Workplace culture isn’t guaranteed when you start, buy, or take over a company. It doesn’t exist solely in high-tech companies, or only in exotic locations. The fact is that building a solid office culture needs to be intentional and requires a lot of work from the company leaders. It’s a mindset that will resonate with employees when they watch their leaders lead by example. Happy leaders make happy employees. Happy employees are the first step to creating thought-leadership, industry altering innovation, and attraction of the most elite employees in any field. Need proof? Here are 7 hard facts you should know about employee happiness and how their satisfaction impacts your business.

1. Happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees.

Researchers in the UK conducted a study that scientifically proves happiness is one of several important keys to a company’s success. As it turns out, employees that feel supported, encouraged and happy are more likely to effectively collaborate and innovate; making them better able to ramp up the pace at which they work without sacrificing the quality. When Google’s focused on employee happiness, they found it increased productivity by a whopping 37%!

Did you know A Gallup poll shows that unhappy employees cost American business over $300 billion a year?! (source)

2. 85% of employees feel motivated to do their best when an incentive is offered.

Historically, it has been looked down upon to take too many vacations because could give the impression that the employee is “slacking off”. We now know the opposite is true. Several forward-thinking companies have started offering “unlimited vacations” for employees and found that not only do employees not abuse the privilege, but they work harder and more efficiently because they feel incentivized to earn the vacation that they will take.

Which incentives work the best?

Money – 40% Free Vacation – 29% Extra Time Off – 23%

3. Happy sales people produce 37% greater sales

Simply put: happiness is contagious. If your sales people are happy, prospects are more likely to warm up to and engage with them. Think of the last sales person you did business with. Chances are, they were happy, personable and seemed to genuinely enjoy the conversation. A happy workforce will give you a greater advantage over your competitors than virtually anything else.

4. Happy employees mean 71% less employee turnover.

Company culture plays a huge role in employee turnover. Job turnover in a company that has higher job satisfaction and happier employees will see 71% less turnover than a company that doesn’t take employee emotional health into consideration in its day to day operations. This will also decrease the resources needed to on-board new employees and lead to greater success overall.

5. Happy employees help you to outperform the competition by 20%.

It’s no surprise that happy employees work harder because they feel more committed. This feeling of investment in the company and its future, turns employees into powerful brand advocates, giving the company an impressive edge over the competition.

6. Happy employees spend 100% more time focused on the tasks at hand.

A study conducted by the iOpener Institute for people and performance found that employees that are happy at work report being “on task” 80% of the time or 4 out of 5 days. Being on task 100% of the time k is unrealistic, so 80% is remarkably good. Unhappy employees? They report being on task only about 40% of the time or 2 out of 5 days.

7. Unhappy employees will rack up 50% more in health care expenses (and could reduce profits by 10%).

Unhappy employees are more likely to show signs of sickness and fatigue in addition to emotional and physical strain. Conversely, happy employees are more able to deal with every day stress, feel more energetic, and have better overall health than their counterparts. This means, less sick days for the employee and more productivity for the company.

The good news is that finding out what makes your employees happy isn’t as hard as you may think. The best place to start is in the interview process, ask questions, get to know them, why they love what they do and what makes them get up in the morning. This simple starting strategy will get you started down a path of organically positive workplace culture that will continue to make your business thrive.