Blog | Working on happiness at work


The theme of Happiness at Work is on the agenda in a growing number of organisations. But what does working on employees’ happiness imply exactly?

Working together on an inspiring living environment for everyone is the main objective of Facilicom Group. We want to use the Happiness at Work theme to make this ambitious objective as tangible as possible. This subject is relevant to all of our activities. Cleaning, security, catering, healthcare & well-being, and integral facility services all have specific spearheads. When it comes to happiness at work, however, we are all mobilised.

Since Facilicom Group was founded more than fifty years ago, we have always paid attention to our employees’ well-being and their satisfaction. Our focus on happiness at work, which has been underlined by the pay-off Happy people make happy people, therefore, is not new. It is a logical focus for us as a family business and because of the fact that we work with people. We have always concentrated on long-term employment, and our employees feel they have a close connection with Facilicom. 

It is fair to say that working on happiness at work is in our DNA. The only difference is that we never focused on it as explicitly as we are doing now, not only because we are making considerable progress in realising happiness at work, but also because – according to recent scientific research – our employees’ happiness at work has a major impact on our clients’ employees.

With catering staff who serve lunch with a big smile their contribution is quite obvious. Happiness at work, however, is also created in situations in which a security officer or cleaner treats you in a courteous and friendly way.

Happiness at work is sometimes confused with satisfaction. In the dictionary, ‘satisfaction’ is described as a state in which somebody desires nothing more than he or she already has. So you are satisfied when you have enough of what you want to have. As ‘happiness at work’ is not in the dictionary yet, we cannot expect any help from that quarter in describing what happiness at work is. Is whistling on your way to work in the morning and whistling on your way home in the evening an indication of happiness at work? Or is happiness at work essentially the happiness you experience in a work situation?

There are moments on the work floor at which you experience happiness. That much is certain. From scientific research we know that happiness at work rests on several pillars. One of these is finding meaning in work. Which higher purpose does the work I do serve? Although the activities of Facilicom Group are not always clearly discernible, our work makes the difference. If our cleaners did not work for one day, the operating rooms in hospitals and the cleanrooms of pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing companies in the food industry would be unusable.

Autonomy is also a major pillar of happiness at work. People will be happier, if they are given the possibility of making decisions themselves. This is why we, at Facilicom Group, increasingly put a stronger emphasis on the output than on the input. This means, for instance, that we place control at the work floor level whenever we can. At security, we run pilots with self-scheduling and fewer management layers. Our cleaners work with theme cards on which all activities are listed, but they always pay attention to matters that have priority for the client’s daily practice.

We also take action with respect to personal growth, good relationships, and vitality – other pillars of happiness at work. Employees have many growth opportunities. At many locations, we work in closely-knit teams. With the retirement age getting higher, sustainable employability is high on the agenda.

From scientific sources, we also know that there is no single recipe for happiness at work. The five pillars from scientific theory, however, will be recognisable to many of our employees. Of course, we have not achieved our objectives yet. Last year, we asked our employees to express their happiness at work on a 10-point scale. The average score was 7.6. From the Net Promotor Score we know that the real ambassadors for your brand are clients that give your services a score of 9 or higher. Ideally, our employees are also Facilicom Group ambassadors. All the more reason to make every effort that our employees will eventually rate their happiness at work with a score of 9 or higher. If we succeed, ‘happiness at work’ may well end up in the dictionary.