Happiness in the Workplace – A Happy Employee is a Productive Employee

Ten years ago, I would have been shown the door by a CEO, if I spoke about happiness in the workplace and happy employees. Today, CEOs are recognizing the importance of happiness.

Recently, at the APFHRM (Asia Pacific Federation of Human Recourse Management) conference in Singapore, November 3-4, I was honoured when asked to speak on the findings from the 2015 National Singapore Happiness Survey.

In the top 5 categories for happiness was Workplace Culture. As you might imagine I was pleasantly surprised, and happy myself, to see how important Workplace Culture is to happiness. However, I was not a surprise by the rating it received.

Out of a score of 100, male Singaporeans rated happiness in their Workplace Culture at 41, and female Singaporeans rated their happiness at 42. In the survey results, anything below 50 is given a rating of Unhappy.

I don’t know about you, but if Iam not happy at work, my engagement and productivity suffers. Instead of having a happy attitude, which infuses my work with energy and creativity, being unhappy negatively impacts my performance. Not only does my performance suffer, but, also the performance of others working in my vicinity. We all know unhappiness is contagious. It’s an emotion that is picked up by others and can bring everyone’s energy level down.

Do your employees come into the workplace every morning with a smile and a hearty good morning? Or, do they come into the workplace with a scowl, and are uncommunicative?

Which employee do you think is the most productive?

The law of personal performance states: Mental Attitude x Ability = Performance

All the ability in the world (knowledge, experience, training, education, etc.) will not help you perform better when your mental attitude is unhappy or zero.

Leaders get excited when they figure out intrinsic ways to increase the engagement levels of their employees. Why? Because external means of increasing employee engagement are having less impact and are being reduced in times of economic restraint.

So how do you increase employee engagement? How do you increase employees sense of personal fulfillment and performance?

There is a simple and very powerful way. Ask them what they value most on the job and in the workplace.

Everyone I have asked in my seminars and workshops recognizes their leap in performance when they are able to experience what they value most – and, conversely, the harmful impact when their values are ignored or disrespected. In fact, they would not want to continue working for the organization, and many have said they left jobs because of misalignment in values.

Why was I not surprised to see the Unhappy rating of Workplace Culture?  There is a very high and costly employee turnover in Singapore, especially among millennials. It’s not uncommon for companies to have 20-30% turnover every year. Seeing the Unhappy rating for Workplace Culture made perfect sense. Why would anyone want to stay in a workplace where they are unhappy, especially if they are still living at home with parents, and are not financially dependent on the job.

Are you aware of what is making your employees Unhappy in the workplace?

If you are looking for new ways to increase the performance of your team or organization, I have a 9 Steps process. Here are the first few steps.

Step 1 – Start by identifying the personal values that mean the most to people. Here is a resource that will make this process super easy. It’s a free Personal Values Assessment.

Personal values are a source of life force energy. They energize us, make us feel happy, give us joy when they are lived and sorrow or frustration when they are not. They are the embodiment of our heart and soul calling us to action, connecting us to the world around us, and helping us perform to our highest potential.

For leaders, values are the heartbeat of excellence that intrinsically motivate and inspire their people. For managers, these are the things they want to make sure are frequently acknowledged and recognized. The more a person is aware of their values the more valuable the values become for them and the world around them. Awakening your personal values is a source of inspiration and motivation, a source of high performance that comes from within.

Step 2 – Find out what they are currently experiencing in the workplace, both positive and limiting by conducting a Values Assessment. The limiting values and behaviours are a great source of business intelligence.  They show exactly where you can make the most difference to improve performance.

Step 3 – What would employees like to be experiencing instead to make work fulfilling? This is the road forward and antidote to the limiting values and behaviours.

With 30 years of business transformation experience, the Culture Leadership Group provides Leadership Teams values-based consulting, speakers on Workplace Culture, and expertise in building high performing, happy workplaces. Check out for more information on our services.


Be sure to visit our Free Resource Center to get access to free e-books, worksheets and other valuable leadership development resources.

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To find out what your personal values are that empower you to higher performance and productivity, take a Free Personal Values Assessment

To learn how well aligned you are with the culture in your organization contact us for an Individual Values Assessment

To learn how to map, measure and manage the culture of your team or organization with our Culture Value Assessment for Teams and Organizations.

Leadership Speaker Joanna Barclay (2)Leadership Speaker Joanna Barclay (2)Leadership Speaker Joanna Barclay (2)Contact Us Joanna BarclayJoanna Barclay, Speaker, Author, Leadership Consultant building high performing values-driven organizational culture.

With 30 years in business transformation working with organizations, Joanna’s passion lies in working with leaders, facilitating active participation in organizational change, developing resourceful teams and aligning strategic objectives. Her goal is to help organizations become high performing and values-driven, where people take ownership, build commitment and bridge communication gaps. As CEO of the Culture Leadership Group, she ensures successful transformation from concept through to implementation.