Happy cows produce more milk!
This is not philosophy, this is fact.
I am also a farmer’s daughter and very much in touch with my
rural roots so I can stand over this fact with plenty experiential evidence.
This statement is also my core belief, business philosophy and
When people are treated with respect and are given the
space, support and tools to balance their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing,
then they thrive.
When we start treating people with humanity, compassion and
kindness, then they thrive.
This is something that cannot be packaged as ‘Wellbeing in
the workplace’ or ‘Corporate Wellness’ or whatever current term is in vogue. This
is something that must be evident in each and every interaction in the
workplace at all levels of engagement if people are to be happy.
Because here is the shocker…happy employees are more
Yes, the statistics are prolific; happy employees are less
likely to be absent or sick, have higher morale and ultimately are more productive
and contribute positively to the bottom line.
Here is a little story, true story…
In one of my previous roles, I managed employees, seven of
which at one point in time were not paid for their work directly. These people were
on various government programmes and employment incentives and were paid via
their social welfare. In theory, all they had to do was turn up at the work location
each day, tick a box. They had very little say in where they received work
placement, very little input into the role they wanted to work in but were just
physically present to make up numbers on someone’s spreadsheet. I am picking
out one of these people for illustration purposes but in truth they all went
through amazing transformation.
When I first met John, he would come to work with blood shot eyes, odour of stale beer and smoke, long dirty overcoat, work boots heavy with muck, age approx. 60 but looked much older and in the bracket of ‘long-term unemployed’. He would check in, disappear walking around the building for the day, smoking, check out. I was told that he could fix anything. So, I started to talk to him, plain and simple. He was shy and didn’t engage with much eye contact. I began by giving him some tasks and quickly learned he was indeed able to fix anything, in fact everything I asked him to do, he excelled. Reminded me so much like my Dad. I did what I always do which was I gave gratitude and praise and soon his glance would turn to my eyes. I soon saw that the blood shot eyes were being replaced with glistening blue eyes. Then I started talking to John about his life as I genuinely wanted to know about him. He trained as a soldier hence his knowledge about fixing everything. He lost a twin brother in a war which intrigued me. He had a wife and family and grandchildren. He loved to dance and loved music especially Gareth Brooks! Not holding his music taste against him, he began to shine. Then one day, almost like a mother looking at her toddler who became a teenager over-night, John was sliding in his dancing shoes around the workplace with smart trousers, jumper and shirt. The stale smoke and beer body odour was replaced by a spicy scent of cologne. His appearance on the outside was transformational but to me it was more obvious from the inside out. His sparkling youthful blue eyes would dance when we spoke, the music of Gareth Brooks filled the canteen now that he had the confidence to change the music just to see my reaction. He completed every single last task I asked and so much more with purpose and pride and he accepted all the gratitude I gave him graciously and humbly.
John had become the butterfly I know and believe is inside
each and every single human being.
John was not paid by the organisation for his work.
He had no Employee Assistance Programme.
He had no health insurance.
He attended no yoga classes.
He attended no wellness events.
He attended no talks on mental health.
What he did have was someone who cared, who made time to connect
with him on a human level, who believed there was a very special human under
the dirty coat just waiting to burst out. John gave over-and-about as did all
the other unpaid employees. One of which not only volunteered to put out the
bins on Christmas Day but insisted on doing it so that they would be ready for
collection the day afterwards. These examples are just a few, I have so many
more. Each one of these seven people gave time and time again, much more that I
could ever have imagined because they were treated with respect, treated
fairly, treated with humanity and kindness.
I am so passionate about passing on this message. I am so
passionate about making workplaces a happier environment because I have been in
toxic environments, at all levels with all types of negative interactions and I
want this to change.
But I’m going to do my best to support the cows to be as
happy as they can be!
If you are interested to support and lead your workplace and
employees become happier; I’d love to help:
Belinda Murphy, Human
Engagement in the Workplace,