How happiness & teamwork creates success

Tim Stoller | 23rd November 2018

I want you to indulge me for 30 seconds… Think about the best job you’ve ever had. Picture yourself there. Are your memories filled with the people you were working with, the conversations, the fun, the laughter, working together in adversity, delivering great results and the camaraderie? That’s far more likely than memories of your pay and benefits, the systems you were working with, your rota, or the precise delivery against objectives. Am I right?

The photo above is me on a night out with my team when I worked for Kiss FM at the start of my career. I can’t remember much about my job anymore, but I can explicitly remember how these people made me feel. I know we worked together and for each other through triumph and trouble. We were successful because of our team spirit. This is something that I have tried to replicate throughout the entirety of my career.

The Happiness Formula

Whilst the debate may still rage as to whether employee happiness is a pre-cursor to organisational success, or whether employees are engaged because their organisation is successful. It’s undisputed that there’s an intrinsic link between how people feel and how that affects business performance.

Here at The Happiness Index, we have created our own simple “Happiness Formula” which positions happiness (for all stakeholders) as a catalyst for success. Our formula was designed to ensure that businesses put people first and reap the benefits of a happy and productive workforce:

People Happiness Formula

Working with others is central to how we feel about our jobs. In every profession we work with people. Teamwork is a critical factor to how businesses perform through their people.

For 70 years the world has analysed the importance of team dynamics. Maslow has taught us how social belonging is a critical human need. Truckman and Belbin pioneered work on team dynamics, and this was built on more recently by Hackman’s model of successful teams.

Today, in our highly connected world, teamwork becomes even more important for companies seeking a competitive advantage. Differentiators such as technology, speed, product and even price have become commoditised. Yet one of the key attributes of successful businesses is getting people to work effectively together and becoming ‘greater than the sum of their parts.’

What really makes people happy at work?

We compiled our own research to discover What makes people happy at work? We asked people what factors influence their workplace happiness and identified how much influence business owners and leaders really have when it comes to engaging their staff, making them happier and boosting productivity. We’ve pinpointed which factors really have the greatest impact on happiness so that businesses of all sizes can make educated decisions about how to maximise their greatest strength – their people!

Our research highlighted that the following areas are the top-five most critical components of people working effectively together, feeling happy and being productive:

  • Feeling valued – This is the most important factor for employees and employers. In our view, the essence of good teamwork is that every individual feels valued. This enables people to perform at their best.
  • Trusting the people you work with – People who are trusted by their peers are more likely to work together, share ideas and feel comfortable enough to think creatively.
  • Quality of leadership – All teams need leaders. Effective teamwork is facilitated by leaders, although these people are not necessarily the most senior people in a group.
  • Ability to speak your mind openly and honestly – Teamwork is a group agreement on how people engage with each other. To be at its best, an open and respectful dialogue is essential.
  • Having control over your work – Autonomy can be difficult when job roles are functional. Yet people demand the ability to go about their job in a way that works for them, bring their own ideas and improve how things are done.

Final thoughts

The research will give you valuable insight into employer and employee sentiment around teamwork. Happy and engaged employees will be more productive. They will stick around longer, take fewer days off and be more committed to achieving goals – both the businesses and their own. Put simply they will do more and do it better.

People will be happier and more engaged if they are part of a team they work well with and trust. In a service-led economy, effective or dysfunctional teams are highly visible to customers and consumers. So, it’s vital to take steps to ensure your people are collaborating and all departments work together.

Imagine creating a place of work for your people, similar to your recent memory, and use this research to help recreate it for your team!

My insights into teamwork were recently featured in the foreword for Nestle’s newest report on the effectiveness of teamwork. Click here to read the full report.