Gardeners and florists are the happiest workers, says study
Flexible work hours, recognition of work, visible results etc. can easily be identified as a few vital factors
UK’s Vocational awards’ body City & Guilds surveyed 2,200 workers across UK and came up with these striking results. These findings belie the popular belief that well-paid jobs like banking, human resources and computing offer greater fulfillment. At a time when most of the companies are pondering effective strategies for retention and employee engagement, these points are worth a thought; it also shows that there is a lot that needs to be done in this field. It’s not for the first time that a study has made such conclusions. In July this year Office for National Statistics in UK showed that people who were in fisheries, farming and forestry were happier as compared to people in other professions. This was followed by people working in mining, quarrying, real estate activities etc. Surprisingly, people with highly paid corporate jobs fared badly in both studies.
Work demands of fields like gardening, fisheries, mining etc. are quite different and they cannot be compared to work requirements of an IT or Telecom company. The question though is, would it be wise to overlook such fields and their ‘employee engagement’ factor altogether?
Lessons to draw
There is no denying the fact that companies with higher employee engagement outperform companies with disinterested employees. What is it that gives a sense of fulfillment to gardeners, florists etc, despite getting them modest salaries? Flexible work hours, recognition of work, visible results etc. can easily be identified as a few vital factors. According to inc.com a 2010 report from Hewitt Associates found that companies with high levels of engagement (65 per cent or greater) outperformed the total stock market index and posted shareholder return 19 per cent higher than average in 2009. This clearly draws that for organizations happy employees translate into better profits.
Earlier this year, Forbes quoted Dr. Noelle Nelson citing a study from the Jackson Organization in her book ‘Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy’. This study shows, ‘companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity & assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t. Such facts are a clear indication that companies just cannot afford to ignore the crucial employee engagement factor.
The Hindu Business line quoted Carry Cooper of Lancaster University as saying, ‘The evidence is that it’s not money at all that makes us happy. What’s important is controlling your own time, seeing the end result and that your work is valuable. It’s also about not being micromanaged and creating your own life-work balance.’
Time to look beyond perks
Employee engagement isn't all about perks and benefits. Organizations that offer work hour flexibility, good work atmosphere, growth and learning opportunities and an opportunity to create greater work-life balance have low attrition rates.
With reference to the results of an online poll conducted by TeamViewer, businessnewsdaily.com reported that people are willing to go to any extent to be able to work from home. According to this survey 17 per cent of the respondents were willing to give up their salary hike and 15 per cent were willing to give up half of their vacation days if they were able to telecommute.
A few points to ponder
A few findings that can form the base for effective employee engagement strategies:
1. Gardeners and florists are the happiest workers.
Learning: Workers are happier when they have more control over their daily routine.
2. Just 44 per cent of finance and bank workers were happy with their jobs.
Learning: Employees who are in high-pressure jobs and have less flexibility in routine need strong motivators to feel engaged.
3. People earning over 60,000 pounds were the unhappiest.
Learning: Beyond a point money doesn't offer fulfillment in job.