HR’s role in happiness at work

by 13 Dec 2006

HR PROFESSIONALS need to take a creative approach in seeking ways to motivate and build a happy workforce given a growing amount of evidence that demonstrates happiness is linked to bottom-line performance as well as the current competitive conditions and skill shortage challenges, according to an international HR consultancy.

“Happiness-improving efforts and strategies must start from the top and work their way down so that they filter throughout the organisation,” said Dick McCann, director of Team Management Systems.

“Therefore, HR professionals must work in partnership with directors and line managers to develop sound strategies that allow managers to adopt workplace happiness initiatives and allocate resources accordingly.”

Determining what actually makes employees happy can be a challenging exercise, McCann said, and any company planning to invest in workplace happiness should assess the factors driving satisfaction and happiness in their organisation.

There are three key drivers that contribute to sustainable and increased levels of workplace happiness, according to McCann: engagement of work preferences; an adaptive approach to risk; and alignment of organisational and personal work values.

“Work preference engagement ensures that employees actually enjoy the nature of the work they are undertaking. An adaptive approach to risk ensures that opportunities are embraced positively without discounting potential obstacles. Alignment of personal values with organisational values ensures that employees will find personal meaning in the work they are undertaking,” he said.

HR professionals must consider the three drivers for increased work happiness and act as strategic advisors, planning and developing initiatives that foster a culture that supports these key drivers, he said.

Initiatives and key practices HR professionals may promote include: best practice job design/re-design to ensure the right people are in the right job, and developing ‘pacing skills’ to generate rapport with others, in order to help change their perspective.

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