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What Makes a Happy Company?

Six Questions to Build a Flourishing Workplace

What makes a happy company? There is a growing body of evidence that a happy person performs better and is more successful in the workplace. Whilst the evidence may not yet be conclusive, surely it is better to be happy at work than not?

A number of surveys have pointed toward what employees need in order to feel engaged in an organisation. Interestingly it often revolves around recognising the value of a good manager.

Then there is recent research from the field of positive psychology which is increasingly suggesting the importance of being happy at work and linking happiness to better performance. For managers and for organisations it is definitely worthwhilefinding ways to be happy at work.

We have summarised some of the main ideas from the emerging evidence into 6 questions we think are central to answering the question: “what makes a happy company?”

Here are our 6 questions to ask:

  1. Do you encourage people to get better at what they are already good at?
  2. To what extent do people identify with what the organisation is doing and feel their work is meaningful and of value?
  3. Do you build strong supportive relationships, and see friendship develop?
  4. How are people encouraged and is good work acknowledged and rewarded?
  5. Is how people behave as important as what they do?
  6. Does the environment encourage civil healthy working relationships?

Is This a Happy Company?

What makes a happy company?

You will notice that the obvious question “are people happy at work?” hasn’t been asked in the 6 questions above. That is because the 6 questions are intended to suggest what should be in place to then be able to answer the question “are people happy at work?”

Ultimately though that is the question you are trying to answer: Is this a Happy Company? If your answer is NO then it is likely that several of the areas probed in the 6 questions are not in place. What then should be done?

Take some time to think through each of the questions and the implications to you and your organisation. Everybody has a part to play in building a happy company, but managers more than others have the potential to make it happen, to make a difference.

Perhaps for all of us then the place to start is with ourselves? For example in our article: The Value Of A Good Manager: People Leave Managers Not Companies we suggested some clear advice on becoming a manager people want to work for.

What can a manager do? Creating a happy workplace is a noble and worthwhile idea in itself, but is happiness good for business? In our article: creating a happy workplace we take a look at how one business leader argues from his own experience of the impact of poor management why happiness makes business sense.

Don’t just take our word for it. Still got one minute and twenty four seconds to spare? Listen to Tom Peters on the wisdom of Sara Lawrence-Ligthfoot and Dee Hock…



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