job satisfaction

What Brings You the Greatest Joy?

 “What do you do?” a new acquaintance asked me the other day. “I’m in the business of changing people’s lives,” I replied.

“Tell me more,” he smiled. “I use co-active coaching, positive psychology and the science of happiness to help people become healthier, more productive and to flourish,” I said.

I followed up by asking him what in his life brings him the greatest joy. “My partner,” he replied. “She is an amazing woman, and we have a wonderful relationship. Every day is a new adventure, and I cherish our every moment together.”

“What would it be like if you could have that passion in other areas of you life—in your career, for example?” I invited him to explore. “It would be great!” he replied. “I’ve never really thought that could be possible. The place I work at is so miserable. While I try to stay positive, there is so much negativity around me when I’m there. I don’t think I can make lemonade out of the lemons I’ve been given at Blankety-Blank Company.”

Isn’t that the way so many people feel? And what a shame. The thing is, each person has the option to control a good deal of his or her own happiness. Here’s where the science of happiness at work comes in. Because we can measure the key drivers of happiness at work (contribution, conviction, commitment, culture, confidence—coupled with trust, recognition and pride), we can focus in on the areas that need a boost. My business, Capiche, does this with individual coaching and team workshops. The results are impressive—both for the individuals and for the company. Individuals gain greater confidence, creativity, energy and job satisfaction. The company gains longer-term employees with 100% greater productivity who take ten times less sick leave, provide better customer service, make more accurate and better decisions, and are better team players.

Are you interested? I’d love to explore how the science of happiness can work for you. I invite you to contact me for a 30-minute sample coaching session to explore your personal happiness—either as it pertains to work or anything else. If you are a team leader and want to explore how your team can be happier, contact me for a free team happiness at work report that shows where your team could use a boost. Nothing to lose. No obligations. No kidding! I’m in the business of changing people’s lives. chris@capiche.us or 541-601-0114

 

Friday
29
June 2012
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Why Happiness at Work Trumps Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction

Last Friday, I had another chance to share the benefits of happiness at work – this time with 20 members of the Douglas County, OR, Society for Human Resource Management. There was a diverse group of organizations represented – from Roseburg Forest Products, the News Review, Umpqua Dairy Products and Ingram Book Company to the Umpqua Indian Development Corp.

As defined, happiness at work is a mindset that allows you to maximize your performance and achieve your potential.

During the two hours we shared, there was discussion about the difference between happiness at work, employee engagement and job satisfaction. Fortunately, I am familiar with recent research on just that topic, so I shared the latest facts.

The concepts are related, yet very different different. One thing is certain: happiness at work is a stronger predictor of performance than engagement or satisfaction. And that’s important because performance is what you really want on the job. Here’s the paradox: people who report high levels of happiness at work also report high job satisfaction and high engagement. But people with high engagement or job satisfaction are not always happy.

How can that be? You might be strongly self-motivated and power through the challenges at work (high engagement), but you may not be happy. Nor will you be satisfied with your job. (In fact, this is often the situation with executives. And this is a good predictor of intention to quit.) This suggests that happiness at work is a bigger and more important concept than employee engagement or job satisfaction. We know the drivers of happiness at work, and we can measure them quite accurately for individuals and teams. Job satisfaction and engagement don’t lend themselves to such definitive measurement. These two concepts are more closely tied to organizational attitudes that are extremely hard to interpret or influence. These typical questions illustrate this point: “My manager helps me engage with my work” and “As an employee, how satisfied are you with your work?” Engagement and job satisfaction are typically seen as driven by the top down. I believe that happiness at work is a joint responsibility of managers and employees.

Keep in mind that job satisfaction and engagement are older concepts that were developed in the ’60s and ’70s when the workplace was very different. They are based on research that occurred inside organizations whose structures were more hierarchical and had more of a command and control approach. This doesn’t jibe in today’s flatter, lean-and-mean organizations that rely more on knowledge work.

