It’s up to us to take the initiative to be happy. However, when we talk about happiness management in organisations, we’re talking about a co-responsibility between the company and the employee.  

Employee happiness and motivation has a direct impact on each person’s productivity and, as a result, the company’s productivity. Working on talents’ well-being went from being a bonus or a way to be in fashion with human resources trends, to being a competitive advantage.  

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, wrote: “A decade of scientific research shows that happiness fuels success. Our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive. Intelligence and energy levels increase. We are more resilient and productive.” 

Happiness and well-being seem to be synonyms, but the latter refers to a more lasting and significant state. In her Multi-dimensional model of well-being, Dr Carol Ryff, a psychologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, argues that there are six factors that make up well-being: 

  • Self-acceptance: the ability to understand our strengths, weaknesses and personal vision with a positive mindset. 
  • Positive relations with others: the ability to understand others’ perspectives and cultivate strong interpersonal relationships, based on compassion and trust. 
  • Autonomy: the ability to resist social pressure and act according to your own moral principles. 
  • Environmental mastery: it refers to how we relate to the world, how we understand and use our opportunities and look for situations that adjust to our values. 
  • Purpose in life: how we direct our vision with intention and pursue significant goals that allow us to feel motivated about the future. 
  • Personal growth: it has to do with how we look for continuous improvement, trying to face new challenges and experiences. 

Even though flexible hours and free gym subscriptions make us happy, it’s when we feel challenged and with a purpose that dopamine is released from our brains. Motivation and engagement must be achieved through work itself.  

Have you ever heard of Happiness Management?  

This new type of management is one that is beginning to appear in companies. It’s a sector derived from the People Management department which makes sure that employees do their best during the time they are part of the organisation, doing everything they can to make them feel comfortable through practices that encourage a good environment, such as active listening and team work.  

The goal of this kind of Management is that employees align their personal purpose with what they do in the organisation, and to accompany them in this journey through personal development and motivation.  

How can leaders encourage happiness in their employees? 

If the leader’s intention is to create initiatives in which employees can feel fulfilled, they can start by not measuring them as numbers and connecting with them as human beings, leaving behind the belief that they’re resources.  

When we look at the factors described by Dr Ryff, we see that, even though they work at a personal level, they can definitely be applied to the organisational environment. These are some of the things that leaders and the HR area can do: 

  • Encourage self-knowledge through tools that provide valuable and objective information, such as the PDA Assessment. 
  • Work on having a culture in which people are the priority, whether they’re employees or customers. Make people feel part of a community that supports them and for which they are useful, so that their level of commitment increases.  
  • Promote accountability, which reinforces the sense of autonomy and trust in one’s own capabilities. 
  • Get to know employees as individuals to understand what motivates them and then align their purpose with that of the organisation. 
  • Cultivate a growth mindset, starting with self-knowledge, so that people can work on their own limitations and explore their talents. 

People who want to work at a company from the Great Place to Work list are looking for a place with purpose that allows them to be more than resource, besides wanting a good salary and benefits. We mustn’t forget that a company is their people. Happy people create happy and thriving organisations. 

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply shows what you believe in.” – Simon Sinek