Do not focus on making your employees happy

The American Declaration of Independence famously speaks of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Within the Employee Engagement world, it is consistently reported that a happy workforce leads to a successful company. Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%. This is a great statistic and companies should, of course, be seeking to create a working environment where their employees feel happy, but is placing the emphasis on happiness alone misguided?

Many companies already use a variety of tactics to improve the wellbeing of employees. Flexible working hours, a games room, social events, key insurances, and of course the regularly sought after salary increase are common in businesses of all sizes. These efforts can be effective in making your employees happy, but the trouble is that they only provide an adrenalin shot, then that happy feeling quickly fades.

The danger is that happiness can lead to stagnation. For example, you may have an employee whose current happiness is defined by how many hours they can kill wasting time on their phone without anyone noticing. It’s unlikely that this happiness will be long lived, but nevertheless, it creates an undesirable position for a company to be in. Of course, it must also be noted that there are a number of external influences that a company cannot affect, the death of an employee family member being one such example.

Improve Employee Engagement

For most people, happiness can be something of a bumpy road. Some of us hit a few more potholes than others, but it’s normally those who have clarity of the direction they’re heading who are likely to dust themselves down and get back on the right track faster.

So if you want a happy workforce, it’s time you focused on the ‘controllables’. Happiness is a by-product of many elements and in reality, the American Declaration of Independence would be better placed as Life, Happiness and the Pursuit of Liberty. Why? Liberty is defined as ‘the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions’. If your employees can achieve this, they will be well on the way to being happy.

So what are the ‘controllables’? We have identified purpose or meaning, emotional security, recognition, and positive connections as being fundamental controllables for a happy workforce.

Purpose (meaning)

  • A recent study conducted by a team led by Dr Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at University of North Carolina, examined self-reported levels of happiness and meaning, and the results were alarming: a whopping 75% of subject participants scored high on levels of happiness, but low on levels of meaning.
  • A recent New York Times survey, which reached more than 12,000 employees across a broad range of companies and industries, found that 50% of those questioned report a lack a level of meaning and significance at work.
  • Employees who have meaning don’t just stick around longer; they also report 1.7 times higher job satisfaction, and are 1.4 times more engaged at work.
  • A Stanford research project, asked nearly 400 Americans whether they thought their lives were happy, meaningful, or both. The project found that respondents’ understanding of each term, in part, was based around how each relates to social interactions. Happiness is associated with being a “taker,” focusing on what one gets from others. Meaningfulness, in contrast, comes from being a “giver” and suspending one’s desires in return for a fair amount of self-sacrifice.
  • In fact, researchers conducting a longitudinal studyfound that people who demonstrate a sense of purpose in their lives have a 15% lower risk of premature death.
  • “It would be possible to describe everything scientifically…but it would make no sense, it would be without meaning as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.” Albert Einstein on the limitations of scientific description.

Improve Employee Engagement

TOP TIP! Having a ‘purpose’ for most is not normally a dramatic ‘bolt from the sky’ inspirational event. Individuals quite often lack purpose purely because there is a disconnect between ‘what’ the individual is doing in their work, and ‘why’ they are doing it.  

Hold a brainstorming session with your team and ask them to suggest all the different ways that their job could have a positive impact on people’s lives. Once completed, find ways to imbed these suggestions into their daily working lives.

Emotional Security

  • Scientists have found that when we’re in a group of people who all have something in common, the ‘herd mentality’ or sense of belonging causes a rise in our levels of the happiness hormone serotonin.
  • People tend to experience the highest rise in levels of the hormone most responsible for the fight or flight response (cortisol) occurs from various types of threat, be it to our person, our sense of social acceptance, our self esteem and social status.

TOP TIP! Employees perform best when they feel they’re in a safe environment so developing a culture where employees are able to speak about their problems is imperative. For example, one of our Core Values are CB Financial is: 

Openness. We have an open and honest work environment where all subjects, be it personal, or operational, are open for discussion through the right channels. It’s important that our employees never hesitate to speak about a problem that they are experiencing for fear of the response from their colleagues or our clients.


  • When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “give recognition”
  • 70% of employees feel that gamification would not be a positive addition to recognition
  • 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciatedImprove Employee Engagement
  • Only 14% of organisations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition
  • 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction
  • Companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover

Improve Employee Engagement


Recognition is one of the easiest things for senior management to do well.   As individuals we like certainty, but also variation. It’s important to deliver recognition with both of these in mind:

  • Certainty – Have clear, realistic Key Performance Indicators, and reward individuals or the team collectively for meeting their targets.
  • Variation – Be spontaneous. If individuals or the team has done well, treat them. Maybe a voucher, or taking the team out for a few drinks.

