Leaders are taking the issue more seriously and taking steps to promote happiness at work
be happy at work It’s not doing what you love or earning well. It may go there, but the idea of corporate happiness is gaining more collective contours, and large companies are assuming part of the responsibility for the well-being of their employees beyond financial compensation and benefits.
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The new idea of happiness has to do with emotional and psychological safety environment and good relationships – in addition to less oppressive work arrangements. “People are pressured by the volume of work, by readaptation, by uncertainties. If the company just opens up a space for conversation so that people feel they are supported, it already makes a big difference”, says Gustavo Arns, creator of the International Congress of Happiness, one of the biggest events on the subject in the country, and a professor at the postgraduate program. degree in Positive Psychology from PUC-RS.
The movement to seek more happiness in companies is a bet to avoid departures, reduce turnover and maintain productivity and climate. “Talking about happiness, for us, is talking about healthy relationships”, says Dani Plesnik, director of talent and culture at the management consultancy Deloitte, which has 7,000 employees in Brazil. In 2021, Deloitte began a program to promote well-being and better relationships among employees.
The consultancy is one of the great national companies that is implementing corporate happiness programs, which involves raising awareness among those at the top of the company, in the first place, which matches the idea of humanized leadership on the rise these days. “Leaders need to assume to the team that they are not unshakable people, that they have problems like any other employee, which makes room for others to be like that too”, says Dani.
Happiness at work is winning over leaders
The theme of mental health entered the agendas of executives and entrepreneurs because of the worrying situation that is often linked to overwork and toxic environments. With the increase in sick leave due to psychiatric issues – which exploded during the pandemic – leaders have been taking the issue more seriously and taking steps to promote happiness in the corporate world. “If we leave it to the person to take care of their own happiness, the ceiling is very low because work and relationships take up a large part of everyone’s time,” says Arns.
The administrator Vinicius Kitahara, founder of the consultancy Vinning and Workplace Happiness Specialist, helped to structure the program that is currently running at Deloitte and used its expertise on the subject in consulting services for Suzano, Renner, Banco Votorantim and Google, to name a few clients. “Companies cannot keep losing people because rehiring is very expensive. And worse, if ex-employees come out saying bad, how is the company’s brand in the market?”, says Kitahara about some of the fears that lead CEOs and directors of people to hire his services.
At the Banco Votorantim, BV, which has had a happiness program since 2017, with the promotion of “happiness workshops” and other actions around the theme, team engagement went from 70% to 90%. This kind of transformation only happens when those at the top of the company embrace the cause. “My job is not to convince, but to find executives who want to bring the idea of corporate happiness into the company,” says Kitahara.
At suzano, the consultant was called by a secretary who had seen his post on LinkedIn. He arranged a 20-minute meeting with Leonardo Grimaldi, executive director of people at the pulp company. The meeting lasted an hour and Kitahara left the room with weekly meetings scheduled to address the topic of happiness. The work soon extended to the rest of the board. “Of the 10 directors, 9 immediately agreed to do this individual work, which was later extended to the entire company”, he says. Suzano has 17 thousand employees.
Mental health causes losses of R$ 5 trillion
The movement must contribute to avoid leaves, reduce turnover and maintain productivity and climate. In January of this year, the WHO (World Health Organization) defined the burnout as an occupational diseasel in the face of the increase in cases during the pandemic. In Brazil, data from 2019 already showed that 32% of the economically active population suffered from the problem according to the ISMA-Br (International Stress Management Association).
A study by the people management consultancy Mindsight with 1600 professionals showed that 9 out of 10 Brazilians believe that the burnout syndrome is directly related to leadership models that are not concerned with the overload of tasks or with their employees. “Taking care of employees is the only sustainable way to maintain innovation, collaboration and increase engagement”, says Renata Rivetti, director of consultancy Reconnect, and one of the main certifiers in Brazil for CHOs, or Chief Hapiness Officer. The company has already trained 250 executives.
Everything Rivetti says is linked to the companies’ profits and results. ANDMental health issues are estimated to take $1 trillion out of the world economy each year. Before the situation gets to that extreme and dysfunctional relationships or pressure at work turn into illness, some companies have decided to intervene.
Here are some important points for companies that want to have healthier employees:
1. Promote healthy relationships
Stimulating exchanges that go beyond work, such as participating in volunteer programs or wellness events helps employees get to know each other better beyond their roles at the company.
2. Make room for conversations
Creating moments in which you don’t talk about work, but about life, family, visions and the daily life of each one helps to establish deeper relationships. Some companies created circles for each employee to tell his colleagues a little about his life.. “When I know more about each other, I can get closer and find something in common. From there, friendships can be born that greatly improve well-being”, says Kitahara.
3. Listen before charging
Before pointing out errors or charging employees for recurring problems, it isIt’s important for bosses to know how their team members’ personal lives are going. “If an employee is having trouble delivering what they need, the guideline is to understand what might be happening outside of work that is causing the problem,” says Dani Plesnik.
4. Give way to authenticity
Being one person at work and another outside of it is one of the causes of stress. The idea in companies that invest in happiness is to have more integral employees with space to be authentic. In these environments, talking about family or not following a strict dress code is encouraged.
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