By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor
Who could ever argue against happiness? Now, not even the toughest hides on Wall Street can argue against it, for the case between happiness and profit has been made. For proof, readers need look no further than Google, the Internet search and advertising giant, and Patagonia, the outdoor clothing supplier.
Both are often cited by magazine and employment surveys as being among the most pleasant places in America to work.
Their numbers prove it. For every open position at Google, 1,300 job applications come pouring in. At Patagonia, it's 800 applications for every open position, according to Carol A. Harnett, vice president and national practice leader for The Hartford.
It also means lower turnover, lower healthcare costs, higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, more innovation, creativity and risk taking, and high productivity and profitability, according to Harnett, who delivered a presentation on integrated disability management and depression on Wednesday at the 17th annual National Workers' Comp and Disability Conference & Expo.
Google, a public company, and Patagonia, a privately held one, have both turned in consistent profits for years.
And what does a happy employee look like exactly? The employee is female, works part time, works for a small company, is employed there for less than 10 years, is in her current position for less than a year, and has the rank of senior manager, said Harnett.
The top factors that make employees happy at work are: friendly, supportive colleagues; enjoyable work; a good boss; a good work/life balance; variety at work; a belief that the work is worthwhile; feeling that employees make a difference; being part of a successful team; recognition; and a competitive salary.
Harnett also said that studies show that, when employees make above $50,000, the relationship between more income and happiness begins to weaken.
Factors that make employees unhappy at work include the usual suspects: lack of communication from the top, uncompetitive salaries, little recognition for achievements, mediocre bosses, little in the way of personal development, bosses who ignore the ideas of their charges, the lack of opportunity for good performers, lack of benefits, boring work and the feeling that employees are not making any difference, Harnett said.
"Employers have to stop demotivating their employees," she said.
November 20, 2008
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