It was Sunday afternoon at #SHRM19 and I was kind of thinking down time sounded good. Jon and I were done with our keynote event, we had spent time in the bloggers’ lounge saying hello to old and new friends. I was hanging out with my #HRWonderWomen partner Anne and she invited me along to the first presentation she was attending as part of the Change-Maker Series: Delivering Happiness. The co-founder of Delivering Happiness and former consultant for Zappos, Jenn Lim, was going to share how she and the ceo of Zappos, Tony Hsieh developed the Happiness Culture at Zappos. I am a fan of Zappos. I purchase the majority of my shoes from that awesome online store. Shoes that show up the next day and have a 365 day return policy? When we first moved back to South Dakota, I ordered a pair of shoes from Zappos and forgot to change my address, realized it right after I hit enter. Their customer service was able to catch the box and get it shipped to me. Which actually doesn’t have much to do with their presentation, other than it was the reason I wanted to hear her.
Jenn Lim started talking about happiness and asked us what was the one weird thing that made us happy. I had to think about it a bit (answer later).
So it makes sense that Jenn started with strategy, brand and culture. All three need to be in alignment for success. Strategy is what you think. Brand is what you say. Culture is what you do. Does your culture reflect what you think and say? And while each individual is indeed responsible for their own “happiness” at work, there are things we as employers can do to help that along. And first is just this. Ensuring what we think and say aligns with what we do.
We as humans (and companies) are driven to seek out happiness. The problem is we are not good at sustaining that happiness, so we are on the constant lookout for the next thing to make us happy, for that next “hit” of hormones. We need to focus on our values.
Here’s the thing that sticks with me around these presentations. None of this is new information. We all know that a happier workforce is an engaged workforce is a productive workforce is a more profitable work environment. And yet, as employers, we still look at the bottom line first. We ask what will it cost before looking at the ROI of spending a few bucks to ensure that our strategy and brand really do equals our culture.
As we are now in the adaptive age (as defined by Ms. Lim), we must adapt to the world we live in, change what we can and embrace what we can’t. But we also can’t just fall for the latest “thing.” Millennials were never asking for Red Bull in the fridge when they asked about work life balance. Red Bull, ping pong tables, the latest tech isn’t culture. Culture is (repeat it with me) strategy and brand and follow through on this, accountability to who you are. You must be authentic to yourself, to the organization you want to be in. People will see this and will become emotionally invested in this, and will support the brand you want.
Communicate the highs and lows within your organization, within your team, with trust, with the understanding of wanting everyone to be better, everyone to be their best self at work. And hold people accountable to your values – across the board! Everyone must live the values for them to have meaning. And for your staff to find meaning in those values. Seven out of 10 people are willing to work for less money in a place, in a role that gives them meaning. Would you be doing what you are right now if you won the lottery tomorrow?
Be true to your weird self. Embrace it. As an individual. As an organization.
Oh, and as promised, what weird thing makes me happy? Live tweeting HR events of course. You can see all my tweets from this session here.
Originally posted on the My Dailey Journey blog.