As it appeared in the Daily Nation on December 27th 2016
How happy have you been in 2016? Are you happy at your workplace? Early in my career, I interacted with a happiness coach JoAnna Brandi. What stood out for me was JoAnna’s outlook about the link between happiness and customer service. Many of us have heard the notion happy employees equals happy customers. What is unique about JoAnna perspective is that she delves deeper into the relationship between positivity at work and profitability. Her equation sums happy employees and happy customers to be equal to thriving companies.
JoAnna recognizes that we live in a predominantly negative world; therefore, positivity at the workplace does not “just happen. Indeed, this is evident in many employee surveys that I have been part of. Many staff blame their state of unhappiness at work to many factors. We blame the pay, the management, the workload, the demanding customers and the like as the reasons for our unhappiness. Unfortunately, many of us do not see our individual responsibility in making happiness at work a reality. The focus is too much more on the responsibility of others in creating our happiness at work. Do we have a personal responsibility to be happy at work and in life?
Happiness at work and in life is important. Without a happy workforce, it is difficult to have positive customer experiences. Happy employees interact more smoothly with each other and with customers. Repeatedly, studies have found out that happy employees are more creative and more productive. Happiness simply seen as the state of being happy is considered to add value to life. Happiness is defined with many words such as joyfulness, contentment, delight, good spirits, cheerfulness etc. We know when we are happy and we know when we are feel unhappy.
Harvard Professors have done some of the most popular studies on happiness. One such study is said to have revealed the secret of happiness. The Harvard Grant study is termed as the longest study on happiness because it was conducted over 75 years. It revealed the role of healthy relationships in making happiness a reality. Robert Waldinger in a Ted Talk outlining the study says that we can be happier if we lean more into relationships with family, friends and with community. Other studies have revealed that happiness is a choice that comes when we do good for others, do things that we are good at and do good for ourselves such as staying physically, financially and emotionally fit. This means that is important for us to choose to be happy in life and work and strengthen how we relate with others. Dan Gilbert, a Psychologist and happiness expert says that we can still feel truly happy even when things do not go as planned if we choose to remain positive.
Business leaders and managers also have a key responsibility in driving happiness at the workplace. I believe this starts with making the right recruitment decisions by hiring people who have a positive outlook in life. The staff on-boarding process should also aim at making the new hires welcome, comfortable and make the expectations clear. Leaders have a responsibility of inspiring their followers, they need to keep the staff informed, engaged and energized. Let us all play an active role in promoting happiness and making happiness our reality in days to come!
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy