Interest in cultivating workplace happiness has exploded in the past year, fueled by a 2010 Gallup report that shocked the business world.
Researchers found that just three in 10 American workers are engaged in their jobs and willing to do all they can to help their organizations and its leadership succeed.
Since the report came out, “a hyper-focus on restoring engagement has become a fully fledged movement in the U.S., with many companies committing themselves to boosting employee happiness as their chosen remedy,” writes Fast Company’s Mark C. Crowley in a must-read Q&A with Gallup CEO Jim Clifton.
Gallup worries that too many well-intentioned companies are approaching employee engagement all wrong.
“Like a doctor who’s made a dire diagnosis and then isn’t consulted for proper treatment, Gallup has grown alarmed that the pursuit of happiness so many leaders have embraced is a tonic that will not help businesses get better,” Crowley writes.
As it turns out, chasing happiness is complicated. Happy employees may be the goal, but happiness isn’t necessarily the way to get there. Nap times, Ping-Pong breaks and free snacks are fun, but they don’t build real workplace happiness.
building real happiness
Real happiness “is the joy we feel when we’re striving to fulfill our potential and accomplishing something significant,” say Gallup CEO Clifton.
There are no quick fixes or free lunches. Building a sustainable culture of workplace happiness takes long-term commitment. Clifton says employee happiness boils down to three things:
- a job that matches well to their strengths
- a boss who cares about their development
- a mission that gives them feelings of purpose
investing in the process: 4 approaches to workplace happiness
Here are four things you can do TODAY that work toward these goals.
1. Invest in process
Goals are great! But don’t get ahead of yourself. Remember to enjoy and be grateful for the process, even on days when you’re just getting started or on days that feel like setbacks.
“Outcomes are totally beyond your control,” says Srikumar Rao, author of Happiness at Work (Forbes). Outcomes may be, but processes are not. Instead of chasing an elusive happiness benchmark, invest in the process of cultivating workplace happiness. The process alone is a reward.
2. Discuss ideas, not gossip
[Tweet “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”]
Put the kibosh on your urge to gossip or even to listen to others gossip. Gossiping is, at best, a time-waster and, at its worst, exclusionary and destructive. Ultimately, this kind of chatter distracts from work and from the mission of your company.
Instead, encourage discussion of ideas. Ask questions. Seek advice. For inspiration, check out The Muse’s “30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters.”
3. Share the company story
Why does your company exist? Tell the story today, and think about how employees can tell it, too.
Make it a story that employees can share with pride and a sense of ownership.
Mercedes-Benz recently accomplished this across a geographically distributed franchise dealer network with more than 25,000 employees. Gareth Joyce, vice president of Customer Experience, told The Guardian how the automaker overhauled its workplace culture and customer service:
The first step in that process for Mercedes was giving each employee access to the company’s product.
“We got them into a Mercedes to take home, to show their families, their wives, their kids, their boyfriends and girlfriends, so that they could say: ‘This is the brand I represent. This is what I take pride in. …If they haven’t experienced it themselves, how are they going to sell it to anyone else with any passion?’”
4. Make someone else’s day
Whether you tell a coworker “thank you” for help on a project or a share a small gift like a gThankYou! Certificate of Gratitude, find a way to make someone else’s day. Be sure your gratitude is shared meaningfully and thoughtfully — an insincere “thank you” is worthless. Describe why you’re grateful— be specific! Even the smallest token of appreciation will make a big impression if it’s accompanied by a sincere effort to make a personal connection.
Not only will you be making someone else’s day, but there’s a good chance the recipient of your gratitude will feel emboldened to make someone else’s day, too. Kickstart the chain reaction of gratitude today!
For an in-depth guide to building a more grateful and happy workplace culture, download our FREE eBook, “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
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