Canada constantly ranks in or around the top ten happiest countries in the world to live and work in. However, the Scandinavian countries, particularly Finland and Denmark, always seem to happily occupy the top spots. It seems our friendly rivalry is not just in hockey. So, what can Canadians do to make their employees happier?
Danish workers are happy, and they have reason to be and it is not about raises. The Danish work culture promotes collaboration, open communication, professional development and a flat hierarchy. These happy employees also make for very happy employers. A study, published in 2019 and later revised in 2023, demonstrated that happy workers are up to 13% more productive. This does not sound like an astronomical number. But if you think about it, for every ten not-so-happy employees a company or business has, they only need eight happy ones to be doing the same work, with an increase in productivity. From a business perspective, this is time and money saved. Happy employees also create happier customers, along with better client interactions.
In our post-pandemic world, work-life balance seems to have taken centre stage for employee happiness. However, there are many other factors that can contribute to creating happy employees. As mentioned, a flat hierarchy where communication channels are typically more direct with fewer levels of management involved allows for open dialogue and the sharing of ideas between employees, management and employers. This facilitates faster and more effective decision-making processes. This flexibility allows organizations to adapt and respond more effectively to changes in the workplace environment and prioritize innovation and creativity.
Another way to achieve these happy results is professional development training. Professional development can contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction and happiness among workers. This training has been shown to increase confidence and competency in the workplace, while also providing form of employee recognition. According to an article by Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn, in 2020, LinkedIn saw a 21% increase in job postings asking for skills sets and responsibilities over qualifications. Companies value employees with professional development training and if companies are fearful that they are only training their employees to go to another company, they should think again. Roslansky noted that 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if that company invested in their own career.
Providing employees with a happy workplace will not only maintain employee retention, hence reducing onboarding time and costs, but it can also act as an incentive to attract new hires. When companies think about the benefits they are offering prospective employees—vacation time, RRSP contributions and dental are probably the first things that come to mind. Professional development training may be the added benefit that could set a company apart and make it a happy place to work in the eyes of future hires. Also, don’t forget taco Tuesdays at lunch.
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