In the bottom-line, results-driven business world, one must ask: Does happiness even matter for those doing the work? Study after study keeps pointing to a resounding yes. In fact, the happier the employees, the more productive they will be.
One study found that happiness led to a 12 percent spike in productivity, while unhappy workers were 10 percent less productive. Plain and simple, the research asserts, positive emotions invigorate human beings. Happier employees use their time more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.
Naturally, leaders then must inquire about how to shift to a culture of happiness for business outcomes. Well, the first lesson is never to force happiness to happen. You can't implement a prescribed people strategy to squeeze more productivity out of workers. It doesn't work that way.
What actually works is not so simple. It's for leaders to shift their mindset and change beliefs around how they see and treat their employees. When leaders begin to hold human beings at work with the utmost regard, they begin to see them through a new lens and value them differently.
This shift can only happen by fostering a culture of high performers where people feel valued, respected, and encouraged daily. Here are four ways to do it.
1. Get feedback on what they value
Ask a select group of model high performers whether they'd recommend their company to others seeking a great culture. Then listen for ideas and recommendations that identify the shared values and markers of success to give you a solid foundation to drive your culture.
2. Hire on what they value
Use the data you gathered to reinvent your talent acquisition process by interviewing candidates who reflect the behaviors you'd like to replicate in those high performers who work for you. Then, consistently communicate these values as new cultural behaviors that are expected, and implement incentives that will reinforce them across the enterprise.
3. Open communication channels
Lack of communication is a great cause of employee disengagement and turnover. In addition to your standard annual employee performance reviews, use digital tools to capture frequent and real-time feedback. Furthermore, great leaders these days are also coaches. They use their monthly one-on-ones as an ongoing opportunity to coach and mentor employees and evaluate their progress. This is what high achievers crave and want to keep developing and building on their strengths.
4. Emphasize praise and recognition
The companies in Gallup's study with the highest engagement levels use recognition and praise as a powerful motivator to get their employees' commitment. Those who receive it on a regular basis (from managers and peers alike) increase their individual productivity, receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and are more likely to stay with their organization.