Happiness isn’t just for Christmas

Over the last month I have been amazed to witness how many companies are getting the basics of people management so badly wrong.  Particularly during the season of ‘good will’.  One company I heard, had told staff attending client Christmas functions taking pace during the working day, that they had to make the time up later.  Didn’t they realise that their staff were doing vital work forging relationships with their customers during this time?  How mean can an organisation get?  I don’t really want to have a pop at the accountants here, but that does look a little bit like the balance sheet ruling the business!  The staff were obviously a little miffed, certainly the ones I spoke to had lost a lot of ‘good will’ for their employer. At least three were considering leaving the company.  If they do that, it will cost far more than a few staff taking an afternoon out of the office to socialise with clients.  Add to this the reduced morale.  How will these staff perform next year?

This particular example got me thinking about a talk I was fortunate enough to hear earlier this year by Henry Stewart.  Henry runs a company called Happy, what a great name.  The company philosophy is that if people are happy they perform better.  So how did Henry quantify this?  Research by Alex Edmands looking at the last 25 years of the Great Places to Work Survey, shows that companies on this list continually outperform others.  What Alex discovered was that if you had invested in the general stock market and in 25 years your portfolio was worth £100,000 it would be worth £233,000 if you had invested in the companies only on the Great Places to Work list.

In this short blog it is not possible to cover all that Henry said.  But the basics are so fundamental to management it is difficult to see why we have lost them.  Henry suggests that the role of managers is to keep people happy.  This doesn’t mean playrooms, bean bags and fun games. It is more about attitude.  At some point we have all come across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow suggested that the most basic level of needs (the bottom of the triangle) must be met before individual can progress to the secondary or higher level needs (wikipedia).


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Henry suggests a very similar approach to managing people in his Pyramid of Management Needs.  Working from the same principal as Maslow the bottom of the Pyramid are the basic fundamentals.  Interestingly reward is the most basic and trust is at the top.  Average organisations meet the first three tiers and happy high performing organisations also meet the top three tiers.

Management Needs
Henry’s Hierarchy of Management

In 2016 why not make a choice to make the people who work for you happy.  It takes a bit of thought and a lot of courage, but if the evidence is anything to go by, it has great rewards.

Let’s make 2016 HAPPY.

Main image courtey of Thomas Iapperre

Happiness isn’t just for Christmas