In 1906, Upton Sinclair shocked the nation when he wrote “The Jungle” and exposed the inhumane conditions that working class immigrants in Chicago’s Stockyards were forced to endure.
Thankfully, much has changed in the last century for industrial workers in regards to pay, safety, and life/work balance… but what about company culture and workplace happiness?
June 27th is “Industrial Workers of the World Day” – a day which commemorates the first meeting of the Industrial Workers of the World in Chicago in 1905 – just one year before The Jungle was published. The IWW’s mission was simple – and at the time, extremely controversial. They wanted to ensure fair wages, safe working conditions and an eight hour work day for all industrial workers – and for you! (Spoiler alert: they succeeded!)
When most people discuss the importance of good company culture and workplace happiness, it’s often associated with cube-dwellers, white collar jobs and corporate offices. On the flip side, there seems to be little – if any – discussion surrounding company culture and workplace happiness for industrial (or “blue collar”) workers.
In honor of Industrial Workers of the World Day, here are our top five reasons why workplace happiness and good company culture shouldn’t be a white collar-only mission:
1. Happy Employees = Higher Profits
It’s just plain common sense – the happier your workers are, the harder they’ll work for you. For manufacturing companies, this equates to a higher rate of production – and therefore, higher profits. A recent study found that a slight positive increase in a worker’s relationship with their boss translated into an increase in productivity. In fact, companies with high levels of employee engagement saw an average of 19.2% improvement in operating costs.
2. Less Sick Days
Studies show that happy, engaged employees take an average of 2.69 sick days per year, whereas disengaged employees take 6.9. Ask yourself – how much do employee sick days cost your company per year?
3. Money Saved
Research shows that the lost productivity of actively engaged employees costs the US economy a whopping $370 billion annually. On the company level, those with low employee engagement saw their operating costs go up 32.7% from the previous year.
4. Less Accidents
Safety is a big issue for companies that employ industrial workers. A recent study found that higher levels of employee engagement resulted in a 50% decrease in accidents (from 18% to 9%) over a two-year period.
5. Less Turnover
A startling fact – 46% of new hires leave their jobs within the first year – and studies show that 75% of people who voluntarily leave their jobs aren’t quitting because of their work – their quitting because of their boss. The Corporate Leadership Council found that engaged organizations not only grew profits as much as three times faster than their competitors, but they reduced employee turnover by 87% and improved performance by 25%.
These are only a few of the many reasons why employee engagement and workplace happiness is important for both employees and companies – regardless of industry. A small investment in your employees’ happiness can equate to stronger teams, higher productivity, happier customers – and ultimately, a higher profit.