It’s a no-brainer that happier employees are more engaged with their work and deliver better customer service, but how can you bring more happiness to your workplace? (Hint: the answer isn’t “just pay them more.”)
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, owes a lot of his success to centering his company around a culture of employee happiness. Zappos may be a corporate giant, but Hsieh’s advice remains relevant for smaller businesses as well. In Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, he outlines four concepts central to employee happiness:
“Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself).”
Let’s break these down one by one:
1. A sense of control If you work really hard on something, you deserve recognition, right? Employees like to feel they are in control of their work evaluation to some degree. If a waiter frequently turns tables of complaining customers into loyal fans, this person should be recognized and rewarded. Rewards don’t have to be monetary - sometimes a simple “thanks for your hard work” goes a long way!
2. A sense of progress Work doesn’t need to cure cancer in order to be meaningful - it just has to matter to the person doing it. Even small wins can boost work satisfaction tremendously. This idea is backed up by a 2011 Harvard Business Review study called “The Power of Small Wins.” The study suggests even small sensations of progress cause incredible positive effects on emotions and motivation.
3. Connectedness It helps to surround yourself with happy people. Lots of them. According to a 2011 medical study cited by Scientific American, happiness is contagious:
Researchers looked at twenty years' worth of data on more than 5,000 individuals and found that when any one person was happy, their friends became more likely to share that joy. Benefits spread out to three degrees of separation, meaning a better chance at happiness for not only their friends' friends, but also their friends' friends' friends.
If you can find ways to spread cheer among a few, chances are the cheer will spread.
4. Vision and Meaning People love to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Be sure to clearly identify the vision of your business and what’s important. Hopefully, it’s about more than just making money.
What are you doing to bring joy to the lives of your employees and coworkers? Have you found specific techniques work better than others?