Lastly, don’t just reward the best performers, also reward individuals for development and improvement.

Positive Connections

  • A new study conducted on a large population (more than 800 people) found that stress did not predict mortality in those who helped others, but it did in those who did not.
  • Another telling study showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure, whereas strong social connections lead to a 50 percent increased chance of longevity.
  • Kindness makes us happier. On a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we get is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, so we get a natural high, often referred to as a ‘Helper’s High’. In fact, people who perform a single kind act a day for ten days have reported experiencing a significant increase in overall happiness when compared to those who don’t.
  • It has also been noted that kindness can have a physical effect. Witnessing, performing, and being on the receiving end of kind acts can lead to calmness, relaxation, less headaches, eased pain, lower blood pressure and increased energy levels.

Improve Employee Engagement

TOP TIP! Organise social and team events out of the office. Not all your team members will have the same interests or will be at the same stage of their life so make sure individuals don’t always feel excluded.

Timed team activities during working hours can be a great stress relief. At CB Financial, we hold a quiz every Friday, which creates a lot of laughter and banter.

If you commit to building a culture that integrates all of the above at your company, you are going to see dramatic effects on your staff happiness, and your company success. Trust, support and believe in your employees and they will replay you tenfold.

So how do you get started?

One of the best ways to begin improving the happiness of your staff is to conduct a comprehensive Employee Engagement Survey. These surveys provide the opportunity to find out the current health of your employee engagement and the general level of employee happiness in your company.

One of the big problems with the majority of Employee Engagement Surveys is that they focus on what ‘you the company’ are doing for your employees rather than obtaining a clear picture of what employees are doing for themselves. Knowing what employees are doing is essential, as ‘you can lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink.’

Our Employee Engagement Surveys cover all key areas. This includes an understanding of your employees’ habitual and emotional behaviours. This understanding will be essential to creating a culture within your organisation that exceeds that of your competitors.

We usually charge £2995 for our survey, but for a short time only (and exclusively for our readers) we are offering it at the reduced fee of £1445.

We manage the whole survey process from start to finish. This includes:

  • An initial consultation with you
  • Surveying your employees
  • Results reported directly to you
  • A workable proposal of the areas and strategies for improving your engagement

Don’t wait until your star employee hands in their notice, book our survey today and help your employees perform better with improved employee engagement.



The cost of disengaged employees

Just how much are disengaged employees costing your business?

And how you can increase your productivity by 45%!

Are your employees all working towards a clear company vision? Do they bounce into work every morning filled with a sense of purpose and optimism about what the day has in store? And do they leave at the end of the day with an overwhelming sense of fulfilment, knowing they’ve contributed towards delivering a service or product of the highest quality that has made a difference?

Increase your productivity

The reality

If that doesn’t sound like your business, then according to a survey by Gallup, you’re not alone. The reality is that in the UK, research has shown that:

  1. Employees believe that they would be as much as 45% more productive if they were doing a job they loved, and 28% more productive with better training.
  2. But the truth is, only 15% of UK workers consider themselves ‘highly motivated’, with 24% admitting to ‘coasting’, only 17% doing their ‘dream job’ and 8% feeling ‘completely demotivated’.
  3. Teams with disengaged employees sell 20% less than teams with highly engaged workers and disengaged employees make 100 times more errors than their engaged colleagues.
  4. 84% of employees would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent reputation.
  5. Disengaged employees cost their employers between £3,400 and £10,000 in wasted salary!The Reality

The real cost to your business

The above statistics are frightening. The UK has the worst figures in Europe for disengaged employees and it’s likely that businesses like yours are contributing towards a total £52-£70 billion per year in lost productivity. And it’s not just productivity that’s affected.

The customer experience impact

Customers make their decision to continue doing business with companies based on the level of service that they receive. As businesses, we love it when a relatively junior member of staff makes our life easier because they’re empowered to fix issues or add value.

Well, so does the employee! Some years ago, David Lloyd Leisure were fortunate enough to have quarterly club member satisfaction surveys and staff engagement surveys. They wanted to know whether there was a relationship between the two sets of data and commissioned some analysis.

Guess what? There was a strong positive correlation between clubs with satisfied members and those with engaged and happy staff.

Engaged and happy staff

More recently, Serco demonstrated a direct relationship between employee engagement and the Net Promoter Score (a measure of customer loyalty). Contracts serviced by employees whose engagement had improved over the year had NPS scores 24% higher than those employees whose engagement had declined.

