They say that money can't buy happiness, however the odd £million in the bank sure goes a long way! But what does happiness mean for you? Is it the same for all of us? Or do we have differing interpretations?
One thing's for sure, if your business involves human interaction, you need your greatest asset - your workforce - to be as happy as they possibly can be. Here's why.
But first a tale familiar to many of us.......
I approached the checkout with a degree of trepidation. OK so the self service checkout was available but today the prospect of yet another battle of wills with a soulless automated machine was not one I relished. That could wait for another time.
For a change, what I sought on this occasion was some human interaction - a smiling face, a cheery hello - a smooth and pleasant transition from store navigation to satisfied customer.
The experience was anything but.
My greeting was met with an eye contactless grunt. Request for payment was something indecipherable. A relatively enjoyable shopping experience had quickly been undermined at the last but crucial stage.
This left me wondering; is this person that unhappy to be at work?
I can't think of another industry which thrives on as much human contact as retail and hospitality.
For example, think of your last stay in a hotel. What defined the experience? The surroundings? The room? The food? I'm sure all of the above contributed however I would argue that one aspect in particular can make a good hotel great and a great hotel average: the staff.
I've been fortunate to stay at some wonderful hotels; one in particular however - the Chewton Glen in the New Forest - stands out.
Chewton Glen, New Forest, Hampshire
Consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the country, it may not be the most expensive, but it is most certainly, for me at least, one of, if not the best.
Why? Put simply - it is 100% down to the staff. They absolutely and completely define the hotel. From the Manager to the Chambermaid it is easy, relaxed, pleasant, friendly - polished.
It is the stuff of dreams, as if the very fabric of the hotel has been sprinkled with fairy dust and in doing so a wonderful, magical experience is created for their guests.
So, if people can make or break your brand, isn't it something worth paying a little attention to?
Why Customers Come Second
This might sound a little counter intuitive however it's the way that Virgin, under Richard Branson, treats its customers: "Staff first, customers second and shareholders third".
In this order, everyone is kept happy.
"It’s our people who drive our success, so we strive to maintain a healthy and happy culture"
Sir Richard Branson
If there is a direct link between employee happiness and business success wouldn't it be great if there was a way to easily and quickly, not only measure but improve employee happiness?
One such organisation which does this is Engaging Works
The brainchild of former Waitrose MD Lord (Mark) Price, Engaging Works is a free to use website which any business can use.
It works on the basis that happier employees are more engaged employees hence are more productive, provide better customer experience and in so doing become more fulfilled people both at work and at home.
"All the research shows that the companies with more engaged workforces are more profitable, more productive, and more successful.”
Lord (Mark) Price
It is traditionally at this time that many retail column inches are devoted to the likely trends we will witness in the forthcoming year.
And whilst much of this will be dedicated to the many exciting technology trends which will help reshape the retail landscape, I predict that employee happiness will feature ever more strongly on the radars of retailers eager to retain and grow their customer base.
From a Georgian house in an idyllic Dorset village a quiet revolution is gathering pace.
Take the survey today; it might just be the best 5 minutes you spend of 2018.
Andrew Busby is Founder & CEO of Retail Reflections, a globally recognised retail influencer and an IBM Futurist.