Summarised from Working for Happiness by Alex Frankel.
Over two years, journalist Alex Frenkel worked a diverse range of jobs to explore the connection between corporate culture and happiness at work – UPS, Starbucks, Gap, Enterprise and an Apple Store. He discovered three secrets to a happy workplace:
1. Go for flow
- Autonomy to manage one’s own tasks and timelines.
- Measure on what was done (outcomes); not micro-managing the how.
- Enable pride in accomplishments.
2. Foster authenticity
- Encourage and allow employees to be themselves.
- Fake culture = fake employees. Trying too hard to formalise a culture can create fakeness.
- Enable employees to own their own version of your culture. Instead of forcing a strictly-constrained set of behaviours and beliefs.
- Create a sense of belonging “I had to feel that I could not only join the culture but also add to it.”
- Allow your culture to evolve organically as much as possible.
3. Find the right people
- “Selection … is the best way to create happy workers.”
- Find employees with passions that align with your culture.
- 6. Offer intrinsic rewards beyond money – a tribe or a cause.
“…there is a moment when you are working at that place when you feel alive, when you are no longer questioning and thinking about life on the outside, life before the job, life after the job. In that moment, you are the job. It's a rare, elusive feeling, I discovered. But it's the secret to happiness at work.”