The retention impact

The number one reason employees leave organisations is a lack of recognition and purpose. The cost of replacing an employee is likely to be at least one-fifth of their salary if not more. Yet 65% of employees do not feel recognised for what they achieve at work.

The profit impact

A UK government report recently demonstrated the financial downside of disengaged employees. Companies with low engagement scores have an operating income that is 33% lower than companies with high engagement. And companies with an engaged workforce experience a 19% growth in operating income over a 12-month period.

The absenteeism impact

Staff member sickness not genuine In 2013, PwC reported that sick days cost UK organisations nearly £29 billion a year. And a CBI report estimates that around 12% of UK sickness absence is fraudulent.

And if your business is struggling with absenteeism the result is:

  • the remaining, engaged, team members have to cover for their colleagues, often suspecting that the sickness is not genuine
  • managers are often reluctant to hold those ‘difficult conversations’ so the issue goes on for far longer than it should.

And then of course there’s just those employees who are present but who aren’t getting stuff done. Disengaged employees spend much more time simply not working. Instead, they chat, take breaks, surf the internet and play games on their phones etc.

Disengaged employees

But just imagine if you could turn things around and engage your workforce


Engage your workforce

Imagine if your employees felt driven, focused and excited about taking your business forward. How much of an impact would that have on your company’s productivity, morale and customer service?

Engaging your employees – a 10 step guide

It’s not easy to tackle the disengaged employee problem. And there may not be a quick fix. But it is possible. And by focusing on ways to raise engagement levels, you will create a culture in which your employees want to come to work, as well as a more successful business.

Here is our 10-step guide to tackling employee engagement:

A 10 step guide

  1. Ensure that employee engagement shapes the whole employee experience, starting from pre-recruitment. Make sure you identify your company values and mission and that these are clearly communicated. Your values will form the foundation of your business, so it’s important that the communication is more than just a written communication handed out in your company handbook. A great suggestion is to get your employees involved in forming your company values.
  1. Have an employee engagement plan. Somewhere that your employees can record ideas, feedback and initiatives.
  1. Ensure you have an employee engagement process so that employees know that they’re important to you. Provide a regular setting to address your employees’ suggestions and a strategy for implementing them. This is a great example of listening and recognition in action.
  1. Make sure your employees have a sense of purpose in what they do and that they understand the context in which they operate. Include them at the front end of project planning and involve them with business goals, challenges and issues.
  1. Trust and empower your employees. Consider giving them extra responsibilities or the ability to make decisions and to be creative in how they approach a problem or project. Allow them to demonstrate their initiative and to shine!
  1. Recognise employees when they do something great – whether that’s customer service, coming up with an idea, beating a deadline or just completing a significant project which required lots of leg work.
  1. Ask your employees for feedback frequently and make sure they can provide it freely and honestly. There should be a number of different channels for your employees to do this because not all will feel comfortable providing honest feedback in the same way. Make sure you know how they feel about working for you and more importantly, make sure you act on any insights!
  1. Ask your customers or clients for regular feedback and again, act on any insights!
  1. Measure the results of your customer and employee feedback regularly.

10.You may have a great product or service, but it’s up to you to build a work environment where your employees feel valued,     empowered, inspired and motivated. Make this your mission.

It all starts with you

It starts with youIt may seem like utopia, but you can have a workplace which your employees are excited to be part of. And it will have an impact on morale, productivity and customer service. If you do nothing else this week towards improving your business and your employee engagement levels, then take time to consider the following:

  • Your company culture is absolutely key. If you haven’t already, review and refine this now so that you can articulate it to your employees. Better still, ask for their input.
  • Your employees will perform better and be more engaged if they feel they have a purpose. How can you make sure that yours do?
  • The first place to start is to find out where you are as a company and the most effective way to do this is to ask your employees.

So, when did you last ask your employees how they feel?

When did you ask your employees how they feel?


CB Financial offer an Employee Engagement Survey. We normally charge £2,995 but for a short time only (and just for our readers), we are offering it at the reduced fee of £1,445.

Our surveys manage the whole process from start to finish and they include:

  • An initial consultation with you
  • Surveying your employees
  • Results reported directly to you
  • A workable proposal of the areas and strategies for improving your engagement

Why wait until that your star employee hands in their notice? Book our survey today and help your employees perform better.

Book our survey









Financial Planning – Are you a risk taker or risk adverse?

Are you a risk take?

Are you a risk take?

