Archive for happiness@work

What Would Increased Happiness Do for Your Business?

Ashland Food Co-op Montage

“Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees. —Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

This summer, I worked with the Ashland Food Co-op on its groundbreaking Happiness@Work project—because they DIDN’T forget about the importance of a positive culture when things seemed to be going astray. The project was born out of tension between departments and between managers and their employees as well as a volatile debate around whether or not to unionize. Capiche was selected for this project by the Co-op’s Happiness@Work Team, which comprises board members, the general manager and representatives from the newly formed Employee Alliance.

Co-op General Manager Emile Amarotico says, “The positive impact this work has had on employee engagement in implementing solutions they’ve designed can’t help but permeate through fellow employees within the organization. It’s great that we’re making strides toward a happy workplace and have solutions being designed and implemented, but people can’t forget that the results also will include more productivity, happier customers and an atmosphere with a vibe that more people want to participate in.”

Known for its focus on happiness at work, Capiche applies the scientific research on happiness to real-world applications. “It’s fun to see where the theory starts to impact the actual workings, the mechanics of the organization,” Emile says.

Ashland Food Co-op Farmers Gathering ProduceAlong with trusted colleague John Bowling of Sustainable Leadership Consultants, Capiche started with an organizational assessment from Happiness Works and then created opportunities for employees at all levels to provide suggestions using an appreciative inquiry process. We gathered information about what employees valued most about their work at the Co-op and discovered areas that offered opportunities for improvement. Key topics that emerged were communication and cooperation, learning and development and renewal and stress management.

With this information, the Happiness@Work Team empowered three volunteer Solutions Teams (comingling managers and employees from various departments) to create and develop solutions around these key topics with the vision of making the Co-op a better place to work. These groups met for five months and, in the process of focusing on growth opportunities, also developed strong cross-department and cross-employment–level relationships. This promoted greater understanding and empathy among all involved.

Ashland Food Co-op Farmer in the FieldWith support from the Board of Directors and management team, these solutions are in the process of being implemented. This process is fully aligned with the Co-op’s mission and vision, which includes “joyfully working together, providing a workplace that fosters opportunities for participation, empowerment and growth in an environment of mutual respect and cooperation.”

Emile adds, “I would recommend Capiche to any organization that is truly committed to engaging with the nerve system of their organization with the intention of creating positive change.”

Happiness and wellbeing at work are possible wherever people are clear about and honor their values, vision and mission. Employee and customer loyalty, creativity, innovation, teamwork and ultimately positive business results follow employee happiness and engagement.

Please share your success stories or let me know if you would like to talk about how to align your mission with your culture to bring more happiness and business success to your workplace.

What Do You Expect from Your Job?

Our Values and Culture, Wegmans

Really? Is this a valid question?

The business world is changing along with our expectations. More than ever, we are looking to work for an organization with vision and values that align with our own. We are seeking a sense of purpose in what we do and how we do it.

Think about your own work. What really matters to you? Why do you do what you do?

I think it all boils down to happiness and a sense of wellbeing. Start with a question like, “Why do you do what you do?” You may get the answer, “Because I like to help people [fill in the blank].” Then ask, “Why do you like to help people [fill in the blank]?” And keep asking, keep drilling down. I bet you will finally get to an answer that sounds something like, “Because it makes me happy.” Yep. People do what they do in pursuit of happiness.

But what makes people happy? What feeds a state of wellbeing?

In his book Flourish, positive psychology’s grandfather Marty Seligman states that it’s the combination of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement. Sounds reasonable.

But wait. It’s health, wealth, relationships, happiness and meaning, according to bestselling author and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. Yeah, that sounds reasonable, too.

And Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says it’s a combination of perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness and having a sense of vision and meaning in one’s work—being a part of something bigger than oneself. I can get on board with that as well.

The good news is that in the last several years, we’ve seen more and more examples of businesses of all shapes and sizes taking employee wellbeing and happiness into account—even putting it front and center. And they’re not all progressive tech giants like Google, Apple or Facebook. Happy companies are everywhere and every size.

Just look at Fortune’s Top Companies to Work For 2013. I’ll admit I’m proud to say little old Wegmans Food Markets is at position number five. I say I’m proud because Wegman’s was started in Rochester, NY, where I hail from. And while it’s not a Mom and Pop store anymore, it maintains that quality while offering an astounding shopping experience. For me, one of the best parts about visiting “home” is getting to grocery shop at “Weggies.”

What’s so great about Weggies? According to Fortune, “Turnover is an exceptionally low 3.6% at the Northeastern grocery chain, which lets employees reward one another with gift cards for good service. Many workers like it there so much they bring in relatives—one in five employees are related.” And the story goes that when Cher was in town for a concert, part of her VIP treatment included an exclusive visit to Wegman’s.

What about your work makes you happy? What helps you flourish? What inspires your creativity and fuels your desire to give a little more? Please let us know—reply to this blog! We will all benefit.