Are you Happy?
G JayantH KumaR
When ever I go to any organization I search for happiness in the people I come across.
In educational institutions, factories, financial institutions happiness is a rare
commodity to be seen.
Do not say that “organizations are not set-up to make employees happy and we are not
running laughing clubs”. Even in ashrams and mutts, where monks are supposed to
experience divine bliss, I did not find happiness even among them.
It appears that in the near future or later we may find photos of happy people displayed
in museums, or history written about them, as if it is a thing of past.
Un-happiness due to job dissatisfaction is discouraging employees, professionals and
Industrialists to recommend their profession to their children.
You may enquire how many of your colleagues will suggest their job to their children.
How many of your colleagues want their children to work in the same organization.
Please do not say that organization X is a very good employer and have recruited
number of people, enquire whether the recruitment is because of expansion or because
of many have left the organization?
The fact that how many employees want their children to work for the same
organization will be a test sufficient to test the way organizations are run.
If we want organizations to be happy then employees should be happy, of course I am
not going to explore what makes employees happy, but here are few measures taken by
few companies to keep employees happy.
Asian Correspondent - Elmer W. Cagape
“Every Friday we have our Friday Drinks, a relaxing time of the week where we get to share
drinks and eat pies with colleagues after a hard week’s work.
I hear the practice is widely practiced in Australia so I thought it should be brought to Hong
Kong if it somehow makes employees feel good as they embark on their two-day break.
I read at The Standard that Standard Chartered Bank (not related companies) are allowing
employees to enjoy their birthdays by letting them take the day off (with pay of course).
Other employee benefits that will surely put a smile on our faces (if not yet enforced) include
paternity leave and “volunteer leave” to allow employees to work on community projects. There
should be many others apart from the typical Chinese New Year bonuses.
As for our Friday Drinks in the office, I am happy we are trying to emulate what others are
Makes me look forward to Fridays even more.”
Pete Ashdown, CEO of the internet service provider XMission, SALT LAKE CITY—
He is a small business owner who has managed to keep some of his employees around
for more than a decade. Pete Ashdown, CEO of the internet service provider XMission,
received an award for the 2009 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award. He attributes
his employees dedication to the business simply by how happy they are.
"Forcing someone to dress up in a suit and a tie may make them look more
professional, but it doesn't necessarily make them more happier and want to come to
work," said Ashdown.
Amy Lyman, chairwoman of the board of the San Francisco-based Great Place to
There are many ways a small business can improve morale, build loyalty and make
employees feel warm and fuzzy about where they work without hurting the bottom line.
And those low-cost perks can pay a business owner back many times over, said "Look
at turnover costs, recruiting costs (and) absenteeism that comes with diminished
loyalty," she said, "then think of the $100 here or the $200 there that you spend to help
employees feel connected to the company.
"I think there are always business owners who don't fully understand the human side of
business, and they may be the ones missing out on these benefits."
What keeps a telemarketer at the same job for 15 years?
Julianne Dalayanis Suarez Industries, the North Canton direct-marketing firm says
the longevity of employees at, speaks volumes about the value of making employees
"They're the most family-friendly employer you'll ever work for. I know that's what makes
me stay," said Dalayanis, the company's human resources director.
Bosses annually grill up dogs and burgers in the parking lot. There are fitness programs
on site, group activities to benefit charities and movie ticket giveaways. Call center
workers are treated to lunch twice a month; cold bottled water is kept on hand for
General manager Michael Giorgio said the perks are a recognition that each individual
contributes to the firm's success.
Stick to fundamentals
Marty Oppenheimer of Akron's SCORE chapter,While looking for inexpensive and
fun ways to build loyalty, don't overlook the foundation of any great work environment,
said where retired executives give free counsel to small businesses.
That's a clear job description, continuous education and opportunity for advancement,
and defined goals with rewards attached to them.
Employees who understand they have a stake in their company are also more likely to
At Innis Maggiore, an ad agency based in Canton, everyone attends "Client Cafe"
twice a month.
