What Is Workplace Happiness?

I am a big believer in the famous Confucius quote: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” And I dare to say that most people wish they loved their jobs so much that work wouldn’t actually feel like, well, work. Instead, work would be something that they enjoy, something that they look forward to, and something that they feel passionate about. Something, that makes them happy.

Choosing a career or a profession that fits one’s interests and competencies is the first step toward happiness at work and each and every one of us are responsible for choosing wisely. However, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 (Chapter 6. Happiness at Work), less than 20% of the European workforce feel actively engaged with their work. Engaged is defined as “being positively absorbed by their work and fully committed to advancing the organization’s interests”. In North America, Australia and New Zealand this percentage is slightly higher but still well under 30%. Furthermore, it was also found in the study that the respondents would rather engage in 38 other activities than work, the only activity rated lower than working was being sick.

These numbers are actually quite shocking and I find it hard to believe that all these people would have picked a career that is not the right one for them. No, I believe that a lot of these folks are doing exactly what they are meant to be doing, but it is the organization that they work for that is not making them feel engaged, or even making them miserable at work. Maybe they don’t feel appreciated for what they do, maybe they were never given the tools that they need to succeed in their tasks, or maybe they even have a toxic supervisor or coworker. Whatever the reason, it is our responsibility as HR specialists, team leaders, and small business owners to solve the issues and make sure that our talent is happy when they work for us.

Y’all might be thinking now, “sure, I want my employees to be happy. And as a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure they already are. I mean, we pay competitive salaries, organize monthly team buildings, and we have our own hashtag, #lifeatourcompany!” Sure, all these things are great and they can and should form a part of your employee experience strategy. However, none of these things on their own are enough to create a happy workplace and they may even feel ironic to your team if there are other, more fundamental issues in the organization.

So what is workplace happiness, then? True workplace happiness is about creating positive candidate and employee experiences to people who love what they do.

Note that there are two parts to that definition, creating positive candidate and employee experiences and people who love what they do. Let’s start with the later, people who love what they do. This is actually the first step toward workplace happiness and brings us back to the Confucius quote. I believe that every company should only hire people who love what they do. If you hire an introvert to a PR role that requires them to constantly meet new people, the chances are that this person is not going to be very happy in the role and there will be very little you can do about it. The other part of the definition, creating positive candidate and employee experiences, refers to attracting and retaining the people who love what they do. There are so many other companies out there competing for the same talent that you need to make sure that this talent chooses to work for your organization. And believe me, if you are able to create an outstandingly positive candidate and employee experience, they will choose you.

Creating a happier workplace is not something that you can change in one night with a couple of team building activities. Creating a truly happy workplace takes a lot of time and effort, and it requires the long-term commitment of the key people in your organization: top management, department leaders, and HR. The Happy Works’s purpose is to help you by proving you the tools that you need in order to create a truly happy workplace.

Next time, we will be covering how workplace happiness can benefit your organization. Stay tuned by following The Happy Works on LinkedIn or by clicking “follow” in the footer to get the new posts straight to your inbox!

unsplash-logoArnel Hasanovic

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