The working population's mental health has recently been in the headlines in Finland. Big national media outlets such as Yle News and Helsingin Sanomat have reported on increased burnouts among the Finns and the most recent statistics by Kela (the Finnish Social Insurance Institution) show that mental health issues have become the most common reason for sick leaves.
Happiness at work is trendy right now. It is trendy to post images from an office with bean bag chairs and a pool table. It is trendy to share the pictures from a company holiday party or a lunch with the team. It is trendy to tell everyone on LinkedIn how much you care about your employees, their happiness, growth, and work-life balance.
The first few months of employment are crucial to a new employee's future at a company. Previous research has shown that employee turnover in the first 45 days could reach 20%. That means that 1 out of 5 employees quit within their first month and a half in the new job.
Since we spend most of our waking hours at work, how we feel during that time really has an impact on our overall well-being. Our professional and personal lives are not separate from each other and we cannot switch our mood like a light switch. If we are miserable for 8+ hours every day, chances are we feel drained and down in our free time, as well.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” This quote is so widely cited all over the internet that you have probably seen it more than once and you already know who said it. That's right, it was Sir Richard Branson, the Founder of the Virgin Group.
Anyone who has ever hired a new employee in their team knows how difficult finding the right person can be. Not only does the newcomer need to meet the technical requirements of the role but they also need to fit in your company culture and get along with the rest of the team. Indeed, finding the right candidate takes time and costs money to your organization.
Several companies offer their employees something labeled as "team building activities", just look at almost any job advertisement or any company's social media feeds. These activities can vary from meals to happy hours to sports activities where the team spends time together outside of the workplace. After the event, the company posts pictures on their social media accounts to show others how much fun their employees have together, in hopes of attracting potential new talent.
Cultural fit is one of the main building blocks of employee happiness. Not even an above-average salary, free lunches, or other perks can make up for a poor fit between an employee's values and your company culture. In fact, when it comes to attracting and keeping the right people in the long-term, money alone is rarely the main factor.