Happiness at work takes the traditional measures of employee engagement and job satisfaction to a deeper and more practical place, with outcomes of greater performance, leading to higher levels of productivity and profits.

 

 

Sunday
12
February 2012
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Is Anyone Sick of Happiness at Work? I’m Not, and Here’s Why

Happiness at work is a big topic these days. I spoke to a packed room at the Medford Rotary about it just last week. Even with unemployment still looming large, most people are carrying 150% or more of the workload they were hired for. Companies are cutting their workforce without lowering the expected output. Someone needs to pick up the slack. How can employees stay positive and how can a company justify investing in workforce engagement programs?

How can they not? 

The billboard you see above is posted all over the San Francisco Bay area. There are many terrific books on happiness at work, and more and more articles continue to be published as the research continues. Just Google “happiness at work” and you will find articles in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business ReviewPsychology Today, etc. There is even a great LinkedIn group that I belong to called ‘Happy at Work.’ Check it out!

According to one of my favorite happiness gurus, Shawn Achor, “Nearly every company in the world gives lip service to the idea that ‘our people are our greatest asset’. Yet when the Conference Board Survey came out last year, employees were the unhappiest they have been in their 22 years of tracking job satisfaction rates. Around the same time, CNNMoney reported a survey that indicated 84% of Americans are unhappy with their current job. Mercer’s “What’s Working” survey found that one in three US employees are serious about leaving their current jobs.”

Why is this lack of happiness at work important? Job satisfaction is not only the key predictor of turnover rates. In The Happiness Advantage, former Harvard University professor Achor makes the research case for the fact that the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce. A decade of research proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements. Yet even those companies that do take leadership training seriously still ignore the role that happiness plays in leadership effectiveness.

So the secret is out! Happiness, job satisfaction and fulfillment, and employee engagement are WIN-WIN situations for employees and employers. How does your company invest in yours?

(Photo credit to: Anne Espiritu – Google+ http://bit.ly/pElTPu.)

Sunday
22
January 2012
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If Happiness Drives Performance, How Do I Get Happy at Work?

In Happiness at Work: Maximizing your Psychological Capital for Success (2010), author Jessica Pryce-Jones takes her research with more than 3,000 respondents from 79 countries and gets to the heart of what drives happiness and (this is so cool!) found that happiness drives performance.

Happiness at work is defined by Pryce-Jones as a mindset that allows individuals and organizations to maximize performance and achieve their potential. This happens during the highs and low—when working alone or in teams. By mindfully making the best use of the resources you have, you overcome challenges. This not only builds your happiness but also that of others—who will be affected and energized by what you do.

Happiness predicts employee time on task, intent to stay in job, sick time, motivation, engagement, satisfaction, self-belief, and respect for self and others. The Performance-Happiness Model, which was developed based on the above research, has been successfully applied in more than 8,000 cases.

The Performance-Happiness Model

Performance Happiness Model VAt the center of the Performance-Happiness Model is believing that you are achieving your potential. This is important because that belief makes you happy, and the statistics around happy versus unhappy employees are staggering.

Pryce-Jones’ research (2010) shows that the happiest employees compared to their least happy colleagues:

  • are 47% more productive;
  • take on average 1.5 sick days per year compared to the United States average of 6 days per year (in the public sector the sick days range from 11 to 20 days per year);
  • are 108% more engaged;
  • are 50% more motivated;
  • have 180% more energy;
  • have 82% more job satisfaction;
  • are 25% more efficient and effective; and
  • have 25% more self-belief (pp. 28 – 29).

The five strong factors important to achieving your potential at work are the 5Cs: contribution, conviction, culture, commitment, and confidence. Three vital sub-themes giving additional perspective of happiness are trust, recognition, and pride.

Stay tuned as I explore the 5Cs, trust, recognition, and pride in upcoming blogs. And please share examples from your workplace on how you’ve seen the Happiness-Performance Model in action.

 

References

Pryce-Jones, J. (2010). Happiness at work: Maximizing your psychological capital for success. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

 

 

Monday
19
September 2011
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