Happiness | Strategy
A recent article in Fast Company reports on one company’s efforts to measure and workshop happiness with employees and seeking to enhance it for them. Why? the benefits to any company of employee engagement, productivity, and retention are obvious – or rather, self-evident: The right to pursue Happiness is written into the Declaration of Independence, and since the workplace is in general a system of dependencies, the leadership strategy that recognizes value in happiness and invests in it stands to gain much for the organization.
Its interesting that happiness studies are gaining prominence in academia, such as Positive Psychology at Harvard; some towns like Somerville, Mass. have polled their residents on their happiness as well as their satisfaction in living there; and the result of a nationwide survey determined that the happiest person in the US would be Asian American, owning a business, Jewish, and living in Hawaii…
But for those of us on the mainland, apart from consuming happiness (think cat videos), more and more individuals seek to do happiness (think yoga). A wonderful kind of happiness leadership is lived by graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, who espouses time off and creative play in several of his TED talks. But the happiness workshops like the one led by described in the Fast Company article above is a less exotic tactic that created a buzz of interest amongst employees – and those who participated came away happier.
At its simplest, the happiness increases through a simple act of recognition. People are glad to work, but it isn’t just work that makes them happy.
We know this from its opposite, as from Mad Men:
Don (yelling): It’s your job! I give you money, you give me ideas!
Peggy (loudly): And you never say thank you
Don (louder): That’s what the money’s for!
*special thanks to Lori Greene. Check out her greeneflash Tumblr blog
photos by Jeffrey Marino