"Some employees — say, the administration staff or financial staff or office staff — don't
often get involved in the strategic or creative process with the client," President Dick
Maggiore said, "and this gives them that chance."
While clients have dedicated teams assigned to them, the luncheon gives a featured
client the opportunity to talk about products and services to all Innis Maggiore
"Since we're about innovation and ideas, we know insight can come from anyone at the
agency," Maggiore said.
Keep events exciting
Staff appreciation events are common — so much so that they can become predictable
and downright boring.
So A. David Anthony Salon + Spa tries to find ways to surprise its 34 employees each
Previous appreciation parties were based on the MTV Music Awards and the Academy
Awards, where employees were feted like celebrities, said Peggy Sinibaldi of the Lorain
Pre-dinner activities included walking down a red carpet and being interviewed on
camera about their accomplishments.
Last year, the employer spent far less but still got rave reviews for a party at a cooking
school, where a group cooking lesson was followed by management serving up the
"Because we're in a creative field, we want to do something creative to show our
appreciation for them," Sinibaldi said.
While you're thinking about what you can do for your employees, consider whether your
products or services can be marketed to another company's work force.
There are dry cleaners that pick laundry up on site. Health clubs that offer corporate
discount rates. Pharmacies that deliver to workplaces.
Everyone from financial advisers to yoga instructors can see whether there's enough
interest in one company to warrant on-site instruction-and the host company gets credit
for making life a little easier for its workers.
But not every perk is a good idea, warned Oppenheimer of Akron SCORE.
"Let's say you have a weekly lunch," Oppenheimer said. "Once you get it, you start to
expect it forever."
Then if the lunch has to be axed during a bad business cycle, employees may not look
fondly on the fact that it was provided at all. They'll only remember that it was taken
Lyman said there can be particularly bad feelings if the perk being withdrawn has been
incorporated into one's lifestyle.
For instance, working parents may come to depend on a sick child care center, where
the company picks up the tab for day care so the parent of an ill child can still go to
work. Others may come to rely on a fitness or weight-loss program.
"Those are the kinds of things you want to think about carefully when you put in place
because you don't want to pull away something people have come to depend on,"
But she also hopes bosses won't shy away from offering them.
"Those kinds of things are really in the employee's and the employer's best interest,"
she said. "They're win-win benefits."
Southwest's Secret to a Positive Corporate Culture: Its Employees
In an industry plagued with struggles to make profits and to keep employees and customers
happy, Southwest Airlines has been profitable for an industry-record 33 continuous years. It
enjoys a total market value that exceeds that of the other Fortune 500 airlines combined. So,
what's the secret of its success? It's simply people at the heart of the company.
Southwest Airlines has built its culture and its reputation from the inside out. It values a happy
workforce, and believes that its 32,000 satisfied employees will keep customers coming back.
Since its beginnings as a small, three-jet airline, Southwest's leadership, including co-founder
and current board chairman Herbert D. Kelleher and president Colleen Barrett, has relied on
company values — concern, respect, and caring for employees and customers — to define it.
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Barrett says that "Southwest likes to think of itself as a customer service organization that
happens to fly airplanes." In fact, one of the attributes that
Southwest looks for in employment candidates is a "servant's
Southwest's hiring and training process is unique and one of the
chief ways that the airline advances its corporate culture.
Southwest looks for people with the right "spirit," and will hire for
attitude and train for skills. For example, with flight attendant
candidates, Southwest conducts group interviews to observe how
the applicants interact with other people, and considers this a strong indicator of how future
employees will interact with and treat customers. It's an effective mechanism to quickly spot
talent that will positively add to the company's culture, reputation, and long-term success.
Additionally, Southwest sees the importance of building and sustaining strong internal
relationships. They believe in promoting from within and providing employees the opportunity
to grow and learn from one another. Everyone at Southwest understands the role each
individual plays and how each and every employee contributes to the company's success.
