Creating the environment for a happier workplace

On June 30th I will be leaving my position of 15 years as a retained executive search consultant to begin a new career as a freelance professional in the field of recruiting, training and coaching.  Since I’ve started this blog I’ve read many articles and postings about the workplace, productivity, innovation and other areas of study under the umbrella of human capital issues.  All of this is very much on my mind.

With this direction for my own career I am thinking more and more about what it takes for people to have a better experience in the recruiting and onboarding process; I am concerned that people I place have a good experience at their new company in their new role.  And the same goes for hiring managers and human resource professionals – how can everyone involved have a better experience?  I’ve seen how organizations value or under value talent acquisition and whether or not there is a commitment to the process and activity of recruiting and developing talent.

Although I wholeheartedly agree with the “tips” below for having a “happier” life I would add that it takes time and energy to create an environment for people to have a more joyful experience at work vs. individuals trying to make work a better place for themselves.  Managers have to grow in new ways.  They have to develop and take risks and try some new things (like creating the space for employees to take breaks for exercise, breathing, laughter, play, improvisation … whatever is relaxing).  An overly critical manager who rarely gives praise to his/her team and expects them to work without a break, without thought for what the office environment is like, will need to develop beyond the role/performance of manager that she/he knows (behavior) and create a new performance.  That is where development resides – in the new performance (vs. behavior).

I am a developmentalist.  I’ve spent many years as a builder of a broad based and performance-oriented movement for human development and social change.  I bring this perspective and activity to my work as a recruiter, coach and trainer.  In the same way that development is often not present in discussions about education, it is no where in the discussions about the workplace.

Hopefully we will soon see articles on the Harvard Business Review’s site about developmental approaches to a more productive workforce but in the meantime enjoy these helpful (albeit individualistic) ways to make the workday more joyful – I’m all for that!

The Happiness Dividend by Shawn Achor (HBR):

  • Write down three new things you are grateful for each day;
  • Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours;
  • Exercise for 10 minutes a day;
  • Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out;
  • Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team.

Gratitude, focusing on positive experiences, exercise, meditating, and random acts of kindness are all ways to change the pattern through which your brain views work.