Positivity = Profits: Here's How!

by Allan Peretz

As a leader, are you creating positivity or negativity in your workplace? Are you sure? Take the time to ask a few of your colleagues whether or not they agree.

Positivity at work is one of your most important resources - it de-stresses you and those around you while also increasing productivity and, ultimately, profits. The  Harvard Business Review confirms that happiness increases effectiveness - they call this the "Happiness Advantage."

5 Reasons Why Your Positivity at Work Drives Profits:

1. It Leads to a Healthier Workforce

If your workplace is lacking a spark of joy, chances are that you're paying for it in other ways. Unhappy employees engage in all kinds of unhealthy behaviors and these behaviors directly impact their effectiveness at work. In addition, your medical costs will be impacted. The US Center for Disease Control estimates that $3 of every $4 employers spend on medical costs will be used to treat chronic conditions like obesity, hypertension, and others.

2. It Improves Retention

We spend too much time at work to hate being there. Employees in an unstimulating or depressing environment will soon be checking the job sites for greener pastures. Positivity decreases the chance of them leaving for a job where they feel more valued, saving you the hassle of spending your valuable time and money finding a new hire.

Spend time with each of your employees and don't be afraid to ask them, from time to time, "are you happy at work?" Your question will likely prompt some serious reflection about challenges, fears, and distractors - you may be surprised at the simple ways that you and your employee can change things for the better.

3. It's a "Force Multiplier"

A negative work environment creates a culture of "clock watchers" - people who can't wait for 5pm to roll around so they can escape the bad feelings associated with their workplace. Conversely, in a positive workplace, people will often work longer than expected and enjoy being around other co-workers who are also just as positive as they are. This is why so many progressive companies have invested in creating workspaces that make the employee feel good.

Studies also show that  optimism lowers stress levels. That decreased stress results in happier, more productive employees that are better able to do their jobs. These employees are also less likely to make mistakes.

4. Happiness is Highly Infectious Within Your Team

Helping your employees to be happier at work is one of the least expensive HR investments you can make. That happiness is infectious - start a secret "happiness campaign" with your direct reports. Consider what it will take to move each one up the happiness ladder a step or two. This could be as simple as a lunch out with you or, perhaps, some upgrade to their office technology. You'll be surprised at how quickly that happiness spreads from your direct reports to their direct reports and before you know it, you'll see smiles all around.

5. It's Also Infectious to Customers

Think of a recent customer service experience you've had. Was it positive or was it negative? Either way, chances are that you quickly detected whether the person you were speaking with was happy or not. If they were, chances are that you left the call feeling satisfied even if your problem couldn't fully be resolved. If not, well...

Be very aware, especially if you lead a sales or customer service team, that the "mood" of your office is very visible to those outside. Your customers have enough stress in their own lives - if their interactions with your company cause more, chances are they won't be back.

Jumpstarting Positivity with Employee Appreciation Gifts

Margaret H. Greenberg, the author of the book  Profit From the Positive, says:

"...In my research study at a large financial services company, we found that managers who gave more frequent recognition and encouragement had teams that were more than 40 percent more productive compared to managers who gave little or no feedback."

Incentives like gift cards, team prizes, year-end bonuses, or increased holiday sales commissions generate more excitement around meeting a goal and delivering a great ROI (return on investment) for your business.

There are many ways to create a culture of happiness. Pick the one that's most natural to you and watch the results!