In July, we were contacted by 8 trainees from the Management Traineeship of Randstad Group Netherlands, who were assigned to increase happiness at work. The trainees’ and HR business partner’s passion has always been to put employee happiness on top of the strategical agenda. Why is this theme important to organizations you might think? For multiple different reasons, think of an emerging need for attractive employer branding, increase in turnover and absenteeism, decline in involvement and enthusiasm, undesirable levels of work-life balance. Experience and scientific research shows that happiness in the workplace has a positive effect on favorable organizational outcomes. ‘Time to experiment with employee happiness!’
Being part of Tempo Team – a unit of Randstad Group Netherlands – the trainees were challenged to answer the question: ‘What makes employees of Tempo Team happier and more engaged?’
The intended approach was to experiment with different happiness strategies for each region and the desired outcome was: increased levels of happiness. 2daysmood was asked to do a baseline measurement at the beginning of the project to measure the happiness levels of the employees. By using 2daysmood during the project and afterwards, the effect of the initiatives on the overall happiness of the employees would be monitored.
August 2017 – Kick-off
At this point in time, the trainees, together with the regional recruitment team – which consists of a director, 6 managers, coordinators and 70 recruiters – started their project with a big kick-off on employee happiness and an introduction of 2daysmood. During this kick-off, the group was asked the question; “What does happiness at work mean to you?” The trainees discovered that happiness at work is something very personal, and differs from person to person.
Thus, having no unambiguous definition of happiness at work, no ‘one size fits all’, the intended approach was challenged – if happiness at work meant something different for everyone, there was no point in introducing 1 happiness strategy per region. Time for a change of plans!
September 2017 – new strategy
The new goal for the employee happiness project was set: Educate and train managers and coordinators to make them true ambassadors. The idea was that these managers would be able to continuously promote the focus on employee happiness even after the project would finish. To achieve this goal, the following actions were taken:
- Encouraging coordinators/managers to engage with their team to develop activities and initiatives
- Telephone coaching and evaluation moments throughout the project
- Ensuring access and the use of 2daysmood, so that managers were supported during team meetings to discuss the happiness within the team
October-November 2017 – local initiatives
Every week, the teams met to discuss the results in the online dashboard from 2daysmood’s weekly 15-second-survey. Besides the fact that these conversations about the teams were experienced as pleasant, initiatives that promote happiness emerged. For example, initiatives were taken to encourage sharing compliments, successes and feedback, making the workplace more comfortable and pleasant, and strengthening collaboration within the team!
December 2017 – the results
The most crucial question at this point in time was: Did employee happiness actually increase in the past months? The answer was: YES! Employee happiness showed a positive upward trend in just four months and rose from 68% to 80%. Stress was reduced by half in the same period. Interestingly, it was mainly the managers whose degree of happiness rose. We assume that over time, this will have a positive effect on the happiness of their employees ? Both the employees and their coordinators/ managers indicated that the 2daysmood’s app had contributed to the overall awareness of happiness at work. In addition, all managers indicated their commitment to continue their efforts and initiatives to increase their happiness at work. Wow, that’s what we like to hear!
February 2018 and onwards – Happiness is spreading
Even though the trainees have finished their project by now, the team of 2daysmood is still involved with the different regions and we continue to see an upward trend in the level of happiness. We say: “Happiness is contagious!” And it shows!
Great job guys, we are proud of your commitment, approach and results: Cathelijn, Judy, Ward, Marlies, Rianne, Ruben, Tomas and Eva!
Do you want to increase happiness in your organization?
These are some valuable insights and pieces of advice from Tempo Team:
- You must facilitate, not impose, happiness at work. Think of tailor-made strategies, ‘great conversations’, inspiration sessions, weekly triggers such as the 2DAYSMOOD survey and room for personal initiatives in the workplace.
- Work happiness is something different for everyone. So, beware: “One size does not fit all!”. For example, open office gardens or going to work in jeans doesn’t appeal to everyone.
- We recommend linking the focus on employee happiness to a long-term project or vision to prevent it from being a stand-alone project, and rather ensure continuity.
- Employee happiness is a continuous process without a final destination.
- It is worth the investment!