Some years ago I watched a program on the Science Channel. The focus was animal behavior and their feelings. One of the studies was about cows. The conclusion was that cows who were happy or contented with their handler produced more milk. Handlers that were calm, patted the cattle, and exhibited kindly and friendly behavior resulted in higher production.
This was not the first study of feelings and behavior of cows. Dr. Donald Broom, professor of Animal Welfare in Cambridge’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine challenged cows with situations requiring them to think and make decisions in overcoming a set of obstacles. As the cows succeeded, “their brainwaves showed excitement, their heartbeat went up,” the report showed. They liked challenges.
People are animals too and happy People produce more: Happy workers are 13% more productive – Research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, in collaboration with British multinational telecoms firm BT, has found a conclusive link between happiness and productivity. – phys.org/news/2019-10-happy-workers-productive.html
In an earlier study Psychologists at the University of Leicester, UK, played music of different tempos to herds of cattle. The results? “Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water were a big hit in the milking shed.” Easy listening produced more milk than fast-paced rock and roll. There is a direct relationship between friendly handlers, music, and work. Reducing stress usually produces healthier and happier workers and they in return produce more work for their efforts.
The COVID-19 Pandemic revealed that healthcare is a major incentive for employees to stay with particular companies. I like the findings of 12 Secrets to Keeping Employees Happy Without a Raise – While more money can help put a smile on your employees’ faces, it’s not the only way to keep them cheerful. Boosting work-life balance, being transparent, offering better benefits and saying “thank you” more often all help boost employee morale. – businessnewsdaily.com/6084-employee-happiness-without-raise.html
In a Gallup pole of two millions workers from 700 organizations found that “the length of an employee’s stay in an organization is largely determined by his relationship with his immediate supervisor.” Contented workers continued working for a supervisor he or she liked, however 46% quit if they didn’t like their supervisors. I guess the difference between cows and workers is that cows can’t quit and look for different handlers.
Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone – Employee happiness has increasingly become an imperative in business. Why? There is now growing evidence that when ones’ employees are happy, organizations thrive . . . One study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. When it comes to salespeople, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%. But the benefits don’t end there. – forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/12/13/promoting-employee-happiness-benefits-everyone/
Contented workers are developed by trust, expectations and challenges, and responses by their supervisors. Supervisors that provide praise for a job well done, usually end up with employees returning the favor by producing more jobs done well. In other words if we appreciate how we are being handled or cared for, we produce more . . . milk.
Some organizations might milk this information for all its worth, but organizations that form a bond with management and employees should expect the cream of the crop and “butter” relationships.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.