Happiness Becomes a Strategic Imperative

Comments Off on Happiness Becomes a Strategic Imperative
Happiness Becomes a Strategic Imperative

As of this writing, there are 7.1 million unfilled jobs in the United States, new unemployment claims are at a 48-year low and the U3 unemployment rate is at an 18-year low.  Meanwhile, firms are challenged to achieve results with a multigenerational-workforce consisting of Boomers, Xers, Millennials and the oldest members of Generation-Z.  That means hiring and retention are harder than ever.  And, every firm must reconsider its answers to three perennial questions:

  1. How do we attract the best candidates for our unique needs?
  2. How we effectively retain them? And,
  3. How do we maximize their productivity? 

When we do, practical experience and academic research brings us back to the intuitively obvious answer, we need to make our employees happy.  And when they do, firms discover that this same research and experience provides important insights into how to achieve that objective.

Let’s start by examining employee happiness and its relationship to business productivity.

For answers, we’ll turn first to Professor Thomas Wright of Kansas State University, one of the leading researchers on this topic.  Wright's peer-reviewed research on psychological well-being and job satisfaction has appeared in journals including the Journal of Management, Organizational Dynamics, the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Wright prefers the term “well-being” to the term “happiness.”  Why?  “Happiness” is a broad and subjective word, but a person's well-being is more specific and includes the presence of positive emotions, like joy and interest, and the absence of negative emotions, like apathy and sadness.”

“An excessive negative focus in the workplace can be harmful to employees’ well-being.”  For example, “performance evaluations where negatives, like what an employee failed to do, are the focus of concentration,” Wright said.  On the other hand, “When properly implemented in the workplace environment, positive emotions can enhance employee perceptions of finding meaning in their work.”

Wright also says, “happiness is not only a responsibility to ourselves, but also to our co-workers, who often rely on us to be steadfast and supportive.  In addition, Employee well-being affects the organization overall.  Studies have shown that after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, job tenure and educational attainment level, psychological well-being still is significantly related to job performance...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund