Tag Archives: Gratitude

I’m Not Your Mother!

data point tuesday_500

This is a popular post from a year ago. I was reminded of it at the WorkHuman conference earlier this month.

Some things are simple. Some things are complicated. And some things that seem simple are actually pretty complicated. For example, it seems like a simple observation that happy employees are better employees. And, in fact, data abound to prove that point. But how to get happy employees is a little more complicated.

Early in my career as a business leader I always believed that people were my critical competitive edge and that creating a strong, caring culture was my job. But happiness? Come on. I wasn’t my employees’ mother. The nature of the employer/employee relationship, I believed, was a commercial relationship. Employees come to work, do a good job and I pay them. The more I could remove obstacles from their ability to do good work, the more I could offer development and thanks for a job well done, the better they performed. It wasn’t rocket science. Treat people well and they’ll treat your employees well. I got that. But trying to make them happy? I didn’t think that was part of the deal. (And I was a pretty effective business leader.)

But as I matured as a leader, I did begin to wonder about this notion of working to create happiness at work. I spent some time at Zappos – a culture whose leader is all about making his workforce happy. And while the Zappos culture wouldn’t be a fit for me, it worked for them. And they were happy. Really happy. And their business results were such that they could sell the business to Amazon for over $1 billion.

And then I became CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute and was covered over in data that prove a direct line from employee well-being to financial performance. And so while early in my career the notion of employee happiness didn’t register as a leadership imperative, I now believe that creating a culture that, in Tony Hseih’s words, delivers happiness to employees is quite clearly a practical and effective way to achieve top line growth, profitability, customer loyalty and, most importantly, employee loyalty.

In preparation for the Globoforce WorkHuman Conference in a couple of weeks, I was reading up on employee happiness and ran across one of their white papers, The Science of Happiness. It’s a quick read and makes some rather simple but profound points backed up by reliable data.

Here are 6 reasons why you want happy employees based on research from the Wall Street Journal and the iOpener Institute. Happy employees:

  • Stay twice as long in their jobs as their least happy colleagues
  • Believe they are achieving their potential 2x as much
  • Spend 65% more time feeling energized
  • Are 58% more likely to go out of the way to help their colleagues
  • Identify 98% more strongly with the values of their organization
  • Are 186% more likely to recommend their organization to a friend

Download the paper. It’ll take you less than 10 minutes to read and will give you some simple ideas to begin to see the benefits of focusing on employee well-being and happiness. And then join me at the WorkHuman Conference next year and let’s talk about happiness, gratitude, culture, and employee and organization success.

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Filed under China Gorman, Conferences, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Engagement, Globoforce, Gratitude, WorkHuman

Unemployed…and grateful

Trish McFarlane wrote a post over at HRRingleader a couple of weeks ago about gratitude.  I loved that post.  Not because she mentioned me, but because I know what a powerful force for good gratitude is. 

And she got me thinking about my life and the gratitude I feel every day for the people in my life, the experiences I’ve had and the extraordinary life I’ve led.  I’ve been afforded opportunities that a middle class kid who grew up in a small town in Michigan couldn’t even begin to imagine.  My parents instilled in me the belief that I could do anything – but not even they could have conceived of the path my life would take.

 My grandparents made it possible for me to attend an outstanding boarding school when the school system in my town was nearly broke and broken.  I was able to excel at an equally outstanding small liberal arts college and made friends that last today.  I met and married my soul mate who has provided love, support and more fun than should be legal for almost 30 years. 

As my career unfolded it has afforded me the opportunity to lead teams of gifted professionals, to travel the world to support my organizations and to work alongside some pretty impressive intellects housed in some of the finest people I’ve ever met.  I’ve served on the boards of several non-profit organizations that are making real differences in our world and I’ve been blessed by involvement in my faith community.

 Most recently I’ve been filled with wonder and gratitude for the way my community of friends have been supporting my job search.  It’s hard to make an executive transition these days.  It’s easy to feel like a tiny sliver in a bad pie chart.  The news is never positive about job growth and the messages from the press seem to target job seekers with ever more depressing reasons why we’ll never find our next situation – or if we do, how drastically under employed and unfulfilled we’ll be.

 But you know what?  My friends and professional network are incredible.  They keep me focused on a positive outcome.  They send me leads.  They introduce me to their colleagues.  They introduce me to executive search firms.  And they give me encouragement. 

 And you know what else?  I’ve never met some of these folks face to face.  We’ve connected through social media – and I don’t just mean LinkedIn.  We comment on each others’ blogs.  We tweet.  We email each other.  And we talk to each other on the phone.  And when they’re in town they call and we get together.  Sometimes for the first time.

 I know how powerful gratitude is.  It can change your health.  It can change your job.  It can change your life.  And I’m sitting here in my beautiful home office, with my sweet dog next to me and my amazing husband down the hall and I’m grateful.  Grateful for all the good in my life.  Grateful for all the good people in my life.  Grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and will continue to have to do good in my life and make a positive difference.  And thinking that, even without a job, I’m amply employed.  And unspeakably grateful.

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Filed under China Gorman, Gratitude, Social Media