Happiness in Your Service Organisation

How can organisations begin to address the question of their people’s happiness in the workplace? 
It starts with defining what you believe in as a company. Above and beyond the monetary, your people need to work for a company in which they believe and in which they feel they’re making a relevant contribution. It’s easy for service leaders to forget Stephen Covey’s doctrines when they’re so concerned with EBIT and such measurements, but when he said that fulfillment at work comes from feeling that one’s contribution serves a higher purpose, he hit the mark. Feeling that you are contributing to something greater than yourself is the highest level of motivation. Combining this driver with the motivation afforded by a true leader with whom people can relate – that’s pure alchemy when it comes to fulfillment at work. 

What kind of disciplines lead to people happiness?
Engagement, engagement and engagement! People are your biggest asset so you have to get involved. Ask yourself why your people originally chose to work for you. Was it the money, a superior product you create or your company’s reputation? If you ask your colleagues why they originally chose to work for you, then ask why are they still working for you, you may be surprised by what they say. Their answers will give you a better understanding of where your assets and weaknesses lie.

Happiness at work has to involve every echelon of your company all the way down. Communication is very important, all the way from defining your brand values to defining what is expected of each employee and what they should expect form one another. To do this, job descriptions and competencies need to be clearly defined making sure everybody is in the right position with the right skills and competencies for the job.

For example, in many service organisations managers tend to be people that hail from a technically trained background who have been promoted. A good technician however, may make a bad manager. They may themselves chose to stay in a role owing to the monetary benefits but they may be choosing to stay unhappy. It’s therefore very important to make clear what is expected of one another and to measure, using assessments, whether your people are in the right spot for the job. Assessments, interviews and self-assessments are all means to gage whether your people are in the right place.

Once you know an employee is in the right role, then communicate clearly what is expected of him and can thereafter provide feedback, then you’re creating an open platform promoting satisfaction and ultimately happiness. It’s an ongoing process brining us back to the practice of continual engagement you’re your people.

Why don’t People Development strategies tend to factor in happiness? 
When companies think about people development most tend to look for solid, tangible benefits. They need to know that if they invest in people that it will manifest in a tangible result; ie: training will result in higher customer satisfaction. But happiness simply can’t be quantified in the same way because it is an intangible entity so incentives geared towards making your people happy are far harder to get off the ground. But like any type of relationship, if you don’t invest in it, you’ll drift apart. Nurturing you’re people’s soft skills - their optimism and level of friendliness for example, is difficult to justify to managers and C-Suite. The way to convince them of a tangible benefit is to find means of evaluating development programmes which create fulfillment so you can prove their importance on a high level. 
How can companies evaluate their people’s happiness?
There are a many ways to gage this intangible factor. Measuring employee satisfaction is one, as well as evaluating employee retention rates and levels of employee sick leave or absenteeism. Internal complaints are also good gage. Customer satisfaction rates as well as customer complaints are another. Measuring productivity levels and correlating this to revenue is another means. 
Ultimately, if you want to have more happiness in your company it’s important that you first agree on a well-designed strategy using these measurements to define tangible objectives.
Working towards achieving higher customer satisfaction or lower internal complaints, will help define the preconditions for your people’s happiness! 

Is ‘work harder and cut costs’ the only option?