It's something employers will have had an inkling about for some time, and an increasing amount of research has proved that it is almost entirely true – happy employees make for better workers.
While millions of employers look at ways to improve productivity through technology, outsourcing and other means, there's an easier, more cost effective way of doing so: simply make your employees happier in their jobs, and engagement will grow.
No easy task, we hear you say. And you'd be right; the different personalities within your workplace will make it difficult to satisfy the needs of everyone, but there are easy steps to take, such as offering medical benefits through corporate health insurance, to please more people most of the time.
Happiness increases employee productivity by between 10 and 12 per cent.
After all, health and finances are two of the most pressing matters in Australia, and employers can positively reduce their staff's concerns by offering to pay for part – or all – of their private health insurance costs.
Let's look deeper into what makes a happy employee in a motivating workplace.
Why happiness matters
Many people have the life goals to be healthy, happy and financially secure. When people spend around a third of their time at work, creating a positive place of employment can clearly make a big difference.
Empirical evidence now proves this to be true. The University of Warwick in the UK found that happiness increases employee productivity by between 10 and 12 per cent. Meanwhile, the iOpener institute found that happier employees:
- Have 65 per cent more energy than unhappy ones
- Plan to stay with their employers for four times longer
- Dedicate twice as much time to their task
Why battling unhappiness matters
The Harvard School of Public Health also suggested that there may be a correlation between happy employees and healthy employees. Conversely, unhappiness causes stress, which in turn costs Australian employers $10 billion each year.
"Serious, sustained stress or fear can alter biological systems in a way that, over time, adds up to 'wear and tear' and, eventually, illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes," Harvard researchers explained.
"Chronic anger and anxiety can disrupt cardiac function by changing the heart's electrical stability, hastening atherosclerosis and increasing systemic inflammation."
There may be a correlation between happy employees and healthy employees.
Building happiness in the workplace
As we mentioned earlier, company health benefits are a tried and tested way to improve productivity and retention. In fact, recent research from Towers Watson suggests that around one in every two employees are happy with their employer because of their health benefits.
The University of Warwick found that even small incentives can have an impact on happiness. By providing treats in the office, such as fruit, productivity improved by 20 per cent in the short term. It can be assumed that longer-term, more substantial incentives can have an even bigger impact.
More examples exist in the real world of employers that have stood out as happy places to work, such as Google.
Be like Google (kind of)
For six years, Google has ranked number one in the Forbes list of the 100 best companies to work for. In 2015, they retained their crown.
The Californian firm offers a huge range of benefits, and notably takes healthcare very seriously. Google says its "on-site physicians and nurses, convenient medical services and comprehensive healthcare coverage help keep [employees] healthy and happy".
While hiring a doctor is not on the priorities list of most Australian firms, they can open the door for numerous private healthcare benefits, which includes letting their employees choose their physician and the medical facilities in which they receive treatment.
Becoming financially fit is a top priority for Aussies this year, as we collectively look to save $21 billion.
Helping people get financially fit
Finally, happiness is (for better or worse) tied to our money matters. On the other side of the coin, health and personal finances were found to be the two biggest causes of stress in Australia.
Meanwhile, Westpac found in January that becoming financially fit is a top priority for Aussies this year, as we collectively look to save $21 billion.
More than two-thirds of us (69 per cent) have made a resolution to save money in 2016, with 85 per cent saying they have a specific target – an average of $11,234. Employers can help by taking some of the strain of private healthcare costs away from their staff, which could be particularly beneficial at a time when premiums are set to rise once more.
Allow employees to save more and take a positive role as an employer in their healthcare, and you could find your workforce notably happier and more productive as a result.
How do you start a business health plan?
HICA is an independent health insurance brokerage, which means we have the freedom to impartially scour the market for the most fitting business health plan.
Our experts can take the legislative and administrative strain off your company health insurance, allowing you to see the benefits, without the extra work.
If you'd like to discuss the ways a corporate health plan can suit your specific business, our team is ready to answer your questions. Call us today on 1300 44 22 01.