Published Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012, by Mike Sullivan.
PORTLAND – Are happy business center employees really more productive employees? And if so, can making your employees happier give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace? Ruby Receptionists thinks so – and this virtual receptionist company offers some valuable lessons for your business center.
Ruby Receptionists is known for making extra efforts to keep its employees happy, figuring happier employees drives a better customer service. Indeed, “fostering happiness” is one of the virtual receptionist firm’s core values.
The latest inspiration to spring from that core value is a “Happiness Journal” program. Ruby Receptionists reports that the program boosted employee happiness and had a positive impact on bottom-line results. Specifically, before the six-week program began, Ruby had a service record of one error reported per 1,000 calls. After the program, Ruby reduced inaccuracies to 1-per-2,500 calls – a 60% improvement in accuracy.
“Having ‘Foster Happiness’ as one of our core values might strike some people as unconventional or maybe even frivolous, but our commitment to happiness has generated serious business results in terms of employee accuracy and productivity,” says Jill Nelson, founder and CEO of Ruby Receptionists.
Ruby Receptionists wasn’t just trying to be fun and creative when it launched the Happiness Journal program. It’s actually based on research. Ruby created the program in line with Shawn Achor’s work as a positive psychology researcher at Harvard University and from his book, “The Happiness Advantage.”
Achor’s research explores how business professionals can reprogram their brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work. Achor’s research shows that employee happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome, including sales, productivity, task accuracy – and a wide range of health and quality-of-life improvements.
Here’s how the program works: Employees were asked to perform daily positivity exercises in a specially designed journal, such as listing three new things the participant was grateful for that day, writing about a positive gratitude action for the day, and journaling about a positive experience from the past 24 hours.
Ruby Receptionists also suggested optional “happiness boosters,” such as exercising for at least 10 minutes and spending at least two minutes meditating. Ruby even offered an extra incentive to participate: Each employee who successfully completed the program had a chance to win an expenses-paid trip to Hawaii for two.
Says Nelson, “It has been extremely gratifying to see how investing in our employees’ personal growth, development and overall happiness has generated significant business results that enable us to provide an even better customer experience for our clients.”
What can your business center learn from this exercise? Its seems happier employees truly are more productive employees that make fewer errors. The good news is, this is a low-cost, low-energy way to make an impact on the morale of your business centers. The risk is low and the reward is potentially high.