Information flows freely between employees and leadership, and this is especially important in
an industry as heavily unionized as the airline industry. With 87.7 percent of their workforce
unionized, these unclogged lines of communication are truly amazing.
Southwest empowers its managers and front-line staff – those who deal daily with the
customers – to act as "problem solvers," often making decisions on the spot that can save the
relationship with a customer. In the airline industry, a company is
only as good as its customers' last travel experience. Ginger
Hardage, Southwest's senior vice president for corporate
communication, recently told participates at a BCLC conference a
story about a Southwest pilot:
On September 11, 2001, after terrorists had brought the planes
down, all other planes that were already in the air were grounded.
A Southwest plane was directed to land at an airport that
Southwest did not serve, and the passengers and crew were put up in a hotel. When Southwest
management called the hotel to inquire about the passengers and crew, they were told that no
one was there — the pilot had taken everyone from that plane out to the movies.
"There's no manual from which to learn that," said Hardage. "At Southwest, employees are
encouraged to make decisions from the heart, and in turn, these proactive gestures provide
positive benefits to the customers and the company."
Southwest may be ahead of the game in terms of nurturing happy employees, and a recent
survey indicates that customers are starting to pay more attention to how employees are
treated. Seventy-six percent of Americans think that a company's treatment of its employees is
a major factor in whether customers will purchase from that company. By making its employees
the top priority, Southwest is really making its customers come first, too.
Southwest Airline's performance results speak for themselves:
In 2005, Southwest earned profits of $484 million and its assets exceeded $14 million. In
contrast to the billions of dollars in losses reported in 2005 for the U.S. airline industry,
Southwest Airlines reported its 33rd year of consecutive profitability – a record unmatched in
the aviation industry.
Since 1987, Southwest has received the fewest overall customer complaints, as published in the
Department of Transportation's "Air Travel Consumer Report." In 2005, Southwest again ranked
first in customer satisfaction.
Among all industries in 2006, Fortune has listed Southwest Airlines as number three among
America's Top 10 Most Admired corporations.
Southwest has spent three years on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list.
For the fifth year in a row, Business Ethics magazine listed Southwest in its "100 Best
Corporate Citizens" ranking.
As Southwest Airlines continues to grow across the country, employees are
devoted to keeping the heart of the company's culture beating strong.
Barrett formed a companywide "culture committee" in the early 1990s to
help share that special Southwest spirit — the group plans local events such
as gate decorating contests and cookouts. They also work to celebrate
employee milestones and achievements.
Southwest Airlines believes in transparency when dealing with customers
and employees. The company recently launched a blog, "Nuts About
Southwest," that has received high praise from the online community.
Inside of only using executives, Southwest has employees (a pilot, a flight
attendant, a properties manager, etc.) carrying its message forward.
What to Learn from Southwest Airlines
Corporate cultures such as Southwest's take commitment from the boardroom down to the
front line employees. They're not "programs" or "tactics," but a way of life.
Hardage, who heads Southwest Airlines' internal and external communication, shared some
thoughts about the role of communications in fostering a positive corporate culture.
Companies must provide the level of knowledge and information that allows employees to "act
like owners." Southwest Airlines provides daily news updates via its intranet; the CEO records a
weekly telephone message for all employees; and the company communicates detailed
financial information called "Knowing the Score" on quarterly earnings. More than 14 percent
of outstanding shares of stock are held by Southwest employees.
Southwest communicates with employees every day through news on their intranet, every
week through a telephone news line, every month with a 32-page magazine, every quarter
through the financial Knowing the Score message, and every year through a series of town hall
Communicators must nurture their corporate cultures so that employees understand how their
behavior contributes to how their organizations are judged. In its monthly newsletter LUVLines,
Southwest features employees who have been nominated by their peers for "Winning Spirit"
recognition. These outstanding employees are modeling the type of behavior that results in a
remarkable vs. ordinary experience for a customer or fellow employee.
Here is a table showing varying factors that make employees happy in different nations.