Measuring employee motivation is a difficult thing to do, as is exemplified by the fact that the findings of a new study fly in the face of research published just before Christmas.
The government's Happiness Index showed that employee satisfaction in the UK received a rather low rating but the Wall Street Journal in association with the iOpener Institute begs to differ.
It undertook a survey of 2,000 members of staff across 80 nations of the world and in 30 different sectors in order to gain an understanding of what makes staff tick.
Motivating staff has many facets and the key areas this new research focused on were contribution, conviction, culture, commitment and confidence.
The Netherlands came out on top as the country with the happiest staff with special emphasis given to the values of the organisation something staff rated highly.
Not far behind was the UK with employees giving higher than average scores in most of the areas, enjoying the culture at work and having pride in the job coming across particularly well.
Italy's employees were not as well motivated on the other hand, with trust in the vision of the manager scoring rather low.
Simon Lutterbie, director of research at the iOpener Institute, said: "These findings give a global insight into performance in the workplace: the happier people are, the more productive they are."
Having happy employees is not just good news for the staff but those who take pleasure in their work are more motivated and more productive, which is in turn good for business.
Mr Lutterbie said: "When comparing the unhappiest and happiest people at work, employees who are really happy at work tend to stay about five times longer in their jobs, are focused on the task at hand three times longer and take around three times less sick leave."
Experts in the business belief that one of the key aspects of motivating staff is communication, especially as each member of staff will respond to different methods of motivation in a variety of ways.
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