Employee Happiness

The 2017 World Happiness Report compiled data collected from people in over 150 countries to study happiness around the world. The report, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, found that although simply having gainful employment had the greatest impact on work-related happiness, there are also numerous other factors—such as work-life balance, co-worker support, and being actively engaged—that impact employee happiness. The report also cited research that suggests that work and employment are drivers of happiness, and that happiness itself can help shape job-market outcomes and productivity, thus having an effect on overall company performance.

The best thing about employee happiness is–it’s contagious!

Researchers at Gallup discovered that collective well-being and happiness in the workplace positively correlates with productivity, loyalty, and employee health. The well-being of each employee within a department can also enhance–or reduce–another team member’s sense of well-being.

If “happy” employees translate into productive and engaged employees, it stands to reason that increasing employee happiness will have a positive impact on an organization’s wellbeing. But according to the 2016 Sanofi report Have We Reached A Crossroads, only 51 percent of employers offer wellness programs, which is up only marginally from 47 percent in 2012. Even more discouraging is that 69 percent of employers do not plan to invest more in wellness or happiness programs over the next year. 

Part of the problem may be that employers don’t know what else can be done. A majority of employers already offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and yet, Canadian employee happiness is on the decline. EAPs are a successful tool offering counselling and other support services, but what about a more proactive approach? What if there was a way to facilitate employee happiness on a daily basis, with quarterly progress and productivity reporting, while still keeping employers at arm’s length?

Have we found an answer? 

Plasticity Labs (www.plasticitylabs.com), located in Kitchener-Waterloo, has created an online engagement platform to help employers identify, track, and improve employee happiness. This happiness-mandated tech company has designed interfaces that are capable of extracting productivity data for benchmarking directly from a company’s databases. This capability can greatly reduce an employer’s management time, while facilitating accurate reporting on the positive impact of the employer’s “happiness services”.

Plasticity Labs gives employers the tools required to become “Compassionate Capitalists”, helping unlock happiness at work using insights, training, and community building.

  • Plasticity Insights measures and reports on the health, happiness, and performance of employees
  • Plasticity PATH™ puts those insights into action, training healthier habits with short, fun, micro-training activities; artificial intelligence acts as a personal coach, allowing employers maintain distance;  aggregate result reporting guarantees the confidentially of employee responses 

Plasticity Community combines social collaboration through group activities to help develop higher-performing thriving company culture.

Employee engagement is a key factor in productivity and there is a direct relationship between the level of happiness and number of sick days/presentism and overall satisfaction. According to a recent Gallup survey, 87 percent of employees are not engaged, which costs companies billions of dollars in reduced productivity.

Maybe it’s time to try a new approach?

What do we have to lose?  Employee wellness and happiness—not employee satisfaction—are the key indicator of an organization’s success. Topping up salaries may have a temporary impact on employee happiness,  but an unhappy or disengaged employee will soon revert back to unhealthy behaviors and feelings if all else remains unchanged. Any investment used for salary increases would be better spent on a wellness or happiness program, that will have lasting effects on employees, their families, and eventually, on Canadians overall.

For more information on wellness and happiness resources, please contact Lianne Clarke, Senior Consultant, Wellness, Health and Disability at The Williamson Group—A Cowan Company, LClarke@williamsongroup.com.