Being happy at work / Improving employee engagement

A whooping 87% of workers worldwide who, as Gallup puts it, “are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive”, in India the number goes up to 91%. What this means is that the employees remain unhappy, the company fails to attain efficiency and the country as a whole under performs.


But why is this happening?

  • Employees feel that they are not adding any value to the society. i.e. their work has no real or tangible impact to the world
  • They want big money and quick. Lives have become too materialistic.
  • Social media which is biased towards ‘my happy life’ posts

The above three are very much interconnected. Many people join big companies where they are made to do jobs which are mundane, tiresome and have customers which are located far, far away. When they join, they are really active and believe they will be able to ‘manage’ their way out as they are compensated with a handsome pay; however reality triumphs in no time.

When they take their temporary refuge from reality in the form of holidays and treks they question their materialistic way of living envying the happy lives of the locals. When they log on to their Facebook account every evening after work, they get frustrated by seeing everyone else living a happy life. They then question the worth of their very existence and their importance to the society and the world.


What can the employer do?

  • Put forth a realistic job purview. Upload “A day in the life of _____” videos on your website and let your future employee know what exactly to expect. High and unrealistic job expectations can end up being disastrous. It will either lead to high employee turnover or extremely low employee engagement.
  • Chalk a path towards making your company a boundaryless organisation as was envisioned by Jack Welch for GE. Remove the horizontal barriers – let the employee interact with the people in high echelon; remove the vertical barriers – let the employee freely interact with his colleagues and make strong relationships, and broaden his/her skill set; and most importantly remove the external boundaries – let him/her interact with the final customers, let him/her see the impact his/her work is creating. Once s/he feels that s/he is being heard by the top management, bonds and learns from his/her colleagues and sees the impact s/he is making towards the society, s/he will begin to believe in himself/herself, feel motivated and thus will not hesitate from doing more work, even if it may be outside his/her Job Description.
  • Employ a counselor and ensure every employees’ access to him/her.


What can the employee do?

  • Understand that materialistic life, more often than not, will breed unhappiness. One has to realise that money is only the means to a happy life and not the ends.
  • Facebook is an unrealistic world where people only share the happy instances of their life and thus creating an illusion of having reached the top of Maslow’s pyramid. They too have a huge set of problems and more often than not, they match with that of yours. Approach your counselor at work or talk it out with a friend in case it continues to bother you. Best thing to do would be to quit Facebook and leave a happy social life – offline.


(The above analysis is based on my interaction with a comparatively small sample of people and hence may not truly reflect the universal situation)