I recently wrote a blog about which management and organizational trends I think we will see continue to develop in 2016. I think one of the major overarching themes that ties many of these trends together is a serious focus on employee happiness.

For years, organizations large and small have paid lip service to the idea that “our people are our greatest asset,” but today they need to truly believe it and put that belief into action. In a recent HBR article, Shawn Achor reveals some pretty startling information about just how important happiness has become for organizations and their employees.

First of all, what happens to a company with employees who are happier than most? While doing research for his book, The Happiness Advantage, Achor discovered that “happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%,” not to mention numerous benefits to health and quality of life.

With these numbers in mind, the question for leadership should not be whether or not happiness is an important factor in business outcomes, but how they can impact company-wide happiness in a positive way. There are a couple ways to encourage higher levels of happiness among your employees, even if you fall short of mandatory training like the company Achor studied.

The first thing you can do is make it known to employees that their happiness is a priority. Simply being aware that “they want me to be happy” is already an incentive itself to take action and do what makes you happy, rather than sit around waiting for something to come along and make you happy. This, in itself, is a very powerful lesson.

The second thing you can do is assign small tasks that have been proven to increase job satisfaction. This could be brief periods of exercise or silent meditation, a quick few minutes spent writing down positive experiences or things you are thankful for, or a message showing praise and appreciation for the actions of one specific coworker.

These kinds of actions are simple and effective at improving mood, but they aren’t the type of thing that has traditionally been encouraged in the workplace. That’s why improving employee happiness is likely to take real work on your part. But I would encourage you to try it using the two tactics outlined here.

What do you think about happiness in the workplace? Have you tried tactics like these in order to improve happiness and thereby engagement? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me directly at scott@doubledareyou.us.

photo credit: Amanecer congelado en el Chalten via photopin (license)