Happy employees are more productive- by at least 12%, according to a survey conducted by the University of Warwick. It makes sense. There’s more to being happy than simply being paid a regular salary and receiving the occasional workplace perk. Job satisfaction comes from positive emotions and feeling good about the work we’re doing, and that feel-good factor has to come from the top.

Additional research has demonstrated time and time again that leaders play a pivotal role in employees’ motivation levels and overall happiness. It all comes down to being authentic; acting ethically, showing integrity, inspiring and being true to your values. Quite simply, if you want to create a happy workplace, you have to lead by example.

Of course we all have good days and bad days, and nobody can expect you to be happy 100% of the time. But behavior breeds behavior, and if you’re walking around the place with a face like thunder, motivation levels will crash. Nobody wants to work or a tyrant, and although it’s not always appropriate to become the best of buddies with your team, it’s essential that you show humility and empathy and that people feel they can trust you.

A survey conducted by the UK’s Institute of Leadership and Management showed that 50% of leaders allowed their moods to affect their workplaces. Another 40% showed regular favoritism, and one in five said they didn’t see the point of building trust with colleagues and staff. Bad managers can ruin a workplace by not keeping their own behavior and moods in check or creating an environment where people feel stifled and undervalued.

A separate study by Robert Half revealed that employees ranked a sense of pride, fairness, respect and being appreciated as the things factors that made them feel happiest at work. Half of the respondents said that being able to take pride in their work was more important than high salaries and flexibility. 37% of people said they would be happier to accept a lower paid job if they felt more valued and could feel proud to work there.

Generally speaking, people do want to work hard and to please their managers. Despondency and disloyalty tend to happen when morale drops and people feel undervalued. Work isn’t meant to be easy all of the time and challenging days can bring teams closer together- and if you’re willing to roll your sleeves up and muck in your staff will love you for it.

The happies workplaces are those where employees are given the chance to demonstrate their skills and progress in their careers. Getting on with colleagues is also an important factor, so when you’re recruiting think about your workforce as a whole and how new people will fit into that dynamic.

Good business leaders understand that workplace happiness has a significant impact on productivity and profits. By creating a positive culture and making employees feel valued, listened to and challenged you can watch your employee satisfaction levels soar.

For more information about how to create a positive workplace, contact Ethos today.

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