Does Employee Happiness Lead to Improved Work Performance?

This is a guest submission from Manoj Singh.
Happy team at Jamuna Apparels 

Background


Through decade long process improvement-consulting experience, I will say following are some of the major problems found in the apparel manufacturing industry.
  • Worker turnover, 
  • Absenteeism and 
  • Low employee involvement in process improvement
These three factors lead low productivity, poor quality, increase in wastage and low profitability. All these problems have a direct relation with worker happiness.

Global companies like Google, Amazon and many other most successful companies have taken serious initiative for improving employee happiness. We all know the company’s growth and innovation comes from their happy and dedicated employees.
 
Many people would argue, “these are big MNC’s companies and they have deep pockets and resources” although the argument is more of a myth than a truth. Let us understand how even a small and medium size apparel manufacturing company can even get benefit from - “Employee Happiness Index”.

How to Measure and Analyze Employee Happiness Index?


There are various ways and means to measure the happiness index although it depends on company, to what sophistication level they want to measure and analyze the happiness index.


1. Data recording for happiness index:
  • A well-designed check-sheet format could be used for capturing each employee happiness feeling. The format could also capture reason for individual employee unhappiness with pre-defined unhappiness category. HR department welfare team members could capture the data. Further data could be computerized for further statistical analysis 
  • There could be simpler ways to capture employee’s happiness. For initial identification organization could place two baskets named happy and unhappy and each employee could be given similar ball to put in basket. This would help organization to understand quickly percentage of unhappy employees. In case of high percentage of unhappy employees, in-depth data collection could be initiated in future.

2. Understanding situation better through data analysis and various graph, charts:
  • Department wise as well as full company wide happiness and unhappiness percentage should be captured every month. Monthly trend chart would help management to understand the overall employee happiness trend.
  • Reason for unhappiness category should be analyzed through pareto chart. It helps to identify and prioritize main reasons for maximum employee unhappiness and management can take action over the main reason of employee unhappiness.
  • To get the company wide complete picture of employee happiness Radar chart can be used for quick understanding.

3. Improve employee happiness through problem solving and implementing simple and innovative solutions: 
  • Once proper data collection and analysis is done, there are various tools for root cause analysis like - Fish bone diagram, 5 why analysis and Brainstorming etc.
  • It is very important to select simple and effective solutions which can bring happiness to the worker and employees, make sure you pick those solution first which are easy to implement and less expensive for management.
  • It is very important to keep capturing employee happiness even after it improves as there could be few reasons which can come suddenly due to any change in internal process or management

Benefits of having happy employee

Following benefits can be achieved through improved employee happiness:

  • Reduction in worker and Employee migration
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduction in excessive overtime
  • Reducing the chances of ‘worker unrest’ or ‘worker strike’
  • Increased work efficiency through higher output per person
  • Improved quality through well trained happy worker instead of newly joined worker due to higher attrition
  • Whole hearted participation in improvement projects which brings financial savings for management


Conclusion


Most of us assume worker/ employee happiness can only come with increased salary, bonus or incentive. Well, they are important but many times it can be improved with simple steps, I have experience where a worker morale and happiness was improved through:

  • Improving workplace hygiene, washroom cleanness
  • Easy approval for ‘taking flexible holidays’
  • Regular acknowledgement of better performance
  • Initiating or Improving canteen facility, child care room, medical facility 
  • Eliminating misconduct with worker
  • Regular worker training and motivation

Improved worker and employee happiness not only improve the performance and profitability it also creates momentum, which takes the company to the path of business excellence.


Manoj Singh
About the Author
Manoj Singh has wide experience of over 12 years in the garment industry in India and abroad. He has done consulting for over 7.5 years and his services has benefited above 70 factories in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Dubai. He has actively worked with Factories, Brands, and International funding agencies, Garment Clusters, Boards and Councils and other consulting firms.
He is currently working as an Individual expert and Executive Director (Training and Development) for Bangladesh Textile and Apparel Industry. 

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