How important is the recruitment process in ensuring a happy environment at work?

Employee benefits provider, Personal Group, conducted a survey in early 2018 to determine how happy people were at work. The results certainly give pause for thought: 56% of the respondents said they were not happy in the workplace.

Going to work seems to be something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Most often, it is outside work that we derive happiness, yet many of us spend around 50% of our total waking hours at work, on any given working day.

The reasons cited for employee unhappiness were sometimes incidents that had occurred, such as bullying and sexual harassment, and then more general ongoing issues like pay cuts and workplace stress due to unrealistic deadlines.

Something that wasn’t mentioned is a subject that’s dear to our hearts at Future Resume. How many of the people surveyed were not in the right job? How many people had found themselves in a role that didn’t allow their unique talents to flourish, empowering them to excel and spread passion and enthusiasm throughout the company? Surely this is the foundation for workplace happiness, not to mention employee engagement, employee motivation and employee retention?

First, let’s see what companies are striving for, which could inform their staff recruitment choices.

What does happiness in the workplace look like?

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley reports on research into the roots of happiness, including in the workplace. Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas runs a course entitled, ‘The Foundations of Happiness at Work.’  She asserts that workplace happiness is more than a string of positive experiences. It’s an overarching quality which can incorporate moments of anger, sadness and stress, characterised by:

  • feeling an overall sense of enjoyment at work
  • being able to handle setbacks gracefully
  • connecting amicably with co-workers, clients and customers
  • knowing that your work matters to yourself, your organisation and beyond

The happiness advantage

A happy workplace filled with engaged employees is linked to practically every desirable outcome that companies and the people who work in them could wish for. The list is endless but includes employees with better health and sense of well-being, more productivity and innovation, less staff turnover, greater shareholder value, speedier rebounds after times of adversity, higher customer loyalty, staff willing to contribute beyond their job descriptions, better conflict resolution skills and an unpredicted rise in business growth.

With all these benefits, investing time and money in making sure employees are happy at work is a no-brainer. So, how do we go about it?

Start as you mean to go on

Know your company, its culture and the sorts of people who will thrive in an environment that has evolved. Use this understanding to inform your recruitment process. A Future Resume will allow you to see every dimension of a candidate, based on potential, aspirations and what they can provide for your company from the moment of hiring and into the future. This flies against conventional wisdom, which assumes that a CV listing past achievements will show recruiters the best applicant for the job on offer.

It’s important to note that recruiting for cultural fit does not mean hiring people who are clones of each other. Every person has something unique to offer and a richly diverse workplace will ensure that all the values and attributes that make up a productive and happy company will be represented.

Being mindful of existing members of staff and only employing new talent if you’re confident that they will thrive in the company culture is the very best first step to workplace happiness for everyone, with all the benefits that follow.