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By Jessica Pryce-Jones, CEO of the iOpener Institute for People & Performance

Happiness At Work -01


“Happiness at work”. That short phrase can sound pretty flaky to Executive Directors who need to ensure that they are doing their due diligence. In others words getting maximum bang for their buck.

However, our research shows how the happiness at work can really add tangibly to the bottom line.  That’s because happiness at work helps drive engaged behavior. In other words it’s what comes first and it’s the gateway that catalyzes action.

A happy worker is a high performing one and in particular data shows that employees who are happiest at work:

  • Take one tenth the sick-leave of their least happy colleagues
  • Are six times more energized
  • Intend to stay twice as long in their organizations
  • Are twice as productive

Furthermore, the research showed that employees who are happiest at work report being “on task” 80% of their working week. On the other hand employees who are really unhappy at work spend only 40% of their time on task. That’s two days a week.  This represents a huge cost to any organization, and in effect is losing about 100 days work – or about 3.5 months for every really unhappy employee.

The Performance-Happiness Model

For us happiness at work is based on a researched-based and practitioner-driven model. The Performance-Happiness Model is made up of 5 important components, known as the 5Cs:

  • Contribution – which is about what you do
  • Conviction – your short-term motivation
  • Culture – your feeling of fit
  • Commitment – your long-term engagement
  • Confidence – your self-belief

These are all interlocked, working as an ecosystem which means that they have a strong impact on each other. Trust and Pride in an organization and Recognition back from it help form the context in which the 5Cs are operationalized. To be happy at work, an individual must have a sense of achieving their potential, which is why it lies at the heart of the model.

Happiness At Work Model

Here’s how it work in practice

A creative agency came to us with a big strategic problem about 18 months ago. They were having trouble retaining top talent and their sector of the market is very hot.  Their order book was full, they were in danger of over-trading and weren’t able to expand because their attrition rate was 26%. That meant that every team was pretty much in permanent crisis.

Our goal was to help them improve this turnover number. So we:

  • Assessed the whole organization using our research-driven tool
  • Analyzed the data to see where the issues lay
  • Worked to coach the board and the leaders using a 360 tool
  • Re-aligned some of the HR processes which were exacerbating the situation
  • Helped leaders to implement those HR processes
  • Re-measured the organization

In 15 months employee turnover of their top talent has halved. And of course the recruitment costs to the organization have fallen. What matters more is the intangible effect on their social networks. Real-time relationships and therefore trust is much better because there is a much greater sense of stability and progress.

Of course not that everything has gone swimmingly. As always there have been a few leaders who were simply unable to embrace change, no matter how much evidence they are faced with or coaching they get.  So there are still some tough choices to be made. But we believe that happiness at work flourishes out of tough situations because that’s how everyone learns and grows. No-one ever developed because they stayed within their comfort zone.


What’s so enabling about this approach is that it’s positivity and clarity provide an easy access for new and potentially difficult interactions. When the shape of language changes you open up different conversations, cultures and outcomes. And to do that through a coaching approach creates incredible cohesion – which is something that all organizations need in today’s uncertain world.

For more about the iOpener Institute visit

About the author

Jessica Pryce-Jones

Jessica Pryce-Jones is CEO of the iOpener Institute for People and Performance, an international consultancy that provides practical solutions to common and complex workforce issues by leveraging the Science of Happiness at Work. Its specific purpose is to assess, analyze and act upon the factors that create high-performing workplaces.

Jessica strongly believes in data-driven and metrics-led results. Numbers help everyone understand what helps and hinders their performance and what drives happiness at work.

Her book, ‘Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital For Success’ was published in 2010 both in the UK and in the USA. She’s currently working on her second.

Hear Jessica speak

If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to hear more about the impact of happiness at work, Jessica will be speaking speaking at the ABP’s November London Local Event on Tuesday 19th November 2013, 6-8pm, University of Westminster.

To book or find out more about this event click here.

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