You would be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree with the idea that happy teams are better teams. Happy teams comprised of happy, engaged employees are statistically more productive and focused. It is estimated that companies with a highly engaged workforce make upwards of 147% more earnings per share than unengaged workforces. Happy teams are also objectively healthier. According to WebMD, upwards of 90% of doctors’ visits can be attributed to some form of negative stress in a patient’s life. It is also estimated that upwards of $576B are lost every year by US employers to workforce illness. All of this even though, on average, companies spend around $750 per employee on employee wellness initiatives. For these reasons and more it is fair to say that workplace engagement and happiness begins with an inclusive workplace culture.
Inclusive leadership creates a culture that fosters innovation and drives performance. Having happy employees is the root of innovation and performance. Workplace happiness begins and ends with a culture that is inclusive of its team members. Here’s how:
Happiness begins with feeling understood
Psychology Today suggests that feeling understood is arguably more important to happiness than feeling loved. Inclusive cultures foster the psychological safety necessary for all members to feel comfortable being themselves in the workplace. Inclusion also fosters a culture that places value on individuals for being themselves.
We are happier when we feel we belong
Feeling understood gives people a sense of belonging. Knowing that a team respects and appreciates what makes each person different as individuals helps engage all team members. This becomes increasingly important for women, minorities and LGBTQ+ members of a team, who are typically not as well-represented on teams, especially at senior levels.
Happiness begins with being part of something bigger than yourself
When individuals feel like they are understood, they achieve a sense of belonging and connection to the larger team. When ALL team members feel a sense of belonging, they are ready to work together to achieve a collective vision and contribute to larger company goals.
We are happier when we feel empowered
Once ALL employees feel like they are understood, they can achieve a sense of belonging. This helps them feel like they are part of a team with a sense of community that is purposeful. Individuals who feel part of a team that is bought-in to each other and a collective goal, are truly empowered to innovate. Companies that can foster a culture of inclusion can fully expect to reap the benefits of a happy, engaged and empowered workforce.
What can we do?
We believe that leaders are the catalysts to transforming and sustaining inclusion in team culture. But how do we train leaders to be inclusive in the moments that matter most? How do we change the way we coach leaders to be more effective and consistent in their ability to be inclusive? The future of work hinges partially on our ability to focus training on to directly impact inclusiveness on teams.
What do you think?
Is there a correlation between inclusion in the workplace, and happiness? Is it fair to argue that when happiness fosters innovation? How can companies transform their culture to help their employees be happier while also boosting the bottom line?