Are you happy to make a change


Are you happy to make a change?

You’ve probably read or heard about David Cameron’s happiness indicator. The Prime Minister has engaged the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to draw up an official index of the nation’s happiness. The ONS has come up with a list of questions that it will use to measure whether people are happy or not, such as whether they have good relationships, health, friends and – significantly – job satisfaction.

Mr Cameron has now taken this one step further and plans to make ministers use the happiness of the nation as a yardstick before deciding whether or not a new policy should be implemented.

Proposed policies are already measured in various terms, such as how they impact on the environment, the economy and gender. Now ministers will also need to assess the impact of their proposals on people’s happiness.

Whether this will actually work in practice has yet to be seen. For example, we can fairly confidently presume that a new policy to increase any taxes will have an adverse affect on happiness; bringing in an extra Bank Holiday will probably, on balance, please most people…

The idea of measuring happiness is a good one – and in the world of business, it’s not new; it is generally called ‘job satisfaction’ or “employee satisfaction.” Many companies run employee satisfaction surveys every year or so. Most far-sighted bosses will look to see what affect any changes have on their staff’s job satisfaction before they are introduced.

Changes of any sort have an impact – sometimes negative, sometimes positive – on those who are affected. For example, when introducing a new product the aim is to excite and please customers but that same campaign, unless employees are fully engaged beforehand, may in fact have an adverse impact on the mood of staff, who may simply consider the whole thing as more work…

Changes have to happen for an organisation to move forward and it is the way change is managed and communicated internally which holds the key to success or failure. By careful management and well thought out internal communication, even the most unpopular changes can have a minimal impact on the happiness of staff; some might inspire a “Dunkirk Spirit” and actual lift morale and effort levels.

If you would like some advice on how to bring change to your business with minimum disruption to both the productivity and happiness of your staff, please get in touch.

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