I speak with a lot of small business leaders (by which I mean the leaders of small businesses, not...) and in talking through their challenges and difficulties, I will often try to lead them towards a discussion about how happy or content their staff are. Quite often what I see is a shrug of the shoulders and something along the lines of "What? Keep the staff happy? Yeah - sure. Of course".
What they mean, of course, is "why on earth would I care about that?
Well - setting aside that the sort of person who really doesn't care at all about their staff's happiness is not a good person to be working with - there are so many reasons.
The most important, I think, is because it is quite simply the right thing to do. As a member of the same species, we should try, whenever possible and often when it's not possible, to treat fellow members with respect and dignity. Why not?
Then there are the more tangible benefits. Treating other people well makes you a little happier. We can benefit from other people's contentment. Not only that - if we treat other people well, then they might well treat others well too. And that includes us. Again - why not?
Finally - because some of the people I have this discussion with sometimes need a financial incentive - treat your staff well because happier people work harder. According to Oswald, Proto and Sgroi from the University of Warwick, businesses can see an increase in productivity of up to 12% when staff are happier. The full paper is here.
So there you are. Trying to make your staff a little happier is the right thing to do because they will work harder, be more committed, treat fellow staff better - and, of course, because it is simply the right thing to do.