By Ann Clark, Ph.D., ACI Enterprises Inc. | October 2017
One look at some of the job titles now gaining popularity will make it clear where priorities lie for many companies. Titles such as "Chief Happiness Officer," "VP of People and Culture" and even "Vibe Manager" reflect an increasing focus on employee happiness and creating a positive work environment. These new job titles often go hand in hand with an emphasis on fun, as companies woo employees with ping pong tables, nap pods, surf breaks and bring your pet to work days.
Of course, having fun at work is known to lead to more productive and happier employees. But happiness at work goes much deeper than fun and games. True happiness at work is grounded in job satisfaction, and job satisfaction comes from feeling appreciated, acknowledged, engaged and connected to a shared purpose.
Ultimately, the employer and employee have a relationship, and every strong relationship is rooted in three basic conditions:
As with any good relationship, trust, respect and appreciation go both ways. Employees who feel trusted are more likely to trust employers and support leadership's decisions and directions. Additionally, employees who feel respected are more likely to help spread a companywide culture of respect. And employees who feel appreciated are more likely to appreciate others' work, which in turn helps to create a culture of shared purpose.
Does having fun at work matter? Absolutely. But if there are serious issues with absenteeism, retention and engagement, employers need to dig deeper than mandatory fun and games. The deep-rooted satisfaction that grows from feeling connected to one's work and to the role it plays in a larger, shared vision is much more lasting. Once a culture of trust, respect and appreciation is established, all of the above-and-beyond perks and fun workplace initiatives will have an even stronger impact on building a workforce of committed, engaged and happy employees.
About the Author
Ann Clark, Ph.D., is CEO of San Diego-based ACI Specialty Benefits.
Read the October edition of Benefits & Work-Life Focus.
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