I’ve been lucky to find jobs that truly make me happy. From my first job at 16 as a parks and recreation playground leader, to helping workers in rural areas reskill after the economic downturn in 2008, to my current role as a Brand Strategist with exaqueo. My passion, energy, and enthusiasm have served me well over the past 10 years, and in turn have lead to a very happy and successful career.
I’m not naive, nor unrealistic. Of course, my career has never been full of 100% happy moments, but overall I look back fondly and know that I have been intentionally happy at work. When you “choose happy,” your perspective changes - in life and at work. When you look at your career choice with intention, I truly believe that it reflects who we are, or what we want to become. I understand a career provides fundamental needs, however - it doesn’t mean you have to be miserable doing it. You can be happy at work, seriously. Who would have thought? Choose a role that inspires you, and then look around your workplace. You’ll find the happy, if you choose to look for it.
Employees can be happy, if it is who they are and want to be.
At exaqueo, we work with clients to uncover details about employees through research. Not just what their skills and expertise meant to choosing their job, but what can we understand about each employee. Who are they as people, both at work and outside of it?
Have you ever asked someone what they like most about their job? Or better yet, ask them what they are really good at? In theory, what we are good at makes us happy. Furthermore, when we are able to bring our whole self to work we feel more complete and happy because we are truly being ourselves.
Our model focuses on the whole employee. Our CEO and founder Susan LaMotte explains it founder Susan LaMotte explains it here in Harvard Business Review.
Happy employees refer happy candidates:
“When companies allow their best and brightest to identify and reach out to possible candidates, they benefit from qualified, culture-matched candidates who have a personal connection to their company.” (Jobshakers)
Remember that feeling when you started a new job? The excitement of being selected, seeing the office, and being exposed to the culture. Capture that excitement by showcasing new hire happiness. Not only will you engage new hires, but you can showcase and remind current and future employees of that “new hire feeling.” A bit of wander and nostalgia is a beautiful thing! (← Click to tweet!)
Ask new employees to share their experience via your companies internal or external social tools. What hashtag defines their experience that you can promote? Encourage current employees to look back on their first day, offer advice, and contribute as well!
Happy employees help retention and business performance:
“A boost in creativity, productivity, and service quality have been directly linked to employee happiness and all serve a company’s bottom line. Happiness creates increased efficiency in the workplace and overall employee retention.” (5 Dynamics)
Have you ever heard a contagious laugh in the break room? Took a walk outside and noticed that same colleague who is smiling and embraces the 9-5? There is something about people who are happy, genuinely happy. We look to them when times get tough at work for a positive pick me up or perspective on how to keep finding happy in the mission when culture feels off or is changing too rapidly. It is human nature to build relationships, and they influence the way we think about work.
Affinity groups, knitting clubs, exercise groups at lunch, how do employees build relationships at work? Include these groups on your intranet and showcase what they do both internally and externally. Employees can spend a third or more of their life at work, so consider how you can help them be happy at their home away from home.
Help employees feel connected and find their tribe. When it’s about who they are, it builds happiness and improves business. (← Click to tweet!)
Writer Annie Dillard famously spoke, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” You have happy employees at work, so take the time to get to know them and understand their story. Happiness is not overrated, it is foundational to how we choose to see life, live and work. Do your employer brand a favor and showcase authentic, happy employees. It is beautiful.
Sarah Thacker (@sarah_m_thacker) is an Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research and recruiting strategy offerings.