I just returned from a vacation that involved long flights, which allowed me to catch up on my reading. Several articles I had been saving, dealt the merits of being one of the “Best” or “Top” or “Great” companies or workplaces. Each toted the need to obtain C-Level commitment to that goal and gave different recipes for attaining that status. The results would be happy employees and the organizations therefore, had to be successful.
Although I have had a career in Human Resources, my BS in Finance still tells me that there is no section on an income statement, balance sheet or any other reportable document that accurate measures the contribution of happiness. The articles talked about building trust, communication, sharing vision, reinforcing core values, focusing employees on company and individual objectives and providing timely feedback. These are all excellent and worthwhile activities. The question remains is what business problem needs to be addressed.
I would be much more comfortable defining an organization consistent with its’ strategic objective. For example; one that is the “Most Productive”, has the “Best Capability”, “Industry leader in doing X” or “Proven Customer Service”. These should then be tied into specific objective measurements. Each corporate function including Human Resources should similarly develop metrics consistent with this definition. Attainable stretch goals should be set. Progress reported. Success celebrated. This ongoing process will be repeated again and again with new, more challenging, attainable stretch goals.
The result will be an improving organization with employees who take pride in attaining results, who measure themselves and their origination as successful. I would argue that in most cases, employees will also consider themselves happy and be proud of where they work.