Is a happy employee a productive employee

Career & Salary

The surveys are the same from year to year: Very few people are happy in their job. So companies would be well advised to get to the bottom of the question, what employees associate with the term "happiness" and how the work can be structured in such a way that both sides benefit from it.

It would be worth it, because after all, positive and happy employees overshadow their negative colleagues in terms of productivity, sales, energy, fluctuation and health costs. Harvard researcher Shawn Achor found that happy salespeople generate around 40 percent more sales than their unhappy colleagues.

The performance of happy employees demonstrably increases in all areas: productivity, creativity, commitment or resilience to stress. So companies have a lot of starting points to increase the happiness of their employees and thus their success. The following tips will bring you closer to your goal.

  1. This is how you increase employee satisfaction
    Companies should optimize their employees' happiness like any other production factor. Small changes are often enough to increase employee satisfaction. Which, reveals Dr. Anne-Katrin Sträßer, lecturer at the FH Kufstein and head of the Happiness Management Institute in Munich.
  2. Find measurable criteria
    Like every area that companies want to optimize, the broad field of "happiness" should first be considered with a view to measurable factors. This is where happiness scorecards come into play. They are based on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, a catalog of questions developed by Peter Hills and Michael Argyle, with which happiness can be measured.
  3. Focus on the strengths of the employees
    According to a survey by the Gallup Institute, people are six times more committed to their work if they can focus on their strengths every day. It is therefore worthwhile for companies to promote and call up the talents of employees.
  4. Pay attention to an appreciative leadership style
    An appreciative leadership style will usually set positive development in motion. The reason: What people pay attention to is intensified. So if you are looking for errors, for example, you will find errors and even provoke them. The search for positive aspects in behavior, on the other hand, encourages it.
  5. Create creative freedom
    The contingency theory for situational leadership differentiates the degree of maturity of an employee. It comprises two aspects: one factual and one psychological. In factual terms, “mature” employees want responsibility. They develop their skills and specialist knowledge independently. In psychological terms, “mature” employees want to achieve something. You are motivated and committed. If they get too little autonomy and room for maneuver in their activities, this has a negative effect on their feeling of happiness and ultimately also on their motivation. Too much control by the supervisor would be counterproductive.
  6. Pay attention to the relationship level
    The so-called “high level of factual orientation” in the German working world creates many problems. That is, the result of a task is often more important than the shaping of the relationship with the people with whom the task is carried out. In Germany it is important to achieve a good result quickly, even if you sometimes have to speak “clear words” or accept direct confrontations. After all, a more informal and socially emphasized culture has meanwhile found its way into many modern and internationally oriented companies.
  7. Create a positive mood
    Emotions are always transferred to the interaction partner. In sales training courses, salespeople are therefore encouraged to signal to customers that they are in a good mood with good reason. Such behavior is carried over and increases the willingness to buy. Humor and self-irony also contribute to well-being. Happy people don't take themselves too seriously and see the joyful and fun side of every situation. This joy is contagious and affects the immediate environment. Spontaneity and authenticity also have a positive effect.

Tip 1: Find measurable criteria

Like every area that companies want to optimize, the broad field of "happiness" should first be viewed with a view to measurable factors. This is where the Happiness Management Institute's Happiness Scorecard comes into play. It is based on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, a catalog of questions developed by Peter Hills and Michael Argyle, with which happiness can be measured. He lists 29 different emotional states that can be classified using a scale with six options.

With the help of the scorecard it is possible for companies to systematically measure the current level of happiness in the four areas of employees, customers, business partners and shareholders, to draw conclusions about the success of their own company actions and to take targeted measures to become more successful.

Tip 2: Focus on the strengths of the employees

According to a survey by the Gallup Institute, people are six times more committed to their work if they can focus on their strengths every day. At the same time, they are three times more likely to be satisfied with their life in general. If the executives focus primarily on the weaknesses of the employees, criticize them and look for mistakes, the probability is 22 percent of triggering an inner withdrawal of the employee from his work. If, on the other hand, supervisors concentrate on the strengths of their team members, the probability drops to just one percent that employees will internally distance themselves from their work.

People who cannot bring their talents and skills to work at work are more likely to do so

  • having more negative than positive interactions with their colleagues,

  • to be unfriendly to customers,

  • to present the company negatively to the outside world,

  • to do less a day and

  • experiencing less positive or creative moments.

Tip 3: Pay attention to an appreciative leadership style

An appreciative leadership style will usually set positive development in motion. The reason: What people pay attention to is intensified. So if you are looking for errors, for example, you will find errors and even provoke them. The search for positive aspects in behavior, on the other hand, encourages it.

The advice: hold discussions with employees in a more targeted manner and rely on the element of "person-centeredness": The performance of employees is positively strengthened in order to motivate them for new tasks. The approval by a supervisor has a direct effect on motivation.

