Happiness at work: it counts!
Happiness in the workplace is not just a matter of personal opinion. It’s become such an important value that some companies even have CHOs, Chief Happiness Officers! Society’s new generation of employees are more demanding when it comes to workplace ethics and wellbeing, and they’re committed to working for companies that share their values. According to a survey of 12,000 Canadians and Americans conducted by the Robert Half firm, happy workers stay put, they perform better, and they share several commonalities.
Employees who feel respected, recognized for their hard work, and who are proud of the company they work for tend to work harder and better. In fact, according to Marc-André Lanciault, CEO of Carelab, happy workers “are 12% more productive and 10% less likely to be sick, and as a result, these companies multiply their growth by an average of 2.5, and their revenues increase 37% for 33% in generated profits compared to similar companies.”
Today’s employers have understood that their company’s core values need to align with those of their employees—even if these values are large-scale! That’s why when close to 4,000 Google employees (that’s 5% of the staff) petitioned against the company’s military drone project developed in collaboration with Maven, Google made the decision to not renew their contract with Maven.
From their McGill Avenue office, Square Enix Montréal is in the business of selling dreams via their video games. When the company jumped from 40 to 100 employees, they decided to implement several measures in order to ensure their team’s wellbeing and harmony. For example, Friday is a day of communication and exchange between divisions, which helps solve any problems quickly and efficiently, as Marie-Michelle Do, Communications Manager, explains: “Every Friday we have a Show & Tell, informal presentations where the studio’s personnel gathers together to enjoy a beer and discuss the current projects, the week’s highs and lows, things we may have learned, and various topics that are pertinent to everyone.”
“We reimburse employees for sports activities,” continues Do. “And we offer fruits, cereals, and Kittel coffee every day. We cease production on our games once a year to focus on Game Jam SEM (Square Jam), an initiative developed to stimulate our employees’ creativity and allow everyone to step out of the creation context they’re used to being in. And we celebrate our successes as much as possible!”
Square Enix Montréal uses Officevibe, a tool that allows companies to measure the satisfaction of their employees by giving them a platform where they can express themselves anonymously (or not). Each week a series of questions are randomly sent to employees, who are invited to share their feelings and impressions openly and honestly. “We’re constantly adapting our mission and values to ensure they align with our reality,” explains Do. “Currently we’re thinking of ways to redesign our workspace. We’re always thinking of ways to improve the lives of our employees.”
Other companies go one step further and consider that an employee’s health and wellbeing are essential for their longterm success. Microsoft, for example, offers their employees support in times of personal struggle or burnout, as points out one of the company’s representatives: “In addition to providing an inclusive and flexible work environment, we offer the Microsoft Cares Employee Assistance Program. This program gives employees, and their family members, access to free short-term advice and support. Plus, if an employee’s child is experiencing learning, developmental, or behavioural issues, they are allowed up to six telephone or video conferences with a behavioural expert per year. We also offer an assistance program to employees and their families. These programs and services offer advice, are confidential and, easily accessible, and cover a variety of topics and issues.”
With campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness Month, as well as fitness and nutrition programs offered by the company to their employees, Microsoft is the perfect example of a company that knows how to evolve with the times and understands that a happy workplace is beneficial for everyone!