Driving your Company into a Happy State

Oct 31, 2019 | Leadership

When there’s happiness at work, your whole company environment goes better and your team’s work shows better results. Find out the drivers that can lead your company to have a happy environment.

Most of us are spending two-thirds of our time at work. It is a significant amount of time so, we better be happy about what we are doing. But what makes a person happy at work?

Recently, I had the chance to watch an interview done to Lord Richard Layard, Programme Director of the Centre for Economics at LSE, who tackled part of the question. According to Lord Layard employees are driven by the same things that make them happy in their personal life: 

  • Sense of belonging,
  • Personal connections and, 
  • Purpose of meaning. 

I would group all these elements into the concept of Affiliation.

Affiliation: Finding a Purpose

In the last Opportunity Network townhall, I was impressed when the last batch of new joins in the company, when individually asked to present themselves, each of them consistently said that one of the deciding factors for them to join the company was the Company Purpose.

How aligned employees are with not only the company purpose but also, more specifically, with how their individual work content is contributing to that purpose is essential to maintain individual motivation. 

Purpose can be a great way for prospective employees and employers to assess the mutual fit. However, after employees join the company it may be difficult for them to visualize on a daily basis how their duties and tasks are connected with the purpose that attracted them in the first place. 

Take for instance a Finance Department. The employees of this department are engaged in multiple duties that have to do with control, corporate advice, reporting, and others. When involved in these tasks employees may often disconnect from the corporate purpose and enter into an “automatic mode”. At this point, it is essential that employers, starting with the manager, peers, and other employees help establish reference points for each person to re-connect with the purpose. This is very challenging as we are all dragged by the daily responsibilities that we need to tackle. The risk of not reconnecting with the sense of belonging and purpose of meaning is very high as it can drive the person, especially the oned driven by Affiliation, to a lack of motivation and ultimately unhappiness.

According to McClelland’s Human Motivation theory, on top of Affiliation, there are two other drivers that contribute to employee happiness: Power and Achievement.

Our purpose is what drives our team committed.

What Drives Each of Your Employees?

Power is to many employees a key motivator factor. The ability to not only influence, but also make decisions creates happiness among some individuals. Owning a budget, deciding its capital allocation across different projects, having larger dedicated teams or being publicly recognized as the leader of the group are some of the elements that need to be considered by managers to motivate “power individuals”. Empowering employees is a great mechanism for making employees happier. 

Finally, there is a group of individuals who are more driven by Achievement. These employees like to accomplish things. In the same way, a climber wants to summit Everest, the “Achievement employee” wants to accomplish specific challenging targets. In order to so so are ok taking calculated risks. The target can be to reach its sales goals, to complete a project effectively, to impact the bottom line of the company, to recruit faster, to deliver a perfect service level to the customer. For managers to make these individuals happier, one needs to set challenging targets, measure result and provide feedback often on progress.

Each of us can be motivated by the combination of Affiliation, Power, and Achievement with different levels of intensity. 

What is relevant for the company and especially for managers is to know what drives each employee and create the right setting for them to be happy. Because a happier employee makes a happier and more successful company.

Brian Pallas - Opportunity Network CEO

Alberto Constans

Chief Operating Officer at Opportunity Network

Digital Executive with 20 years experience in Financial Services, Technology and Fintech industries.

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