Happiness is defined in the English dictionary as a state of well-being and contentment, or a pleasurable or satisfying experience, while work on the other hand is defined as activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something or the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood.
There are huge benefits to be derived from happy employees which begins with contentment, or a pleasurable or satisfying experience around activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something.
It is therefore vital for a leader to understand how to make sure employees enjoy their work so much that it almost seems effortless. Benefits include increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, increased collaboration and increased innovation and lead to increased sales, something vitally important in our tough economic climate.
Professor David Ulrich believes that those leaders who understand how to achieve sustained engagement will have employees who are seven times more likely to report high satisfaction at work and twice as likely to be satisfied with their pay. He calls such leaders, ‘meaning makers’.
In essence, meaning makers are concerned with ‘emotion’ and not just ‘motion’. Motion focuses on behaviors and actions; emotion focuses on passion and meaning. Motion is what we do; emotion is why we do it. Motion gets things done while the leader is present; emotion sustains behavior in the leader’s absence. Leaders in motion differ from leaders who connect with emotion.
Ulrich’s research has proved that leaders who are meaning makers also increase employee productivity, organization capability, and investor confidence. Leaders who only master the leadership basics can set strategy, execute for results, manage people, develop future people, and have personal credibility. However if these basics are not woven around a sense of meaning or well-being, they are stale. Leaders can bring passion to strategy, execution, talent, human capital and personal proficiency when they bring meaning into these tasks.
More importantly though, making meaning makes money. Over a 10 year period “best companies to work for” have a 6,8% stock appreciation versus 1% of the average firm. Additionally, only 13% of disengaged employees would recommend their company’s products or services, compared with 78% of engaged employees.