The pursuit of happiness is not a new trend. Scientists and academics have searched for the potent formula behind successful and lucrative businesses and organizations for decades. Interestingly, “organizational behavior was not fully recognized by the American Psychological Association as a field of academic study until the 1970s” (Kopp, 2022, para. 8). Later, it even became a foundation for the modern profession of human resources manager (Kopp, 2022). Nowadays, academics cannot come to a common solution, whether focusing on the well-being of employees may result in improved outcomes or negative consequences such as disillusionment and sadness (Spicer & Cederstrom, 2015). Even though some managers state that happiness campaigns do not provide a good return on investment, they actually can improve organizational productivity, contribute to employee well-being, and foster a welcoming and non-aggressive work atmosphere.
Defining the Main Concepts
To support the main argument and have a proper discussion, it is necessary to define happiness and happiness campaigns. As noticed by Mauss et al. (2011), happiness is a commonly known critical ingredient of well-being and health. Overall, this state may be defined as a feeling of fulfillment, contentment, satisfaction, and joy (Cherry, 2020). Workplace happiness is also characterized by high levels of productivity, reduced stress and unhealthy competition, and readiness to help others and do more than one’s daily duties (Achor, 2011). It is influenced by opportunities to feel positive, valued, supported, and secure. Further, happiness campaigns, are a group of special actions and processes aimed at increasing workers’ joy and satisfaction and reducing their stress and anxiety, which leads to positive outcomes (Achor, 2011). Therefore, workplace happiness plays an extremely important and even primary role in the productivity of employees and the overall success and performance of the company.
Further, it is important to talk about employee retention as an organization’s most significant human resources challenge. A happiness campaign should be undertaken to improve employee retention and engagement. An engaged employee will often report feeling valued, secure, supported and respected (Seppala & Cameron, 2015). Two studies, one from the Gallop Organization, showed that disengaged workers have 37% more absenteeism and 37% lower job growth (Seppala & Cameron, 2015). Within a happy work culture, employees will be more involved, which will result in a decrease in absenteeism, an increase in career advancements, and reduced rates of turnover. Additionally, there are significant ramifications to an organization’s ability to retain staff who have become disengaged and unhappy. One study reports a lack of employee loyalty due to workplace stress increases voluntary turnover by almost 50% (Seppala & Cameron, 2015). In contrast, an organization with highly engaged employees may see 100% more job applications (Seppala & Cameron, 2015). A happiness campaign provides an organization with the opportunity to provide greater employee satisfaction and engagement.
Happiness, Workplace Stress, and Performance
Since the pursuit of happiness leads to emotional wellness (OpenStax College, n.d.), happiness campaigns should be conducted. High levels of positive emotion promote well-being, increase creative thinking and improve physical health (Gruber et al., 2013.) Workplace stress can be attributed to several stress-related illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease. Stress-related illnesses increase staff turnover and contribute to significant financial loss to organizations. According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated $500 million is spent on workplace stress each year (Seppala & Cameron, 2015). Happiness and optimism allow the human brain to feel good, which increases creativity, intellect, and productivity instead of achieving achievement (Achor, 2011). Finally, it is essential to say that the connection between happiness and higher performance is proved by science (ViGlobal, 2018). When the levels of dopamine, the molecule of motivation, are low, a person cannot be productive.
Are Happiness Campaigns Truly Beneficial?
Many businesses unduly focus on a cut-throat, competitive environment as they believe it can have positive impacts on employees. However, as noticed by Seppala and Cameron (2015), it is harmful to productivity over time. As mentioned above, happiness plays a significant part in developing a business culture and allows the human brain to get into an emotional state that increases creativity and cognitive function (Seppala & Cameron, 2015). Thus, pursuing happiness leads to more productivity than achieving goals (Achor, 2011). At the same time, as mentioned above, some managers and researchers state that paying attention to workers’ happiness has negative consequences on organizations. For example, White (2015) states that “positive affect can reach a level such that employees perceive that they are doing well and it is not necessary for them to take initiatives, thereby reducing their proactive behaviors” (para. 4). Additionally, there may be no return on investment, which is the initial purpose of happiness campaigns.
Although focusing on obtaining happiness at work as a moral obligation may have negative consequences for employees, which is mentioned above, some writers claim that seeking happiness has a significant impact on organizational growth, such as financial stability, productivity, and employee engagement (Mauss et al., 2011). Cultivating a healthy culture over time and supporting positive ideals at work significantly influence employee performance since employees prioritize their well-being at work over financial rewards (Seppala & Cameron 2015). As a result, despite the occasional negative impacts such as discontent, the pursuit of pleasure is often viewed as critical for organizational success since it leads to employee personal well-being and appreciation. That is why it is possible to state that happiness campaigns are important, and the only way for them not to provide a return on investment is if the company performs them in the wrong way or pays too much attention to the happiness of their workers.
In conclusion, happiness campaigns entail organizations’ financial commitment and resources but can produce significant benefits to organizations and employees alike. Happiness and productivity in the workplace have been linked in multiple contexts (White, 2015). As such, wellness initiatives and happiness programs remain relevant in current budgeting and managerial approaches. Organizations provide opportunities to motivate employees more effectively and ensure their long-term commitment as happier employees. This reduces labor turnover and helps companies perform better in the market, where holding onto talent is more complex than ever. Finally, the costs associated with promoting happiness at the workplace can be counterbalanced quickly since some of the optimizations mentioned above also affect general production efficiency.
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Gruber, J., Kogan, A., Quoidbach, J., & Mauss, I. B. (2013). Happiness is best kept stable: Positive emotion variability is associated with poorer psychological health. Emotion, 13(1), 1-6. Web.
Kopp, C. M. (2022). Organizational behavior. Investopedia. Web.
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