The Real Value Of Happiness At Work

When leaders create workplaces with these characteristics, their people feel like they can grow, develop, and thrive in their work.

Many people believe that once they reach a certain level of success or money then, they will automatically become happy. At Confetti, we believe this scenario should be reversed. We believe it's important to become happy, which will then help you come a success.


I recently went to a networking convention and without saying too much about what it is that I do, I decided to challenge CEO's of new and established startups on the question of whether they think that their employees happiness is important to them. It was unfortunate for me to hear their initial reaction of "Don't know, Don't Care"...I get it...I understand, you're a growing startup. The to-do list grows exponentially faster than your 'completed' list, people are quitting faster than you remember their name, things are changing, things are moving and there is simply no time for anything else other than w-o-r-k.


But, let's imagine a scenario where your employees got your to-do list done quicker. What if your turnover decreased dramatically and your employees became your brand sponsor whether they're at work or not? Would you stop to listen on how this can be accomplished?


It’s important to organizations for employees to be happy, and not just for the employees themselves. Take some of the leading companies of today and take a look at their offices: Google, Amazon, GE, you name it. Is it a coincidence that all of them participate in events and activities that aren't directly related to their work? Why does a company as smart as Google provide free food, yoga classes and eyebrow shaping just steps away from their employee's office? You and I both know that its not because their cash tank is so big they have nothing else better to do.


The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged workforce. With social revolutions going on all over the world, happiness as a concept is still poorly understood (especially inside and outside of the workplace). We're looking to change that.


We want to start by helping employees fulfill their potential by better understanding themselves and the role of social support at work. The key to remember is that giving support is even better than receiving it. We need to break down stigmas of how little social support we feel from managers, coworkers and start focusing our brains resources upon how we can increase the amount of social support we provide to the people in our lives. The greatest predictor of success and happiness at work is social support. Now, rose-colored glasses will not help, but an optimistic brain will help your team overcome the biggest challenges.


Everyone at work can consciously help themselves to thrive more. Some basic fundamentals like eating a balanced diet, taking breaks and managing energy by sleeping well is one way to help improve your company's social support.


Gretchen Spreitzer, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and her coauthors delineate this concept in their paper “Thriving at Work: Toward Its Measurement, Construct Validation, and Theoretical Refinement”. They found that the way people engaged in their work had an effect on how well they thrived.

“When individuals engage their work in a way that helps others, learn new things, and find meaning in their work, they report higher levels of thriving,” she says. “So the challenge is for individuals to find ways to craft their work so they have more relational connections, more chances to try new things, and can see more of the impact in what they do.”

This research suggests that leaders can create the kind of workplaces that can help people thrive.

Spreitzer says, “Leaders can (1) provide their people with more opportunities for decision making discretion, (2) share more information about the organization, its strategy, and competitors, (3) set and reinforce norms that promote civil and respectful behavior, and (4) offer performance feedback, especially about what is going well.

When leaders create workplaces with these characteristics, their people feel like they can grow, develop, and thrive in their work.” Fully engaged, thriving employees finish the day not depleted but, Spreitzer contends, “with energy for their family life, hobbies, and community service.”

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