The Government is to start asking questions about our happiness in its General Lifestyle Survey. This Survey is the continuous survey of households, families and people in Britain that it uses for planning and policy. There are, of course, lots of pros and cons about such an activity – Is the Government going too far? Is it a sign of a Nanny State? Is it relevant at all? But if it helps then maybe it will be a good thing.

Why? Well understanding happiness is of value. Anything which prompts people to think about being happy must support the work ethic which organisations are constantly trying to align to business objectives. In these challenging times many organisations are trying to get their staff to ‘go the extra mile’ to secure the highest levels of performance. It is unlikely that unhappy staff are going to provide that level.

Sometimes you have to talk people into believing in something. Happiness may be one of those things. There may be many things which tend to make people unhappy such as rising food and petrol prices, negative equity, inequality in pension provision, irresponsible welfare payments, pay standstills, and the like. But equally so there are areas that should promote happiness such as employment remains at near record highs, the country is slowly and steadily pulling out of recession, the Government is tackling waste and reducing its cost so lessening over time the burden on the tax payer, holiday bookings overseas are up on last year and the like.

So management, if it wants high performing staff, have a key role to play in promoting the belief that their staff are happy. How can that be done? Reminding staff that the organisation survived the recession; thanking staff for the contribution they make and regularly; talking about the future and making it sound positive, exciting but may be challenging; asking for more help, support and contribution; returning to pay awards; holding parties or events.

Remember if you don’t ask you don’t get and if you don’t create an environment where people can feel happy you are unlikely to retain happy staff or secure the high levels of performance you need to meet future challenges.

Dr Hugh Billot

Director HR GO (Recruitment) Limited offers solutions to all your staffing needs, temporary and permanent, please call 0845 130 7000

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