To unlock the secrets behind empowering, engaging and motivating your entire workforce of both permanent and temporary staff, you need to harness the power of happiness. We want to show you the three key areas in your organisation which, with a little bit of work, can transform employee happiness and boost overall productivity.
Having a productive workforce is an aspect of the business world that many companies struggle with, no doubt in part, because the term ‘productivity’ can be misleading and its meaning is somewhat ambiguous.
The classic productivity definition is “a way to measure the efficiency in which tasks and goals are completed for the company.”
“Productivity is the measure of how well resources are brought together to accomplish a set of results. Productivity is the name of reaching the higher level of performance with the least expenditure of resources”. (Mali, 2008, in Okoye, P. & Ezejiofor, R.,2013)1
Myth: Speed is productivity
In control management, productivity is defined as the rate at which goods or services are produced by a standard population of workers.
This idea that ‘the rate at which goods or services are produced’ creates the fallacy that working faster equals increased productivity. But anyone who can remember doing their homework in the playground before school, can testify that faster can also mean rushed. Is your organisation truly productive if your product is returned due to faults, or if you lose customers due to a lack of quality customer service?
Myth: If we are busy, we are productive
In an office environment we can look upon the individual who is constantly moving through tasks, pushing deadlines and who is seemingly trapped under a pile of duties that seems to grow each day, as the harder worker or the most productive staff member. But being busy is not the same as being productive.
If this same member of staff works to Mali’s or Duhigg's definition of productivity, they won’t be chasing deadlines or running five steps behind on everything they need to get done in a day, week, month or year. It’s quite the contrary; they will be ahead of schedule - consistently producing high quality, thorough work that meets the objective.
What is productivity?
Productivity is not just about how fast we work or how much we can produce.
True productivity is built from effectiveness (producing the right products or services), efficiency (prudent utilisation of resources) and quality (meeting technical and customer specifications or requirements).
Developing individual productivity is where our efforts should be concentrated because individual productivity contributes to group productivity, which in turn, contributes to organisational productivity.
Productivity and Happiness
Workforce happiness is not only a route to productivity, it is also the key to employee retention, loyalty, quality and even customer satisfaction. It is a powerful emotion that should be developed and protected. The ‘Happiness Pie’ model by Lyubomirsky et al.2 explains that how happy we are comes down to three main factors:
- 50% Genetic - who we are - our genes.
- 10% Environment - the circumstances in which we live.
- 40% Process - how we act and think.
We can’t make people be happy, we can however, create an environment in which happiness can thrive. These three types of happiness which we experience, provide insight into the areas where change could have the maximum effect:
- Happiness experienced from being absorbed in a task and being carried along on the current.
- Happiness created through channeling your beliefs and your skills into something purposeful.
- Happiness derived from experiences, relationships and social interactions.
“Work and career is a great path to happiness”
- Sigmund Freud
Using this knowledge to increase happiness and boost productivity in your team.
This knowledge provides the key to unlocking happiness at work through developing three fundamental areas, direction, environment and authenticity.
Three ways to boost productivity in your team.
1 - DIRECTION - ensure that everyone knows what they are doing and why.
- Do your staff understand that their work has a purpose?
- Do you encourage their passion for a shared vision of success?
- Do your staff know how they can progress, improve and achieve?
- Do you empower your staff to take ownership of their responsibilities and learning objectives?
- Do you celebrate small wins to increase mood, efficiency and effectiveness?
- Do you find positives or lessons learned from failures and highlight elements of success?
- Do you communicate how their work has affected a corporate objective over- and-above their own department i.e., new sales accounts, targets and KPIs?
2 - ENVIRONMENT - create an environment that fosters happiness through positivity, creativity and collaboration.
- Do you start and end meetings with positives?
- Do you train your staff in techniques for managing workloads and reducing burnout?
- Do you encourage the proactive use of days off for hobbies, fun and adventure?
- Do your leaders model the behaviours you want to encourage?
- Is this a nice space to work in? Is there green space, natural light, colour? It is equally important to establish a pleasant desk environment when working from home.
- Do your staff display a sense of belonging, team spirit and familial ties?
- Do your staff have access to all of the tools they require to succeed in their roles?
- Do you provide opportunities for staff to socialise outside of working hours, or on lunch breaks?
3 - AUTHENTICITY - foster psychological safety to establish trust between staff and leaders.
- Do you provide clear boundaries for both wanted and unwanted behaviours?
- Do all staff (temp & perm) know that their opinion is sought and that their voice will be heard?
- Do you find ways to show appreciation regularly?
- Do you have staff from all levels and departments who embody key values and behaviours who could become ambassadors?
- Do you provide feedback on a 3:1 positive to negative ratio? Barbara Fredrickson, (2005)3
- Do you foster psychological safety by modelling and encouraging curiosity and questions? Do you communicate that learning is as important as outcome?
Applying these to temporary workforces.
The belief that temporary workers negatively affect productivity mostly comes from a misunderstanding, or misalignment of the term productivity and a disregard for the other factors that could be contributing to a productivity decline when temporary workforces are utilised. These factors could include a lack of training, misappropriation of skills, little effort to immerse temporary workers in the company culture, or a complete disregard for their overall happiness.
Successfully employing temporary staff relies on knowing that your entire workforce is the key to achieving your organisation’s overall objectives. Along with understanding the importance of maximising the effectiveness of each temporary member of staff throughout their short time with the company.
Through establishing the very best environment, creating an atmosphere in which a positive, happy mindset can thrive, plus ensuring trust and authenticity, you can unlock happiness for all your staff, (regardless of their contract type) and maximise their effectiveness - whether it is for just thirty days or for thirty years.
In this series we are looking to unlock the secrets behind empowering, engaging and motivating your entire workforce with the power of happiness. Although they are often under-represented within existing productivity and business development guidance, Blue Arrow believes that temporary workers are an integral part of the wider workforce driving businesses - so to find out more about how you can use happiness to improve productivity throughout your entire organisation, click here.
- Okoye, P. & Ezejiofor, R. (2013). Effect of Human Resource Development on Organizational Productivity. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences 3(10) 250– 268. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271146740_The_Effect_of_Human_Resources_Development_on_Organizational_Productivity.
- Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon M. Sheldon, David Schkade (2005 )The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology 2005. Vol.9. No 2. pp 111-131. Accessed January 2020 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1037/1089-2618.104.22.168
- Fredrickson & Losada (2005). Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing. American Psychologist Vol 60(7) 678-686.