As with classic conditioning, praise reinforces good performance. An employee who earns praise for his or her performance is more likely to work harder in the future. Criticism, on the other hand, does not necessarily turn poor performance into better. Often times it gets even worse.

In the area of ​​occupational safety, some companies are now relying on the principle of behavioral based security. If employees adhere to the regulations, this desirable behavior is praised. Companies that use this type of positive reinforcement complain of accidents at work much less frequently than those that merely express criticism.

Tip 4: create creative freedom

The economists Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed the contingency theory for situational leadership. They differentiate between the so-called maturity level of an employee. It comprises two aspects: one factual and one psychological. In factual terms, "mature" employees want responsibility. They develop their skills and specialist knowledge independently. In psychological terms, "mature" employees want to achieve something. You are motivated and committed. If they get too little autonomy and room for maneuver in their activities, this has a negative effect on their feeling of happiness and ultimately also on their motivation. Too much control by the supervisor would be counterproductive. However, there are also people who need guidance in order to feel safe. For them, a lack of control would add to their insecurity and unhappiness.

Tip 5: Pay attention to the relationship level

The so-called "high level of factual orientation" in the German working world creates many problems. That is, the result of a task is often more important than the shaping of the relationship with the people with whom the task is carried out. In Germany it is important to achieve a good result quickly, even if you sometimes have to speak "clear words" or accept direct confrontations. After all, a more informal and socially emphasized culture has found its way into many modern and internationally oriented companies.

Tip 6: create a positive mood

Emotions are always transferred to the interaction partner. In sales training courses, therefore, salespeople are encouraged to signal to their customers that they are in a good mood. Such behavior is carried over and increases the willingness to buy.

Humor and self-irony also contribute to personal well-being. Happiness research has found that self-irony often goes hand in hand with self-respect. Happy people don't take themselves too seriously and see the joyful and fun side of every situation. This joy is contagious and affects the immediate environment. Spontaneity and authenticity are also more common in happy people - they say what they think and feel.

The rule of thumb of the happiness researcher Claire Beazley applies here. Everything you say must meet at least two of the following three criteria: It should be honest, necessary, or friendly. The happiness researcher Elena Pruvli, on the other hand, warns to ignore everything that is sarcastic and poisonous: "Under no circumstances support ridicule, teasing or humiliating jokes at the expense of other cultures with which you are not familiar. Instead, it is better to remember the funny and happy moments in your life. Listen to happy jokes and communicate with positive thinking people. "

  1. Bonuses and recognition from the boss
    A good working atmosphere is the be-all and end-all for a company's success and employee loyalty. Reason enough, as the boss and HR department, to think about employee motivation. Benefit advisor Markus Sobau names the seven greatest employee wishes.
  2. Flexible working hours
    The desire for flexible working hours is particularly pronounced. Every second employee would like to be able to decide for themselves when and how much they work.
  3. Home office
    A third of employees would like to work from home. If the employer pays the costs for the necessary infrastructure for working in the home office, the interest in working from home is even greater.
  4. More gross from net
    Despite all prophecies of doom, a higher salary motivates - preferably if it has a net effect. This can be done elegantly with a company card. Employers can transfer EUR 44 per month to this. The amount is available to the employee as a net benefit in kind. He can go out to eat with it, fill up his car or save the money. Such a benefit is worth more than a pay increase of 100 euros that has to be taxed.
  5. retirement provision
    Many employees would like the boss to help with their retirement provision. Companies should therefore offer a company pension scheme. For contributions that you transfer to the private pension of the employees, proportional social security contributions do not apply. If the boss puts this 20 percent on top as a subsidy, it is also a good investment in the working atmosphere.
  6. Health care
    If the health of its employees is particularly important to a company, company health insurance is a good tip. It saves the employee, for example, the expense of glasses, dentures or alternative practitioner treatment. Advantage for the employer: he can initially take out the insurance for one year, for example as a bonus for successful employees, and extend it later if necessary.
  7. Credit from the boss
    Due to their often large loan volumes and the necessary creditworthiness, companies receive favorable interest rates. They can pass these on to their people. The employee pays four percent to his boss instead of eleven percent overdraft interest at his house bank.
  8. Independent working
    Employees attach importance to the fact that bosses trust them and trust them to carry out the assigned tasks independently. In terms of an agile corporate culture, they want to independently develop tasks on the basis of agreed guard rails such as sales, profit targets or product innovations.

Success comes with luck

If companies manage to integrate happiness into their day-to-day business, the likelihood increases that employees will enjoy coming to work and love their job, that customers will buy from this company in the long term, and that suppliers will do everything possible to work with this company. This not only makes the people who are associated with the company happier, but also more successful.