Refugees Have Taught Me About a Happy Workforce

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Jun 4, 2019

Happy humans do better work. We know it for a fact. Joy on the job contributes directly to productivity, not to mention profits.

In a recent report from Wrike, the work management platform delved into “the truth” behind workplace happiness. Titled “From Positivity to Productivity,” their research delivered the numbers that we already could have expected — happy teams deliver, and diversity is a huge part of that success.

Report: Happiness is good for business

Of course happy employees will boost your company and your workplace culture; happy people tend to be more positive, more friendly, and less likely to seek out a different job. In short, they bring good vibes to the table. The Wrike survey breaks some of these benefits down into numbers — and they’re stats you’ll like to see.

  • Happy employees are 4% better at customer service.
  • Satisfied teams commit 26% fewer clinical errors.
  • Joyful talent exhibits 79% lower burnout, with a 61% lower likelihood of leaving unhappily.

Those respondents who reported happiness at work were also more likely to identify themselves as being very productive — in fact, 40% more likely than an average employee.

How important is a happy workforce? See “Why Happiness Doesn’t Matter.”

Happiness as an advantage

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, instructor at Harvard, and co-founder and CEO of GoodThink, has worked tirelessly to prove the importance of a positive work environment.

“The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain. The human brain at positive has an unfair advantage over that same brain at negative or neutral. When we are positive, we show a 31% increase in productivity, 40% increased likelihood to get a promotion, 23% fewer stress-related symptoms, and 37% higher sales,” Achor says. He believes that happiness is the precursor to success, and not simply its result.

If we want to build teams — happy teams — with a competitive edge, what breeds this kind of positivity?, professionals in the workplace collaboration game, ran a survey of 10,000 users to find out what makes them happy. Believe it or not, salary was the last thing on their lists.

Talent, no matter what the position or role, looks to be engaged. We all want to play a part in thriving, successful teams. That kind of motivation is about so much more than money. It’s driven by impact, inspiration, and a positive company culture.

Refugee workforce

I have the great fortune of working with the refugee workforce each and every day. This diverse talent pool has taught me a lot about the joy of work — and how so much of that happiness is well within our control.

The refugee workforce arrives ready to work: they want to do their best, and they have a passion to provide. They want to help take care of parents and siblings. They want to buy a home. They want to be a part of the community they now call home.

Raw work ethic and readiness to pitch in — that’s the spirit that brings joy and success to a workplace. Refugee workers show up to my teams every day with fire and motivation, and they’re a constant reminder to all of us that we need to do the same.

We’ve seen businesses struggle with turnover firsthand, and we’re lucky to work with refugee talent that demonstrates tremendous commitment. Why do they stay?

They see their jobs as opportunity; it’s a chance to be a part of something impactful and worthwhile. We could learn a thing or two from them, both as employees and managers. Commit to that next project, goal, or promotion, and make it worth the investment in resources. Stick with it, and make it an opportunity worthwhile so that others do, too.

We laugh, we fight, we grow, we’re family

The refugee workers on the Amplio team are creating a whole new life in a brand new place. Their teammates and managers play a huge role in building that world, and in helping them to truly find happiness. From mattress companies to hospitality teams to pest control squads, the word we hear most often is “family.”

Families don’t always get along, but they do always help each other. They inspire every member to achieve more, and they work together to create something greater than just the sum of their parts. Perhaps your work family celebrates unique cultures and religions, or holidays you’d never consider. They may speak different languages and eat unusual foods. This diverse texture only strengthens our communities and workplaces, and makes for strong, vibrant, fascinating teams.

Joyful work brings us together. It challenges us to listen, collaborate, and show up — better, and happier.

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