The Science Behind Happiness and Productivity

Dr. Raj Raghunathan | Methods for Productivity Through Happiness

Happy team members perform better and stay at their jobs longer. Regardless of your rank, there are ways you can positively impact your happiness and the happiness of your team members in your organization.


“Here’s a hypothetical question: You’re managing two different sales teams at work. You decide a friendly competition between the two groups will help boost sales. Team A’s members have a happy and optimistic attitude, but are less technically skilled. Team B is much more skilled and experienced, but they have a more pessimistic outlook. Which team, team, Aor B, would you guess would be more productive at work? Okay, so this wasn’t really a hypothetical. In the 1980s MetLife, the US based insurance giant, conducted this exact study. Over a period of two years, the researchers found that happier, but less qualified salespeople outsold their less happy, but more skilled coworkers by 21% in the first year and by 57% in the second year, they also found that the happiest 10% outsold the least happy 10% by a whopping 88%. Perhaps most importantly, the happier salespeople were twice as likely to remain in their jobs compared to their less happy counterparts. Now you may think happiness matters for jobs that involve meeting other people. So what about jobs that don’t involve sales? Does happiness matter in these professions too? The short answer is yes. Happiness matters in every role. Over a period of 15 years from 1998 to 2013 there was a study which analyzed stock market performance of these so called firms of endearment, that is companies that truly deeply care about the happiness of their employees. They study found that during this period the firms of endearment outperformed the S&P 500 by a ratio of 14 to one. Despite the evidence that I’ve provided and despite the numerous studies and books written on the topic, most managers…”