I wish it were that easy. It is that important.
Over the course of my career I’ve noticed that when people are happy they tend to perform better at their work. Because we all tend to spend the majority of our time (waking hours at least) at work, when I’m happy and the work is satisfying and fulfilling, I tend to spend even more time at the office and get more done. I don’t think I’m alone.
In an article she wrote for CNN Money, Linda Mignone suggests, “Aside from it sounding sensible, recent studies have demonstrated that the happier a worker is, the more productive they will be on the job. While an employee may appear engaged in their work, they may not be as effective as they could be if they were happy.”
Knowing this should help us better lead and engage the people we work with on project teams. “People who are happy at work put in far more effort, work longer hours, and are more productive than those who aren’t,” continues Mignone. “They remain at their jobs twice as long and they work 25% more time than an unhappy employee works.”
If that is truly the case, it appears that creating an environment where people are happy could be a very good strategy for increasing profitability in an economic environment where organizations are trying to squeeze every little bit of productivity they can out of people.
I think there is a relationship between happiness and engagement. In my experience, most people have a real desire (dare I say need) to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Earlier this year Modern Survey spoke to 1,000 working adults, releasing a report titled, Employee Engagement in the U.S. Workforce. You might find it interesting to know that those folks who could answer the question, “Does your company have a clear set of values that people know about and understand?” are 17 times more likely to be fully engaged than those who answered “no”. I suggest that they are a lot happier too.
It seems simple enough. Make sure everyone is aware of the value of their contributions. Maybe it’s even too simple. However I’m convinced that it’s the first step to a happy and engaged workforce.
Maybe we should be asking our project teams the same kinds of questions asked by Modern Survey to determine how our project teams feel:
- Does your company have a clear set of values that people know and understand?
- Do you understand the value to your organization of the project you’re currently working on?
- How is this articulated to you?
Mignone suggests (and I agree), “When employees feel like they have some control over the work they are doing and when they feel like they’re making progress, they are generally happier and more productive, and these feelings are amplified when employees are part of a team. A team makes bigger, bolder, richer sound, with more layers, like an orchestra. And the richest sounds come when the team feels they are part of something big; a big idea, a vision.”
Is it important to create an environment within the project team were individuals can be engaged and happy? I sure think so. What are you doing to create that kind of environment?