So you think you’re not emotional about money

Your attitude towards money is likely to be based on a number of things which may include past events, personal beliefs or preferences. And did you know that when you make a decision, research has now shown that it’s based at first instance on emotions rather than rational thinking. All of which can be bad news for your finances.

So how does that effect your finances and future?

Your emotions or beliefs may unconsciously dictate how you manage your portfolio and investments. That may mean assessing future performance against recent performance even if there are warning signals to sell up. Or it may mean sticking with something that your family has invested in for generations even if it’s performing badly. Or it may just mean that more risky but high gain investments are not for you because all the worry gives you an ulcer.

Being over confident doesn’t help either as you may be more likely to make rash and unrealistic investments or under estimate potential losses.

So how do you know and what should you do?

Cue sound financial planning and advice by someone who can use psychometric testing to work out your attitude to risk and then adjust your portfolio and investment strategy accordingly. It should be a key part of your financial planning process and if you and your advisor understand how you react, you can both manage your reactions and your portfolio more effectively and more successfully. It’s not rocket science but it can make the difference between a gloomy or bright looking future.

Don’t get all emotional, call us today and let’s work out your attitude to risk and investments

Take stock of your finances

When did you last take stock of your finances?

You know, a proper audit and analysis of your business and personal assets? And not just your bank accounts and the value of your house, property or business but a long hard look at your investments and other assets too. Do you know what your assets are worth or whether they’re going to be worth what you think they are? Or are you missing a trick with your assets or worse still, are they slowly decreasing in value?

Do your investments go up and down?

You probably hear that phrase often enough but have you thought how it may affect you? Do you have a clear idea of how your investments have performed over the last few years or any projections in respect of the future? Have you checked your pension lately to see whether it would be better invested elsewhere or are you one of the 30% of UK pension holders who has a zombie pension and is going to wake up at retirement to find an unexpectedly empty pension pot?

Don’t let money drain out through the gaps in your finances

Is there an invisible hole in your pocket?

Is there an invisible hole in your pocket?

A little time spent identifying those gaps in your finances which could be haemorrhaging money is surely a no brainer? Investigating your assets and alternative investment strategies may not be something that you have the time or the expertise for, but an experienced financial planner should be able to do that all for you, without charging the earth. In fact a good financial planner will support and assist you with your financial planning and strategies so that your personal and business goals dovetail together. And that means stopping the gaps, plugging the holes and creating a strategy for growth not an increasingly empty pocket.

Don’t wake up to an empty pocket, call us today

Planning for retirement – What do you want out of life?

Do you have a clear idea of what you want? For example do you want to grow your business and take it to the next level or sell your business perhaps, retire early and sail off round the world? Or do you just have a certain idea of what you want your future to look like? Your dream and your vision!

More importantly, have you ever thought about what you need in order to achieve those dreams? You know the money part…what your assets are worth now and how much will they be worth in the future? In other words what do you need to achieve financially in order to follow your dreams?

As the old saying goes…

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there? And the saying is as applicable to your financial goals as it is to any other goals you may have. Understanding what you need to achieve financially and setting some financial goals is a significant part of achieving success and you know what else? Working out what you’ve got now, are going to need in the future and making sure you achieve it, doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.

Goals are the key to your dreams, just ask Iceland!

Goals are the key to your dreams, just ask Iceland!

Move over Roy, goals aren’t that hard!

Actually, with the right help, it’s a straight forward, step by step process that a good financial planner with the right software can guide you through. It involves working out what you want, what gaps there are in your finances and the right way of plugging those gaps and achieving your goals. No endless spreadsheets or sleepless nights, no guess work, no unpleasant surprises when you wake up on retirement day.

So go on, call us today and start dreaming

Employee Benefits…Make plans for life after work

How are you feeling?

How are you feeling?

How are you feeling?

Not great huh? There is nothing worse than not feeling well. Whether it’s full blown man flu that lays you up in bed for a week or whether it’s simply a nagging feeling that something’s not right. In fact that’s almost worse isn’t it? Knowing you’re ill but not knowing what’s wrong and not being able to get the right treatment. That feeling of dread. Nobody wants to feel that. And when it comes to work, that means your mind is not on the job, you may have to take time off and your anxiety and stress levels have probably gone through the roof!

It’s at times like these

It’s at times like these that medical insurance and company health schemes make a real difference. That might just be by providing your employees with peace of mind or it may be by making sure they get that appointment and treatment as and when they need it. But the chances are as their boss, in the long run, it’s going to save you a whole lot of sick pay and heartache.

Little things mean a lot

Getting decent medical insurance and health schemes in place should be part of the core benefits that you offer employees when they join your team. And they don’t have to be expensive or hard to set up.

