Happiness at Work – Who’s Responsible?

It’s human nature to want to be part of something important and to feel relevant and uniquely needed. After years in our careers those desires get sanded down a bit and replaced by confidence, armour and some healthy reality.

In an economy like this, where we have an employers market, there’s less focus on retaining employees, career development, team building, and succession planning… though we’ve seen reports that employee happiness contributes ROI. Well, except for the Digital space.

I ran across this shining example of a new company who is committed to its mission and has created an environment that cannot help but attract committed, high-achieving, positive people.

HealthTap.com, Palo Alto, CA

Sure, they have job descriptions to describe the skills they are looking for, but they also have illustrated clearly WHO they are looking for:

You’re passionate about what you do: Being passionate about everything we do – from coding to creative design to building our physician community – ensures we’re always at our best.

You have a change-the-world-attitude: Everyone likes to talk about changing the world, but we’ve got the special kind of excitement, capability, and dedication to make it happen.

You want to build a great company with us: It’s a lot more exciting to be the one who shapes and builds a truly great company where people love to work than to just hear people talk about how they did it later.

You are adventurous: It’s about the journey, and not just the destination. It’s important to take risks with a fearless spirit, and to embrace successes and failures in the spirit of learning.

And let’s not forget the silly pictures of everyone in casual attire with dogs and babies in the office. In the Bay Area where the market is reversed, where it’s a employees market, and talent jumps from place to place, it’s a completely different paradigm. This company is about the people, about helping people and about passion. But if they have constant role changes, managers who don’t gain consensus, or excessive stress this passion isn’t a guarantee for a happy staff.

It doesn’t come down to money. Research shows that sales, productivity, and accuracy increase when the team is happy. Where is the real stumbling block?

  • Companies still think it costs too much money to make employees happy?
  • They don’t feel responsible for employees happiness?
  • It’s too much effort to implement or measure?
  • They don’t know HOW to make employees happy?
  • Companies think employees should find ways to be happy

I believe it’s the last two. What creates happy employees is not free food or holiday bonuses. Employee engagement is not tangible and takes really understanding the culture you have created and how that culture changes from year to year. The company can only create the environment, the flavor is added by the staff.

Ultimately, in life and in work, we are all responsible for making the most of our lives and work, for our happiness, continued training and succession planning. When you rely on yourself, you make it happen. Discover what you need at work to make you happy. You be the difference.