Happy Workers Are Productive Employees - Truth or Fiction?

Productive Employees

Are you working in an organization where managers develop employees to be more productive? Do employees at your workplace believe that company perks help them become more productive?

I coach a number of managers who are surprised that increase happiness and satisfaction at work doesn't always translate into increased productivity. Emotionally intelligent managers develop their people resulting in improved work place performance.

Myth - Happy workers are productive workers.

Everyone assumes satisfied workers are naturally more productive. This theory plays out as flexible work hours, onsite childcare and workout facilities, retirement plans and attractive workplaces. While these amenities are nice perks, they really aren't incentives for high performance.

While there is a correlation between job satisfaction and productivity, it's actually quite minimal: between +0.14 and +0.30. Thus, no more than 9 percent-or as low as 2 percent-of the variance in output can be attributed to employee satisfaction.

This is hardly enough to justify spending more money on making employees happier and more comfortable. Such benefits may contribute to employee retention, but not to productivity. Moreover, the evidence suggests that productive workers are more likely to be happy workers, rather than the reverse.

Productivity leads to job satisfaction. If you do a good job, you feel positive about your efforts. This, in turn, fuels your energy to accomplish more. Higher productivity should also be recognized with praise, increased pay and the opportunity to earn even greater rewards.

The Real Truth: Evidence suggests productive workers are more likely to be happy workers, rather than the reverse.

Direct your efforts toward helping employees become more productive. Find ways to increase their training, improve job design, provide better tools and resources, and remove barriers that may impede them from doing a first-rate job.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help employees be more productive? Does your organization provide executive coaching to help leaders improve their ability to motivate employees to improve performance? Enlightened leaders need to improve their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is "How can I help develop workers to be more productive?" Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching for leaders to improve their ability at motivating their workforce.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a more productive workplace where employees are happy. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.


Maynard is a consulting psychologist and personal, career and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting, training and transformational coaching firm that develops people and organizations. We specialize in helping companies assess, select, coach, and retain top talent; leadership development; 360-degree feedback; emotional intelligence; competency modeling; succession management; career development and executive coaching. Maynard is an instructor with The...

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