Do Happy Employees Create A Competitve Advantage?
There is scientific evidence that happiness brings physical, mental, and emotional rewards. A body of research indicates that happy people live longer and they are more productive. Companies are beginning to understand how happy employees can create a competitive advantage.
Happiness physically changes who we are. According to neuropsychologists Rick Hanson and Dr. Richard Mendius, "Happiness actually changes our brain. The simple truth is how we focus our attention, how we intentionally direct the flow of energy and information through our neural circuits, can directly alter the brain's activity and its structure."
Hanson and Mendius say we need to focus on positive experiences rather than negative ones because they affect the brain.
In her book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance At Work, Gretchen Rubin says that success doesn't lead to happiness; happiness leads to success "in nearly every domain, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy."
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, an online retailer, grew the company from no sales in 1999 to more than $1 billion, says happiness is a serious matter. He says that creating a corporate culture of fun and happiness is responsible for their success and it is also his No. 1 priority. In his book, Delivering Happiness, Hseih says "if you get the culture right most of the other stuff-like creating great customer service or building a great long-term brand or passionate employees and customers-will happen naturally on their own." Zappos takes happiness seriously, and Hseih says happiness creates a more positive work environment.
According to Rubin, "Making little changes in your ordinary day can have a dramatic impact on the happiness you feel on an everyday basis. The smallest things make the biggest difference." She says simple, every day actions bring us closer to happiness.
- Sing in the shower.
- Laugh out loud.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Spend money on experiences, not things.
- Find something to look forward to.
- Practice random acts of kindness.
- Take time for a hobby.
- Complete a nagging task.
- Embrace your social network.
Creating a happy work culture is rapidly becoming the new corporate initiative in many organizations. Beside the obvious benefits of happy people, companies are recognizing that happy employees are also more productive--they improve the bottom line.