Research published by Engaging Works, run by former MD of Waitrose and Minister of State for Trade, Mark Price, has highlighted the disparities in levels of happiness and engagement across the UK workforce.
The sector with the most happy respondents was FMCG, with 75%, whilst legal services languished in 16th place out of 20 sectors, with only 53% of respondents happy at work. This is below the average score of 60.7%
Price makes the convincing case that if firms want to prosper, they should prioritise securing employee engagement and happiness, citing academic research that shows sales, profits and dividends are higher in companies with the most engaged workforces. He also suggests employee happiness could be a factor in the UK's productivity problem.
Whilst the legal sector is financially healthy, it does struggle with a reputation for stress, poor work life balance and burnout, which is undoubtedly reflected in the low levels of happiness among its professionals. Price's findings should be should be cause for concern and food for thought for law firms. As we enter 2018, perhaps its time for an increased focus on employee wellbeing and happiness across the board, for everyone's benefit?
There’s a management saying that what you measure, you can manage. We’re certainly very good in business at measuring profit, output, turnover, wastage and so on, but how good are we at measuring and managing employee happiness and engagement? How high up are staff turnover and sick absence in the monthly board report pack or operations meetings? Are they even discussed?