New Impact Achievement Group Article Confirms Employee Happiness Does Not Equal Productivity

SEATTLE, Dec. 6, 2011— The latest research-based article from Impact Achievement Group reveals that employers continue to cling to the notion that happy employees are productive employees—which is why many morale and recognition programs continue to fail.

The article “The Morale and Motivation Myth … No Strings Attached!” uses findings from a recent survey of human resource professionals to gauge current beliefs about the role happiness or employee engagement play in retention and productivity. In the survey, 85 percent of participants believed that increasing employee morale and happiness is the critical path to higher employee productivity. For over 40 years the tenet that “happy employees are productive employees” has been the driving force for employee motivation practices and management training—despite clinical evidence to the contrary.

Consequently, recognition and reward programs continue to fail to engage and retain employees. The 2011 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey revealed that although 80 percent of organizations have a recognition program, less than a third of human resource professionals believe that employees are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive for doing a good job. And the latest Gallup survey shows that only 29 percent of employees are engaged—leaving 71 percent of workers either non-engaged or actively disengaged.

Gallup’s assessment of engagement focuses on such factors as development opportunities, understanding of expectations, opportunities to do great work, and having one’s work acknowledged and validated. This confirms the decades-old pioneering work of psychologist Frederick Herzberg and supports Impact Achievement Group’s observation that happy employees are not necessarily productive—but productive employees are happy employees. 

“Rather than relying on poor performing external motivation programs, the focus should be on the development of managers’ performance leadership skills—the key variable for creating productivity and high morale in the workplace,” said Lee Klepinger, president of Impact Achievement Group. “Make employee happiness the end in itself—without any strings attached.”

The role of managers, then, is not to make morale programs work but to create meaningful opportunities for their employees. Impact Achievement Group’s survey participants stated that the top three elements leading to high performance and productivity were:

-effective coaching skills;
-employee growth and development; and
-performance accountability.

These three elements, clearly, cannot be delivered through rewards and recognition campaigns and morale-boosting programs.

To read more on this compelling topic, go to for a complimentary download of Impact Achievement Group’s article, “The Morale and Motivation Myth … No Strings Attached!”

About Impact Achievement Group
Impact Achievement Group is a training and performance management consulting company that provides assessments, coaching, story-based interactive workshops, and simulations for managers at all levels of organizations worldwide. Impact Achievement Group helps companies dramatically improve management and leadership competency for bottom-line results. Company experts Rick Tate and Julie White, Ph.D. are internationally recognized authorities in leadership development, human performance, customer-focused business strategies and workplace communications.

To find out how Impact Achievement Group can transform your managers into effective leaders, visit

Lee Klepinger

Heath Davis Havlick
Fisher Vista/HRmarketer