals, and are more innovative. That means it pays to elevate people’s mood at the start of a team effort by using refreshments, good news, or an interactive activity. The trick is to promote a mindset that benefits the activities that you are asking them to undertake.
Managers and executives should never confuse recognition events and group lunches with unproductive time. All interactions that bring employees together in a positive way extend productivity in the long run. In a similar vein, don’t confuse people presence with productivity. Productive employees are the ones who are passionate, focused, and excited to be there.
Believe it or not, it is possible for employees in business, as well as entrepreneurs, to be both happy and productive. As a business, happy employees lead to success, more than success leads to happiness. If you want to emulate Google’s success as a great place to work, and as a successful company, maybe it’s time to think more like they do about employee happiness.