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Is Employee Happiness The Key Differentiator?

Posted on February 11, 2016

The Silicon Valley work ethic is challenging, unwavering and, as some may describe it: cutthroat.

Culture and tone in the tech realm of the land of Silicon is typically set from day #1. The origin stories of the companies known as GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) all prove this to be true - scrappy startups with early employees who worked tirelessly for sheer survival. At the outset the limited resources and a highly competitive environment didn't leave many other options.

But this eagerness for hard work and challenge can become a competitive advantage. Tech companies succeed, in large part, because they are willing to out-hustle everyone else.

This tireless work culture endures even after the company has achieved success. The blockbuster NY Times article about working conditions within Amazon reveal a company that operates at a startup pace despite having over 220,000 employees.

Hard work and long hours are a necessity in startup days and drive tremendous innovation. But should companies that have almost a quarter of a million employees really continue to push their employees so hard? Is such an attitude, in fact, hurting companies more than helping them?


Working Harder for Fewer Results

Undoubtedly employees in 2016 are working more than ever. According to Gallup, 17% of workers say they work more than 60 hours per week, a figure almost double the 9% recorded in 2005. But evidence indicates these increased hours are yielding fewer gains. Deloitte Consulting's annual workplace trend survey in 2015 indicated half of workers would not recommend their employer.

The heavy workload is also creating high levels of disengaged employees. As measured by Gallup, the percentage of engaged employees is stuck in the low 30s and it’s been there for a long time.


Building a Durable Company Culture

More and more companies are beginning to examine this issue. While not abandoning the demand for long hours and hard work, many large tech employers are focusing attention on employee happiness as a way of driving continued success. They are looking to expand the company mission from “growth-at-all-costs” to creating a more durable culture poised for long-term success.

As with all things related to business, firm focus on the bottom line and delivering results is key to lasting success. However, extra hours may not be the way to achieve this. A growing body of evidence indicates a happy workforce is a productive and effective workforce. One study found worker happiness increased employee output by 12 percent.

Creating a positive work environment also helps reduce turnover, a significant expense for employers and a serious limit to company growth. As the economy pulls out of the recession, employees are no longer regarded as disposable. The short-term thinking behind pushing people to their limit and then replacing them when they burn out is increasingly destructive as hiring becomes more competitive.

One company with a fixation on employee happiness is As profiled in this New York Times article, the company regularly surveys workers satisfaction levels and discusses the results in management meetings.

So far the response is positive, 87% of employees recommend the company as a great place to work and 90% feel their work is important. This attitude runs throughout the organization, including the hourly warehouse employees like one who was quoted, “I can finally wake up & not say in my head ‘ughhh another work day.’”


Translating into your Business

Adopting a greater focus on employee happiness can help your organization stay competitive in an ever-changing and more demanding marketplace. Following the footsteps of is not that challenging either, Jet’s mission is similar to the one guiding the Vocoli platform. Our digital employee suggestion system is designed to drive greater revenue, foster innovation, engage employees, and reduce turnover for continued business success.

If your company is ready to turn the page from burnt-out to engaged and excited then contact us today for a free demo.


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