We do all the hard work for you at CB Financial. From identifying the best schemes to putting them in place and explaining them all to your staff. All you need to do is to get in touch with us today on 01483 881111. Make their health a priority and they’ll thank you. And if the worst does happen, you’ll be doubly pleased that you did.


Auto Enrolment…..Ask Us How

Where’s your dream holiday?

Or perhaps it’s not a dream holiday. Perhaps you dream of spending your retirement on the French Riviera, on a beach in Spain or on a non-stop, lifelong cruise! Travel is something we nearly all dream of and can and should be part of your retirement plans.

But in order to make that happen (and there’s every reason why it should and could happen), you do have to plan for your retirement. When you’re young it may seem a long way off, and planning may not seem fun, but if you don’t, the nearest you’ll get to your dreams, is looking at faded photos in a magazine, as you wait for your local bus home.

Make plans for life after work...

Make plans for life after work…

Give your employees a helping hand with their dreams

Auto Enrolment is all about doing just that. Giving your employees a helping hand with their retirement. And in fact, you don’t have a choice. You have to comply with the rules or you’ll get fined. And as it’s something you have to do, why not make the most of the situation. Make sure you get the best possible pension, work out if you can afford to contribute a little more than the minimum required and ensure that your employees really get on board with it too. In other words, help them to start planning their dreams!

Get a little excited

Ok. It’s not easy to get excited about employee pensions. Unless it’s us here at CB Financial, because we get excited all the time on your behalf. Because when your staff start to feel valued and financially secure, guess what? The whole working environment gets a little more dynamic. And that can only be good news.

And it doesn’t have to be hard work to get the best out of Auto Enrolment. We do all that for you. But you do need to get in touch with us today on 01483 881110 and take the first step towards living the dream!


Employee Benefits…..Benefit Employers

Everybody loves shopping, don't they?

Make plans for life after work

Everybody loves shopping, don’t they?

Even if you don’t, sometimes it just has to be done, for those all-important essentials. And I bet if you told your employees that they could go shopping and you’d pay, they’d take your arm off! They’d certainly think twice about going to work for someone else.

That’s the point behind employee’s benefits and giving your employee something that actually matters to them. A decent benefits package is chosen and fine-tuned to do that just.

So what works for your team?

Would your employees love money off or cash back rewards at different shopping outlets and restaurants? Shops where they actually have to or want to shop like mother and baby shops, bike shops, clothes and department stores or dry cleaning outlets? Or would a coffee shop voucher and help with the cost of a cinema ticket be what they’re after?

Offer your employees a package that actually means something and they feel appreciated. Of course they do, it’s human nature. And people who feel appreciated, give more back. And for you that means that they’re happier, loyal and probably work harder too! There’s a stake of research that backs that up but it’s just common sense!

So help them make plans

Show your appreciation. Get a package of employee benefits in place that your staff love! It doesn’t have to be shopping and we’ll come and talk to you about what would work best for your team. And it doesn’t have to be hard work, because we do all that bit for you. But get in touch with us today on 01483 881110 and start giving more…and getting more back!


Employee pensions. Because they’re worth it.

Employee pensions

How will you be remembered? With fondness or with loathing?

Employee pensions. Because they’re worth it.

We cannot hide from the fact that we’re living longer and the cost of living and old age is increasing. It’s even been described as a crisis. And it’s definitely a source of enormous worry for a lot of people, young and old and that probably includes some of your staff.

But why does that matter now?

  1. It matters because financially stressed employees are not serving you well.
  2. It matters because it’s the law to have a workplace pension and if you don’t comply you could face a fine or worse.
  3. It matters because when you put in place a decent workplace pension, it shows that you value your staff and their futures. And if you value them, there’s a big chance they might value you.

And it’s making a difference

The tide is turning and auto-enrolment is a big part of that process. In 2014 the Pensions Policy Institute concluded that “Automatic enrolment could more than double the numbers saving in defined contributions schemes by 2030” and that could mean “up to 15 million people actively saving in private sector workplace schemes, with up to 8.5 million of these newly saving, and up to £495 billion in defined contribution assets”.

And that makes a difference not just to the here and now and how stressed or not your employees are, but to our future economy and the bigger picture. If you want to be remembered with fondness by your employees as they head off into retirement on the cruise liner of their dreams, you need to act now and get your auto-enrolment sorted. It’s not just about making the minimum contribution, it’s about making a difference.

Call us today on 01483 881110 for a fresh look at retirement

Visit our Employee Benefits page for more information or connect with us on Facebook